Accounting for the Public Sector at a Time of Crisis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

 This Special Issue is based on papers initially presented at the ‘Accounting for the Public Sector at a Time of Crisis’ Conference at the Centre for Not-for-profit and Public-sector Research, Queen’s University Belfast, UK in 2018. The public sector consists of organisations that are owned and operated by government; organisations that exist to provide goods and services for a country’s citizens. What is particularly distinctive about such organisations, and what makes them different from businesses, is that they are (or, at least perhaps, should be) notfor-profit. In addition, they frequently have wide social and cultural goals that are central to what they do. They are pervasive in most societies. Yet, it is argued, they face crisis on a number of fronts: in terms of the influence of potentially-inappropriate, business-like New Public Management ideas related to performance management and the embracing of related accounting and budgeting approaches; and in terms of the impact of austerity, following the Great Recession in 2008. In such a context it is suggested that public-sector governance, accounting and accountability systems are heavily involved. The papers included in this Special Issue present an opportunity to reflect on aspects of this crisis in terms of how it connects with accounting systems and accounting changes. Key arguments of these papers, and overarching themes of this Special Issue, are explored in this editorial.  
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)437-451
Number of pages15
JournalAbacus: A Journal of Accounting, Finance and Business Studies
Volume55
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 30 Sep 2019

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