Politics of financial reporting and the consequences for the public sector

Christine Ryan*, James Guthrie, Ron Day

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Citations (Scopus)


This article examines the political processes surrounding public sector accounting standard setting, in particular, the Australian decision to adopt sector-neutral International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS). It contends that the history of private and public sector involvement in the accounting standard setting process to date, and recourse to regulatory theory, assist in understanding these contemporary developments. The article reveals that private sector interests have dominated accounting standard setters at all important stages of standard setting in Australia. It concludes by arguing that, given this continued neglect by standard setters, if public sector financial reporting standards are to remain relevant to the public sector, then it may be necessary for public sector regulators to set their own standards.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)474-487
Number of pages14
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Financial reporting
  • IFRS
  • Regulation
  • Sector-neutral
  • Standard setting
  • Theory


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