The evolution of accruals-based Crown (government) financial statements in New Zealand

Joanne Lye*, Hector Perera, Asheq Rahman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Purpose: The aim of this research is to illustrate how a change from cash-based accounting to accruals-based accounting in the core public sector of New Zealand occurred. Design/methodology/approach: The grounded theory research strategy is used in a field study setting. Findings: The findings suggest that there were six antecedents of the change - key people, axial principles, communicating ideas, contextual determinants, ethos, and knowledge. All of these converged to create the synergistic process of change that led to policy innovations. In this change process, accounting change was a means to an end, where accrual accounting was introduced in order to achieve ministerial control and measure performance of government entities to provide relevant information for management decision making. Research limitations/implications: Since this is a case study based on a single country, not all analytical categories will be relevant to other contexts/countries. However, the study provides a conceptual framework that identifies constructs that are insightful for other settings. Practical implications: The findings of the study will be useful to researchers and policymakers interested in appreciating the causes and catalysts of major policy shifts in public sector accounting. The findings suggest that there are no general reform formats that can be applied to all countries. Originality/value: The insights were derived from participants who were directly involved in the change. The strength of grounded theory strategy used in this study was that, by not being bound by an a priori theory, one was able to ground one's understanding in the factors surrounding the change.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)784-815
Number of pages32
JournalAccounting, Auditing and Accountability Journal
Volume18
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2005

Keywords

  • Accounting
  • Financial reporting
  • New Zealand
  • Public sector accounting

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