Exploratory Evidence on Accounting System, Annual Report Review and New Public Management

Document Type: Original Article


1 Professor, Department of Business Administration, East West University, Dhaka, Bangladesh

2 Associate Professor, Department of Business Administration, East West University, Dhaka, Bangladesh (Corresponding Author)


This study is about the exploration of accounting system and annual report review process in the context of new public management initiative in Australia. A Government Department in the Australian Capital Territory has been adopted as the field for investigation. Qualitative research methodology was chosen to obtain a better understanding of the phenomena. Case based research method was used in developing a fuller understanding of the relative role of accounting system in the management of organisational performance. In this study, data collection involved a triangulation approach and the sources were organisational documents, interviews and observation. As accounting system is socially constructed Giddens’ Structuration Theory was used in this research to obtain a better understanding of human actions and to explore how this system is implicated in the wider social context through time. Empirical evidence from the field supported that in the researched organization the new elements of interpretive schemes are the accrual accounting and annual report review. It appears that these interpretive schemes are the direct outcome of the new public management ideals and was implemented to establish the principle- value for money.


1)     ACT Government (1996). Financial Management Act 1996.ACT, Australia.

2)     ACT Government (2007). Public Sector Management ACT 1994. A1994-37, Republication No. 24, ACT, Australia.

3)     Ahrens, T. (2008). Overcoming the subjective-objective divide in interpretive management accounting research. Accounting, Organizations and Society, 33(2-3), 292-297.

4)     Alam, M., Nandan, R. (2008). Management Control Systems and Public Sector Reform: A Fijian Case Study. Accounting, Accountability and Performance, 14(1), 1-28.

5)     Barbour, R. S. (2008). Introducing Qualitative Research: A Student Guide to the Craft of Doing Qualitative Research. London: Sage Publications.

6)     Barrett, P. (2004). Financial Management in the Public Sector- How Accrual Accounting and Budgeting Enhances Governance and Accountability.Address to the Challenge of Change: Driving Governance and Accountability, CPA Forum 2004, Australian National Audit Office.

7)     Barton, A. D. (2004). How to Profit from Defense: A Study in the Misapplication of Business Accounting to the Public Sector in Australia. Financial Accountability and Management, 20(3), 281-304.

8)     Beeson, I., Davis, C. (2000). Emergence and accomplishment in organizational change. Journal of Organizational Change Management, 13(2), 178-189.

9)     Berry, A. J., Coad, A. F., Harris, E. P., Otley, D. T., Stringer, C. (2009). Emerging themes in management control: A review of recent literature. The British Accounting Review, 41, 2- 20.

10)  Broadbent, J., Guthrie, J. (2008). Public Sector to Public Services: 20 Years of Contextual Accounting Research. Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, 21(2), 129-169.

11)  Brown, K., Waterhouse, J., Flynn, C. (2003). Change management practices- Is a hybrid model a better alternative for public sector agencies? The International Journal of Public Sector Management, 16(3), 230-241.

12)  Carlin, T., Guthrie, J. (2001). The New Business of Government Budgeting: Reporting Non Financial Performance Information in Victoria. Australian Accounting Review, 11, 17-26.

13)  Carnegie, G. D., West, B. P. (2005). Making accounting accountable in the public sector. Critical Perspectives on Accounting, 16(7), 905-928.

14)  Christensen, M., Parker, L. (2010). Using Ideas to Advance Professions: Public Sector Accrual Accounting. Financial Accountability & Management, 26(3), 246-266.

15)  Christiaens, J., Rommel, J. (2008). Accrual Accounting Reforms: Only for Business like (Parts of) Governments. Financial Accountability & Management, 24(31), 59-75.

16)  Cohen, S., Kaimenaki, E., Zorgios, Y. (2007). Assessing IT as a key success factor for accrual accounting implementation in Greek Municipalities. Financial Accountability & Management, 23(1), 91-111.

17)  Corbett, D. (1996). Australian Public Sector Management. NSW: Allen & Unwin.

