Accrual Accounting and the Public Sector, Discussion Paper No. 86

Robinson, Marc (2000) Accrual Accounting and the Public Sector, Discussion Paper No. 86. [Working Paper] (Unpublished)

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Over the last couple of years, the Commonwealth and the almost all State governments have put their annual budgets and departmental accounting on an accrual basis. Accrual accounting has, as a consequence, almost entirely replaced traditional 'cash'accounting in the Australian public sector. This is a great step forward. Accrual accounting has great advantages, particularly in the fiscal policy context. Notwithstanding the advantages of accrual accounting, it has to be frankly acknowledged that insofar as the move to accrual accounting was 'sold' on the basis of improved fiscal transparency, it has failed. Ministers, parliamentarians and other lay uses would appear to be very much confused by the new accrual-based Budget Papers. So even are many trained economists. This paper aims to do a number of things. Firstly, it outlines the elements of accrual fiscal measures, including the Commonwealth's new 'fiscal balance' measure. Secondly, it presents a view as to the key benefits of adopting accrual accounting in government. Thirdly, it points to some of the key reasons why the Budget Papers and other government financial reports have become unnecessarily confusing, and suggests some solutions.

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ID Code: 569
Item Type: Working Paper
Refereed: No
Additional URLs:
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > ECONOMICS (140000) > APPLIED ECONOMICS (140200) > Financial Economics (140207)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > QUT Business School
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2000 (Please consult author)
Deposited On: 11 Nov 2004 00:00
Last Modified: 05 Jan 2011 13:24

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