Reflections on the Theoretical Underpinnings of the General Purpose Financial Reports of Australian Government Departments

Ryan, Christine M. & Mack, Janet (2006) Reflections on the Theoretical Underpinnings of the General Purpose Financial Reports of Australian Government Departments. Accounting, Auditing and Accountability Journal, 19(4), pp. 592-612.

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Significant agendas of reform have been implemented in the Australian public sector including the adoption of accrual accounting. The public sector general purpose financial reporting model, like the private sector, is grounded in a ‘decision-useful’ framework. This model is premised on the existence of dependent users who are reliant on general purpose financial reports to make economic decisions. However, there have been doubts cast on the appropriateness of this premise for public sector organisations. This research determines the appropriateness of the model to government departments by empirically identifying users of government department general purpose financial reports and their information requirements. This research uses a survey methodology to directly access users of government department general purpose financial reports. The findings of this research are that general purpose financial reports are used to satisfy accountability needs rather than ‘decision-useful’ needs. These findings have important implications for policy makers since the choice of an accounting framework has the capacity to affect the information content of reports – what is reported and how it is measured, and thus have a direct impact on the operations of government.

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ID Code: 5181
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: KEY WORDS, Government Departments, General Purpose Financial Reports, Accountability, Decision Usefulness
DOI: 10.1108/09513570610679146
ISSN: 0951-3574
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > QUT Business School
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2006 Emerald
Copyright Statement: Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher.
Deposited On: 09 Oct 2006 00:00
Last Modified: 29 Feb 2012 13:18

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