18)  Creswell, J.W. (2007). Qualitative Inquiry & Research Design: Choosing Among Five Approaches. Thousand Oaks, California: Sage Publications.

19)  Creswell, J.W. (2009). Research Design: Qualitative, Quantitative and Mixed Methods Approaches.Thousand Oaks, California: Sage Publications.

20)  Dooren, W. V. Bouckaert, W.G., Halligan, J. (2010). Performance Management in the Public Sector. London: Routledge.

21)  Dunleavy, P., Hood, C. (1994). From Old Public Administration to New Public Management. Public Money & Management, July-September, 9-16.

22)  Ellwood, S. (2009). Accounting for (a) Public good: public health care in England. Financial Accountability and Management, 25(4), 411-433.

23)  Farneti, F., Guthrie, J. (2009). Sustainability reporting by Australian public sector organisations: Why they report. Accounting Forum, 33(2), 89-98.

24)  Funnell, W., Cooper, K. (1998). Public Sector Accounting and Accountability in Australia, University of New South Wales Press, Sydney.

25)  Gaffikin, M. (2008). Accounting Theory: Research, regulation and accounting practice, Pearson Education, Frenchs Forest, NSW.

26)  Giddens, A. (1976). New Rules of Sociological Method: A Positive Critique of Interpretative Sociologies, New York: Basic Books, Inc.

27)  Giddens, A. (1979). Central Problems in Social Theory. London: The Macmillan Press Ltd.

28)  Giddens, A. (1984). The Constitution of Society: outline of the theory of structuration. Berkeley: University of California Press.

29)  Girishankar, N. (2001). Evaluating Public Sector Reform: Guidelines for Assessing Country-Level impact of Structural Reform and Capacity Building in the Public Sector. World Bank Operation Evaluation Department. Washington: The World Bank.

30)  Greiner, N. (1990). Accountability in government organizations. In Guthrie, J. Parker, L., Shand, D. (eds.), The Public Sector: Contemporary Readings in Accounting and Auditing (pp. 31-35). Sydney: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich Publishers.

31)  Guthrie, J., Johnson, M. (1993). Commercialization of the Public Sector: Why, How and For What? A Prospective View. In Wiltshire, K. (ed), Governance and Economic Efficiency. Sydney: Council for Economic Development of Australia.

32)  Guthrie, J. (1995). Introduction. In Guthrie, J. (ed), Making the Australian Public Sector Count in the 1990s (6-8). NSW, Australia: IIR Conferences Pty Ltd.

33)  Guthrie, J., Parker, L., English, L. M. (2003). A Review of New Public Financial Management Change in Australia. Australian Accounting Review, 13(30), 3-9.

34)  Halligan, J. (2009). Performance and Public Management in Australia and New Zealand. International Conference of the Institute of Public Administration, Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, 1-4 November.

35)  Hood , C. (1991). A Public Management for all Seasons. Public Administration, 69, 3-19.

36)  Hood, C. (1995).The New public Management in the 1980’s: Variations on a Theme. Accounting, Organizations and Society, 20(2/3), 93-109.

37)  Hoque, Z., Moll, J. (2001). Public sector reform- Implications for accounting, accountability and performance of state-owned entities – an Australian perspective. International Journal of Public Sector Management, 14(4), 304-326.

38)  Hoque, Z. (2008). Measuring and reporting public sector outputs/outcomes: Exploratory evidence from Australia. International Journal of Public Sector Management, 21(5), 468-493.

39)  Hoque, Z., Adams, C. (2011). The Rise and Use of Balanced Scorecard Measures in Australian Government Departments. Financial Accountability and Management, 27, 308-334.

40)  Hughes, O. (1995). The New Public Sector Management: A Focus on Performance. In Guthrie, J. (ed), Making the Australian Public Sector Count in the 1990s (pp. 140-143). NSW: IIR Conferences Pty Ltd.

41)  Irvine, H., Gaffikin, M. (2006). Methodological insights: Getting in, getting on and getting out: reflections on a qualitative research project. Accounting, Auditing and Accountability Journal, 19(1), 115-145.

