Accrual Accounting and the Australian Public Sector: A Legitimation Explanation

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Abstract

The move from the cash basis to the accrual basis of accounting in the Australian Public Sector (APS) was a key element of the New Public Management (NPM) reform program and a development of particular historical significance. The aim of this paper is to identify the key events in this transition and to analyse them through the theoretical lens of Habermas' (1976) Theory of Legitimation. Key elements of the literature concerning accrual accounting in the APS are reviewed, together with a discussion of the relevance of Habermas (1976) to this study. Critical historical events, both leading up to, and during the implementation of accrual accounting are canvassed and areas identified in which Habermas (1976) can be used to shed light on the events that have taken place. The central argument expressed within this paper is that accrual accounting can be seen to be a device through which various administrations throughout the Commonwealth have attempted to combat the tendencies for economic, rationality and legitimacy difficulties that are commensurate with welfare state societies such as Australia.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAFAANZ Conference 2009
EditorsRobert Faff
Place of PublicationAustralia
PublisherAFAANZ
Pages1-28
Number of pages28
Publication statusPublished - 2009
EventAccounting and Finance Association of Australia and New Zealand Conference - Adelaide, Australia, Australia
Duration: 05 Jul 200907 Jul 2009

Conference

ConferenceAccounting and Finance Association of Australia and New Zealand Conference
CountryAustralia
Period05/07/0907/07/09

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