Accounting for Budgeting and Fiscal Responsibility

Accounting and financial reporting is aimed at providing objective, neutral and actual up to date information about the performance of government units, the allocation of trusted resources and the creation of obligations. The development of accounting and financial reporting is focused on exploring the benefits and opportunities of applying the accrual accounting basis, the implementation of which is inspired by the work of IPSASB and through publications of the EU Commission which, considering the application of IPSAS or EPSAS, has been working on converging and equalizing accounting and financial reporting of EU member states. The fact is that a large number of countries have, in various ways and with various dynamics, started or considered full or partial accrual accounting basis introduction into their national public sector (government) accounting systems.

However, the question that arises regards the usefulness and usability of accounting information and financial statements by all levels of public management (public officials) and political structures. There is a gap between the production of accounting information and the use of accounting information (i.e. between accountants and accounting information users). Several issues arise: the problem of modest application, the gap between expected (prescribed, declared) and real (actual) practice, and the resistance (reluctance) to accounting information application and usage. The question is whether the accountants can understand and respond to the demands of information users, and vice versa, can information users be better acquainted with the nature and quality of accounting information.

Such a situation is due to various reasons, and can be sought in the political, social, educational and cultural features of individual countries and environments. Approaches taken in the implementation of accounting and financial reporting reforms are different, of varying dynamics and intensity (proven by examples of countries that already implemented or have been implementing reforms). Emphasis put on the usefulness of accounting information focuses the research towards examining practical approaches and towards finding best solutions for recording budget processes in accounting and financial reporting.

Authors interested in participating the 2018 CIGAR Workshop are invited to present papers in the following indicative topics, among others:

  • The role of accounting and financial reporting in budgeting and public spending decision-making;
  • The extent to which accounting and financial reporting is integrated into the public sector financial management processes (i.e. accountable and sustainable decision-making of public management and political structures);
  • Consideration of the duality of reporting: whether reports on budget execution are given more (higher) priority over financial reporting or is it vice versa, and what are the approaches to adjusting the accounting basis and budget basis (budget being often on a cash basis);
  • Research on whether accounting information and financial reports are useful for assessing fiscal responsibility and sustainability in public spending and in managing public resources (i.e. public sector asset management activities);
  • Research on the usefulness of accounting information and financial statements by state audit in performing regularity, compliance and performance audit;
  • Exploring the constraints and obstacles in the application of the accrual accounting basis in government accounting systems with regard to political, social, educational and cultural characteristics of individual countries;
  • Comparative research on the development of public sector (governmental) accounting in the EU countries with the aim of identifying similarities and differences and the aim of harmonizing and converging in finding common/mutual solutions;
  • Research on managerial accounting and internal reporting methodology as well as the level of using such a methodology by public management, with a special emphasis on certain general government subsectors (i.e. health care and higher education sectors);
  • Research on the use of nonfinancial information and about the development of alternative forms of reporting - the future of integrated reporting;
  • Critical and empirically informed assessments of how the term ‘fiscal responsibility’ has been populated in public sectors with meaning and action using accounting inscriptions that may – or may not – have been beyond the reasonable power that can be expected of the accounting craft;
  • Research on trajectories propagated for public sector accounting changes in emerging economies and how changes are articulated;
  • Exploring the role of international financial institutions in facilitating public sector accounting reforms in emerging economies;
  • Research on lessons that can be learnt from experiences of emerging and developing economies to instigate public sector accounting reforms.

Topics can be addressed using either qualitative or quantitative approaches. As its name suggests, the CIGAR Network emphasises the importance of comparative studies as a source of better understanding.