The implementation of resource accounting in UK central government

Heald, D. (2005) The implementation of resource accounting in UK central government. Financial Accountability and Management, 21(2), pp. 163-190. (doi: 10.1111/j.1468-0408.2005.00214.x)

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At the end of a long process of transition from cash accounting, UK central government departments discharged their public accountability in 2001–02 by presenting Departmental Resource Accounts (DRAs) to Parliament. This article assesses the implementation of Resource Accounting, focusing on timeliness (measured by certification lags) and accounts quality (measured by the property of not being qualified). The descriptive statistics indicate substantial variation in certification lag. The estimated OLS regression model has strong explanatory power. Explanatory variables include those that can be regarded as enduring and those that are attributable to the transition process. The enduring variables are: new DRA, consolidation, audit qualification and pension scheme (whose statistically significant positive coefficients show that these are associated with longer certification lags) and percentage of Appropriations-in-Aid (statistically significant negative coefficient). The transitional variables are Executive Agency and a dummy for 2001–02 (whose statistically significant negative coefficients show that these are associated with shorter certification lags). Potential for shorter certification lags is identified, as are administrative deficiencies that delay the arrival of some certified DRAs into the public domain. Accounts quality improved during the transition period, though problems still occur in some departments that are important in terms of expenditure and assets.

Item Type:Articles
Keywords:resource accounting, audit lags, timeliness, central government accounting reform, HG Finance
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Heald, Professor David
Authors: Heald, D.
College/School:College of Social Sciences > Adam Smith Business School > Accounting and Finance
Journal Name:Financial Accountability and Management
Publisher:Blackwell Publishing
ISSN (Online):1468-0408

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