Date of Award
Masters of Business
School of Business
Faculty of Business
Associate Professor Colin Dolley
The introduction of an accounting standard requiring government departments to replace fund-type, cash-based accounting statements with business-type, accrual based accounting statements has led to criticism that business-type, general purpose financial statements do not take account of the information requirements of major users. Such criticism echoes a long standing debate in which the users of public sector financial statements and their informational requirements are analysed in competing models. One view suggests that there are many users with homogeneous informational needs, who can be classified into a few broad groups. The other view maintains that there are few users who have differential informational requirements. This research adds to the few empirical studies on the usefulness of public sector accounting statement information. The purpose of this research is to test the hypothesis that users perceive that there is no difference in the usefulness of fund-type, cash-based; business-type, accrual-based accounting statements, and both cash and accrual combined accounting statements. Responses from legislators, citizen/ interest group members, and preparers to a questionnaire provides the data for statistical analysis. Test results suggest that there is only moderate support for the hypothesis that heterogenous users have different information needs. Strong support is found for the hypothesis that combined sets of statements as opposed to cash, or accrual are more useful. This conclusion holds for both the importance and useability dimensions of the construct perceived usefulness.
Mignot, H. R. (1996). Users and accounting information preferences of government department financial reports. Retrieved from http://ro.ecu.edu.au/theses/936