Specificities of Public Sector Accounting: Insights for Governmental Accounting from History and Theory
Biondi, Yuri (2023), Specificities of Public Sector Accounting: Insights for Governmental Accounting from History and Theory, in Peter C. Lorson; Susana Jorge; Ellen Haustein, European Public Sector Accounting, Coimbra University Press : Coimbra. 10.14195/978-989-26-2464-8_2
Book titleEuropean Public Sector Accounting
Book authorPeter C. Lorson; Susana Jorge; Ellen Haustein
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Institut de Recherche Interdisciplinaire en Sciences Sociales [IRISSO]
Abstract (EN)Accounting has as long a history as writing. The purposes of accountability and control appear to be constitutive of institutional economic organisation of governments across epochs. Models and examples of public sector accounting (here governmental accounting) can be found in ancient civilisations and the Middle Age. Modern public sector accounting systems have co-evolved with the constitution and evolution of modern states. In this context, public sector accounting design relates to the specificities of modern public administration, featured by management of taxation and public finances, as well as accountability toward sovereigns and parliaments. This chapter aims to denote these specificities through their historical emergence and main features. The modern government consummates resources acquired through taxation and borrowing, so as to redistribute them at the macroeconomic level. In turn, citizens contribute with resources to be redistributed by paying taxation and subscribing governmental debt issuance and refinancing (including for monetary base management). Moreover, the government takes non-debt commitments to assure social protection on behalf of its constituencies. This specific financial-economic working by the government differs from that by the business entity, requiring a specific accounting representation. From this perspective, recent reforms driven by new public management (NPM) and new public governance (NPG) – aiming to align public sector and business sector accounting systems - constitute yet another unfolded evolution whose implications shall be assessed over time and in context.
Subjects / KeywordsPublic Sector; Accounting; PSA; Finances
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