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Public accountability : the perceived usefulness of school annual reports

Tooley, Stuart & Hooks, Jillian (2010) Public accountability : the perceived usefulness of school annual reports. Australasian Accounting Business & Finance Journal, 4(2), pp. 39-59.

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Abstract

Annual reports are an important component of New Zealand schools’ public accountability. Through the annual report the governance body informs stakeholders about school aims, objectives, achievements, use of resources, and financial performance. This paper identifies the perceived usefulness of the school annual report to recipients and the extent to which it serves as an instrument of accountability and/or decision-usefulness. The study finds that the annual report is used for a variety of purposes, including: to determine if the school has conducted its activities effectively and achieved stated objectives and goals; to examine student achievements; to assess financial accountability and performance; and to make decisions about the school as a suitable environment for their child/children. Nevertheless, the study also finds that other forms of communication are more important sources of information about the school than the annual report which is seen to fall short of users’ required qualities of understandability, reliability and readability. It would appear imperative that policy makers review the functional role of the school annual report which is a costly document to prepare. Further, school managers need to engage in alternative means to communicate sufficient and meaningful information in the discharge of public accountability.

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ID Code: 34481
Item Type: Journal Article
Keywords: School annual reporting, Public accountability, New Zealand
ISSN: 1834-2000
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > COMMERCE MANAGEMENT TOURISM AND SERVICES (150000) > ACCOUNTING AUDITING AND ACCOUNTABILITY (150100) > Auditing and Accountability (150102)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > QUT Business School
Current > Schools > School of Accountancy
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2010 Australasian Accounting Business and Finance Journal and the authors.
Deposited On: 16 Sep 2010 10:24
Last Modified: 01 Mar 2012 00:29

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