Local Authorities' Accounting and Financial Reporting

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By admin / 26.07.2014

Stefano Pozzoli (edited by)
Local Authorities’ Accounting and Financial Reporting
FrancoAngeli – 2008

This book only intends to provide a contribution to comprehend and investigate more in depth the experience of some countries, which can be addressed as significant benchmark in the field of local authorities’ accounting and reporting. Hence, this volume provides readers with the choice of interpreting not only the accounting models of some European countries, but also of some Asian countries, such as Japan, and of the Anglo-Saxon world, such as the United States and Canada. The aim is to provide a critical analysis of case studies from a professional viewpoint – as shown by the background of many authors, who mainly come from the accounting profession (not only from IPASB, but also from the national Standard Setters). It is a critical – albeit not systematic – analysis: no considerations are made and no summary is attempted. It is up to readers to form their opinion about the similarities and especially the main differences of approach, which can be found also in countries which are apparently close to ours from the cultural viewpoint. Hence, the choice of presenting all contributions according to a plan which is probably not rational – namely dividing them into two parts (European countries and not) and listing them within these two groups, on the basis of their size in terms of population. We would like stress the importance of understanding the cultural and technical rationale underlying the approaches and feelings of those who come from other countries. Also, in this perspective, it is crucial to identify the measures adopted to tackle the problems which regularly prove to be approximately the same all over the world. It appears also clear that neglecting what happens abroad – whatever the field in which you operate – is not only an unjustified sign of conceit, but also an option which can hardly lead to a tangible improvement of the competitive ability of a country. Even carrying out deep systemic reform, there is the strong temptation to disregard what happens in the rest or the world, or even worse, to accept a simplified and trivial version of those which is, doing so, misleading. Unfortunately, the attitude to underplay the importance of other countries’ experiences – or to judge them wrongly – is often even stronger, when the public administration issues are tackled. The idea of sovereignty makes us cherish the illusion of being independent from international comparisons and not in need of exchange of opinions: therefore, there is the growing tendency to isolate ourselves from the rest of the world and build autonomous – though not necessarily effective – models. However, the fact of drawing inspiration from other countries also implies to start from the in-depth knowledge of the context where some reforms originated; the way in which they have been implemented; the cultural environment which has entailed – and possibly allowed – specific choices and which probably do not make them applicable to a country which has different structural characteristics and a different history.
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