Trajectories of Administrative Change in Italy, France, Greece, Portugal and Spain
Chapter 3: Financial Management, Audit and Performance Measurement, Personnel
TRAJECTORIES OF REFORM: BUDGET AND ACCOUNTING 3.1 The first component of public management reform, financial management, is analysed under the two subcategories of, first, the budgeting system adopted and, second, the accounting systems. Budgeting can be broadly defined as the process of assignation of the organizational objectives and the related available resources for the achievement of the identified targets by the organs endowed with the legitimate decision powers to the relevant organizational units (see for example, Anessi Pessina, 2002; Bergamin Barbato, 1991; Borgonovi et al., 2008). The accounting system refers to the way the collection and elaboration of all the relevant data concerning the economic and financial dimensions of the operations are carried out within the organization (Anessi Pessina, 2002; Caperchione and Mussari, 2000; Mussari, 1996; Pavan and Reginato, 2004). A standard textbook definition of accounting is ‘the process of identifying, measuring and communicating economic information to permit informed judgement and decisions by users of information’ (Anthony et al., 2007, p. 6). There are two main categories of accounting systems: cash based and accrual. In cash-based accounting, bookkeeping is based on the single-entry system, which records the monetary side of each transaction and disregards its non-monetary side (Anessi Pessina, 2002, p. 181). Accrual accounting is based on double-entry bookkeeping: every transaction is entered in the accounts twice, one as a credit and one as a debit; the basic assumption is that the organization is a separate entity and its total assets must, by definition, always equal its capital plus liabilities....
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