Comparative International Governmental Accounting Research Network

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The contribution of International Research Networks on public sector accounting towards improving public sector financial management and reporting (update September 2018)

Over the last decades, the sovereign debt crisis has brought under the spotlight the need of enhancing transparency and accountability and strengthening finance management and reporting of public sector entities in Europe and around the world.

At European level, the European Public Sector Accounting Standards (EPSAS) project has been launched with the aim of introducing harmonised Public Sector Accounting Standards based on the principles of accrual accounting applicable to all Member States. However, many questions are still open about the EPSAS: are EPSAS a new set of standards developed by an ad-hoc created European standard setter? To what extent are EPSAS a European translation of International Public Sector Accounting Standards (IPSAS)? Would IPSAS need to be changed and how?

The International Public Sector Accounting Board (IPSASB) has celebrated the 20th anniversary of the standard-setting program and published the Conceptual Framework, which represents a milestone in global public sector financial reporting. The IPSASB is in the process of updating existing standards and developing new standards for public sector specific issues, such as heritage assets, non-exchange transactions, social benefits, etc.

The CIGAR network, the EGPA PSG XII, and the Accounting and Accountability SIG of the IRSPM have jointly established a task force that brings together members of the three research networks interested in playing an active and influential role in the worldwide process of developing high quality public sector financial reports. The mission of the task force is to assist the EU legislator and the IPSASB in their efforts to improve public sector financial management and reporting, by drafting theoretically sound and empirically embedded documents, either spontaneously, or in response to an invitation to provide comments and empirical evidence, for example, on exposure drafts. We trust that our views would also be highly relevant for the EPSAS project.

To date, the Task force IRSPM A&A SIG, CIGAR Network, EGPA PSG XII has contributed on the following public consultations:

30 September 2017: IPSAS Consultation Paper Financial Reporting for Heritage in the Public Sector

15 January 2018: IPSAS Consultation Paper for Accounting for Revenue and Non-Exchange Expenses

29 March 2018: Exposure Draft 63 Social Benefits

25 June 2018: Exposure Draft 64 Leases

27 July 2018: IPSAS proposed strategy and work plan 2019-2023