“Benefits of Accrual Accounting in the Public Sector” analyses and illustrates benefits but also costs related to the implementation of accrual accounting in public sector entities which is a long-term project and requires understanding of outcomes and enabling conditions of such reforms.
The paper presents the benefits of accrual accounting for both internal and external users in terms of decision-making and accountability. Transparency has a special role as an important benefit/outcome related to the adoption of accrual-based accounting systems. However, in order for this advantage to materialize, stakeholders have to gain easy access to reliable accounting information disclosed in an understandable language and widely accessible.
The report draws on analysis of the available literature and from the reform experiences of Cyprus, France, Greece, Portugal and United Kingdom to offer important suggestions and lessons learned for reform in the PULSAR countries.
The paper makes clear that the reform of the accounting system needs to be placed in a context of broader modernization of public financial management (PFM) systems, aimed at increasing accountability and performance of public management. Investments in human resources, information technology (IT) systems, and above all high-level political support for the whole process are key resources in order to produce a stable change.
The compilation of high-quality, reliable information under accrual accounting is not an end in itself. The full potential benefits of the reform can only be realized if this information is concretely used by politicians and managers in the decision-making process, and made widely available to the public and other stakeholders to improve transparency and accountability.
The main objective of this webinar was to: (i) Present key findings and messages from the new paper on Benefits of Accrual Accounting in the Public Sector by the team of authors - academics from CIGAR network: Eugenio Caperchione, Sandra Cohen, Francesca Manes Rossi, and Isabel Brusca (ii) Share country experience from Cyprus and Greece on the main benefits from accrual accounting, (iii) Discuss what are key implications for the PULSAR community, how PULSAR beneficiary countries can better harness such benefits to lead accounting reforms.
The Workshop was attended by 50 participants.