Australian Regional Groups of the Royal Institute of Public Administration
Place of publication
This article presents the findings from a case study of the 2004–05 annual budgets prepared by the Commonwealth, state and territory governments of Australia. The study examined the headline budget balance (general government sector surplus or deficit) announced in the budget papers and speeches of each of the nine governments. Findings indicate the adoption of varying measurement bases and a consequent lack of comparability in the headlined budget balance numbers. Accounting reforms have resulted in adoption of two different systems of accrual accounting by governments — the Government Finance Statistics (GFS) system and the professional Australian Accounting Standards (AAS) system — which provide significantly different measurements of the budget balance. However, there has been no prescription of the manner in which these alternative measures should be presented. This raises a number of questions from an accounting perspective.
Field of Research
150199 Accounting, Auditing and Accountability not elsewhere classified