Edited by John R. McIntyre, Silvester Ivanaj and Vera Ivanaj
Chapter 10: New trends in public accounting in Portugal: the particular case of provisions, contingent liabilities, and contingent assets
The current tendencies in public accounting are based on a conceptual framework consisting of a set of inspiring principles of accounting standards and practices, according to which entities subject to public accounting should prepare the financial information with the objective of obtaining an image of reality. Accounting can play an important role in supporting, collaborating, and coordinating between different partners, with the participation of stakeholders and citizens in decision-making processes. Modern public sector management relies on management information systems that enable accurate, reliable, and up-to-date information on the state and the economic and financial performance of the states on the same terms as any other economic entity. International Public Sector Accounting Standards (IPSAS) are the standards to achieve these objectives. IPSAS 19 proposes to define provisions, contingent liabilities, and contingent assets, as well as identify the circumstances under which provisions should be recognized, how they should be measured, and what disclosures should be made about them. This rule should be applied in accounting for provisions, contingent liabilities, and contingent assets by entities that prepare and present financial statements in accordance with the accrual regime (except for the exceptions and exclusions provided for in the standard) and apply to all entities of the public sector that are not Government Business Enterprises. The main theme of this study is the new aspects of public accounting and IPSAS 19 and concerns provisions, contingent liabilities, and contingent assets. In the case of provisions, these are reflected in the Balance Sheet and Income Statement, while liabilities and contingent assets are disclosed in certain circumstances in the notes to the accounts.
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