3 years ago

Towards convergence of government financial statistics and accounting in Europe at central and local levels

Rosa Mª Dasí González, Vicente Montesinos Julve, Jose Manuel Vela Bargues

Publication date: July–December 2018

Source: Revista de Contabilidad, Volume 21, Issue 2

Author(s): Rosa Mª Dasí González, Vicente Montesinos Julve, Jose Manuel Vela Bargues

Abstract

The main aim of this paper is to study the convergence between micro and macro systems of government accounting information, looking to contribute to the analysis of accounting harmonization process in the EU, as a tool to improve the comparability of financial, budgetary, and aggregated statistical reports, in order to improve social, political and economic decision-making and accountability. All this is obviously located in the current context of the EU, with a high degree of harmonization of accounting standards between the International Public Sector Accounting Standards (IPSAS), and those applied for the preparation of national accounts, ruled by European System of National and Regional Accounts (ESA 2010).

We have carried out different analytical methodologies to study the convergence of public accounting systems in the EU for 2014 and 2015, considering that the new European System of National Accounts came in force since September 2014. First, for each country, we calculate a global index and partial indexes for central and local governments. Secondly, we apply an alternative model based on the distance between the adjustments of each country and the extreme situation, that would imply null adjustments. As a supplementary, we focus on the relative weight of adjustments by country and for each level of government.

The study concludes, among other findings, that the importance of adjustments differs between countries and areas of government. Adjustments connected to recognition criteria (accrual or others), particularly significant from the point of view of the approach to GAAP, rank first in importance at the central government level, but are less significant at the local level.

Resumen

El objetivo principal de este trabajo es analizar la convergencia entre los sistemas de información contable públicos tanto a nivel micro como a nivel macro con el objetivo de contribuir al análisis del proceso de armonización contable en la UE, como herramienta para mejorar la comparabilidad de los informes financieros, presupuestarios y las estadísticas agregadas, con el fin de mejorar el proceso de toma de decisiones a nivel social, político y económico, así como la rendición de cuentas. Todo ello, obviamente, en el contexto actual de la UE, con un alto grado de armonización de las normas contables entre las Normas Internacionales de Contabilidad para el Sector Público (IPSAS) y las aplicadas para la elaboración de las cuentas nacionales, regidas por el Sistema Europeo de Cuentas Regionales (SEC-2010).

Hemos utilizado diferentes metodologías analíticas para estudiar la convergencia de los sistemas de contabilidad pública en la UE durante 2014 y 2015, teniendo en cuenta que el nuevo Sistema de Cuentas Nacionales Europeo entró en vigor en septiembre de 2014. En primer lugar, para cada país, hemos calculado un índice global y unos índices parciales para los niveles gubernamentales central y local. En segundo lugar, hemos aplicado un modelo alternativo basado en la distancia entre los ajustes de cada país y la situación extrema, que implicaría ajustes nulos. Complementariamente, hemos analizado el peso relativo de los ajustes por país y por nivel de gobierno.

El estudio concluye, entre otros hallazgos, que la importancia de los ajustes difiere entre los países y las áreas de gobierno. Los ajustes relacionados con los criterios de reconocimiento (devengo u otros), particularmente importantes desde el punto de vista del enfoque de los GAAP, ocupan el primer lugar en importancia en cuanto al gobierno central, pero son menos importantes a nivel local.

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