42)  Jary, D., Jary, J. (1991). Collins Dictionary of Sociology, Harper Collins Publishers.

43)  Kloot, L., Martin, J. (2007). Public Sector Change, Organisational Culture and Financial Information: A Study of Local Government. Australian Journal of Public Administration, 66, 485-497.

44)  Lawrence, S., Doolin, B. (1997). Introducing system contradiction to effect change in the public sector: A New Zealand case study. International Journal of Public Sector Management, 10(7), 490-504.

45)  Lukka, K. (1990). Ontology and Accounting: The concept of profit. Critical Perspectives on Accounting, 1(3), pp. 239-261.

46)  Macintosh, N. B., Quattrone, P. (2010). Management Accounting and Control Systems: An Organisational and Sociological Approach. John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

47)  Marshall, C., Rossman, G.B. (2006). Designing Qualitative Research. Thousand Oaks, California: Sage Publications.

48)  Mason, J. (2002). Qualitative Researching. London: Sage Publications Ltd.

49)  Merriam, S. B. (2009). Qualitative Research: A Guide to Design and Implementation. California: Jossey-Bass.

50)  Metcalfe, L., Richards, S. (1992). Improving Public Management. London: Sage Publications.

51)  Miles, M. B., Huberman, A. M. (1994). Qualitative Data Analysis: An Expanded Sourcebook. London: Sage Publications.

52)  Mir, M. Z., Rahaman, S. A. (2007). Accounting and public sector reforms: A study of a continuously evolving governmental agency in Australia. Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, 20(2), 237-268.

53)  Nagy, S., Hesse-Biber, Leavy, P. (2010). The Practice of Qualitative Research. London: Sage

  1. Publications Inc.
54)  NØrrekilit, H. (2003). The Balanced Scorecard: what is the score? A rhetorical analysis of the Balanced Scorecard. Accounting, Organizations and Society, 28(6), 591-619.

55)  Osborne, D., Gaebler, T. (1992). Reinventing Government: How the Entrepreneurial Spirit Is Transforming the Public Sector. MA: Addison- Wesley, Reading.

56)  Parker, L. D., Guthrie, J. (1993). The Australian Public Sector in the 1990s: New Accountability Regimes in Motion. Journal of International Accounting Auditing & Taxation, 2(1), 59-81.

57)  Patton, M. Q. (2002). Qualitative research and evaluation methods. Thousand Oaks, California: Sage Publications.

58)  Ranby, P. (1997). Introducing accrual accounting: reaping the benefits while avoiding the pitfalls. Public Sector- Best Practice Case Studies 1997, Public Sector Accounting Centre of Excellence, Australian Society of CPAs, pp. 32-42.

59)  Robbins, G. (2007). Obstacles to implementation of New Public Management in an Irish Hospital. Financial Accountability & Management, 23(1), 55-71.

60)  Roberts, J. (2009). No one is perfect: The limits of transparency and an ethic for intelligent accountability. Accounting, Organizations and Society, 34(8), 957-970.

61)  Rothe, J. P. (1994). Qualitative Research: A Practical Guide, RCI/PDE Publications, Ontario.

62)  Ryan, B., Scapens, R.W., Theobald, M. (1992). Research Method and Methodology in Finance and Accounting. London: Academic Press Limited.

63)  Scapens, R. (1990). Researching Management Accounting Practice: The Role of Case Study Methods. British Accounting Review, 22(3), 259-281.

64)  Schwandt, T. (1994). Constructivist, interpretivist persuasions for human inquiry. In Denzin, N. and Lincoln, Y. (eds.), Handbook of qualitative research (pp. 118-137). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.

65)  Walker, R. M., Boyne, G.A. (2010). Introduction: Determinants of performance in public organizations. Public Administration, 87(3), 433-439.

66)  Wanna, J., O’Faircheallaigh, Weller, P. (1992). Public Sector Management in Australia. Sydney: Macmillan.

67)  Woods, P. (2006). Successful Writing for Qualitative Researchers. London: Routledge.