Accruals accounting in the public sector: A road not always taken

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84 Citations (Scopus)


The move from cash to accruals accounting by many governments is viewed as an aspect of an ongoing New Public Management agenda designed to achieve a more business-like and performance-focused public sector. Proponents argue that accruals accounting provides more appropriate information for decision makers and ultimately leads to a more efficient and effective public sector. The transition from cash to accruals accounting for UK central government departments was announced in the early 1990s and was embedded within approximately ten years. At that time there were clear indications that analogous changes, following a similar timeline, would occur in the Republic of Ireland (RoI). In reality, the changes were significantly less extensive. Utilising document analysis and interviews with key actors, this paper considers why a functioning accruals system was established in the UK whereas in the RoI the change to accruals accounting was a ‘road not taken’.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)36-45
Number of pages10
JournalManagement Accounting Research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Accounting
  • Information Systems and Management
  • Finance


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