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International Public Sector Accounting Standards (IPSAS): Current status, practices, and future agenda

Special issue call for papers from International Journal of Public Sector Management

International Public Sector Accounting Standards (IPSAS): Current status, practices, and future agenda

Special issue call for papers from International Journal of Public Sector Management

Guest editors:

Dr. Mohammad Nurunnabi, Prince Sultan University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
[email protected]

Professor Paul Rouse, The University of Auckland, New Zealand

[email protected]

Deadline for submission: 31 January 2019

This call for papers is for theoretical or empirical papers to be published as a special issue on the topic of International Public Sector Accounting Standards (IPSAS). 

The purpose of this special issue is to address an important gap in the public sector accounting standards literature. The New Public Management (NPM) have characterized the public sector reforms towards accrual accounting (Oulasvirta, 2014). The progressive reduction of public resources, further exacerbated by the financial crisis, has led international organisations to discuss the need for sustainability policies, preparing documents and guidelines intended to support a better financial management. It can be argued that these tensions can be illuminated via transparent International Public Sector Accounting Standards (IPSAS) practices (Christiaens, Reyniers, & Rollé, 2010; Adhikari, Kuruppu, & Matilal, 2013; Bracci, Humphrey, Moll, & Steccolini, 2015; Lassou, & Hopper, 2016). The IPAS aims to protect and manage public money, discharge accountability and combat corruption (Chan, 2003; Oulasvirta 2014; IFAC, 2016; Bakre, Lauwo, & McCartney, 2017). However, it is heavily influenced by private sector practices.

The key question may arise on the role of the International Public Sector Accounting Standards Board (IPSASB) (Lassou, & Hopper, 2016). The IPSASB is the international independent board that develops IPSAS. The IPSASB’s operations are facilitated by the International Federation of Accountants (IFAC). Since 1997, the IPSASB has developed and issued 38 accrual standards, and a cash basis standard for countries moving toward full accrual accounting. According to IFAC (2016), “Governments that report on a cash-basis do not account for significant liabilities, such as pensions and infrastructure development; as a result, the IPSASB encourages public sector entities to adopt the accrual basis of accounting—which will improve financial management and increase transparency resulting in a more comprehensive and accurate view of a government’s financial position”.

An explanation of the reasons behind the differing levels of adoption of IPSAS is still under researched (Christiaens, Vanhee, Manes-Rossi, Aversano, & Van Cauwenberge, 2015). Strikingly, there still remains a level of reluctance to adopt in countries where accrual accounting has been developed (Christiaens et al., 2015). For instance, the government took a negative stand on adopting IPSAS standards in Finland (Oulasvirta 2014). The international organizations are working since 1990s to reform public sector accounting in developing countries. Adhikari, Kuruppu, & Matilal (2013) argue that public sector accounting standards have not been gone beyond ‘proposal’ in Nepal and Sri Lanka.

The implementation of IPSAS also differs in both developed and developing countries (Ellwood, & Newberry (2007). In recent, Adhikari & Gårseth-Nesbakk (2016) address the political and technical uncertainties in implementing public sector accruals in OECD member states. The Western standard public sector accounting standards setters should also consider the historical development of politics and regulation of a country which may impact the decisions of adopting IPSAS (Harun, Van-Peursem, & Eggleton, 2015). Finally, policy formed research is needed through technical analysis (Ryan, 1999).

This special issue invites both scholarly articles of a theoretical and empirical nature, from researchers and practitioners. We intend that the special issue collection will also provide an opportunity for contributors to the broad fields of public sector management are all welcome. The following themes would be of particular interest (NB: this list is not exhaustive):

·         Why do some countries adopt International Public Sector Accounting Standards (IPSAS)?

·         Why do developed/developing countries reject IPSAS?

·         What are the implementation issues or status?

·         What are methodological issues of evaluating IPSAS performance?

·         What are disclosure and transparency status after the adoption of IPSAS?

·         Why some International Public Sector Accounting Standards are difficult?

·         What are the methodological/theoretical considerations for IPSAS research? 

Submission Procedure:

Submissions to this journal are through the ScholarOne submission system here:

Please visit the author guidelines for the journal at


Please ensure you select this special issue from the relevant drop down menu on page four of the submission process.

Submission Deadline: 
31 January 2019


Adhikari, P., & Gårseth-Nesbakk, L. (2016). Implementing public sector accruals in OECD member states: Major issues and challenges. Accounting Forum, 40(2), 125-142.

Adhikari, P., Kuruppu, C., & Matilal, S. (2013). Dissemination and institutionalization of public sector accounting reforms in less developed countries: A comparative study of the Nepalese and Sri Lankan central governments. Accounting Forum, 37(3), 213-230.

Bakre, O., Lauwo, S.G., & McCartney, S. (2017). Western accounting reforms and accountability in wealth redistribution in patronage-based Nigerian society. Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, 30(6), 1288-1308.

Bracci, E., Humphrey, C., Moll, J., & Steccolini, I. (2015). Public sector accounting, accountability and austerity: more than balancing the books? Accounting, Auditing & Accountability, 28(6), 878-908.

Chan, J.L. (2003). Government Accounting: An Assessment of Theory, Purposes and Standards. Public Money & Management, 23(1), 13-20.

Christiaens, J., Reyniers, B., & Rollé, C. (2010). Impact of IPSAS on reforming governmental financial information systems: A comparative study. International Review of Administrative Sciences, 76(3), 537–554.

Christiaens, J., Vanhee, C., Manes-Rossi, F., Aversano, N., & Van Cauwenberge, P. (2015). The effect of IPSAS on reforming governmental financial reporting: An international comparison. International Review of Administrative Sciences. 81(1), 158-177.

Ellwood, S., & Newberry, S. (2007). Public sector accrual accounting: institutionalising neoliberal principles? Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, 20(4), 549-573.

Harun, H., Van-Peursem, K., & Eggleton, I.R.C. (2015). Indonesian public sector accounting reforms: dialogic aspirations a step too far? Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, 28(5), 706-738.

International Federation of Accountants(IFAC). (2016). International Public Sector Accounting Standards Board: Fact Sheet. June. New York,USA.

Lassou, P.J.C., & Hopper, T. (2016). Government accounting reform in an ex-French African colony: the political economy of neo-colonialism. Critical Perspectives on Accounting, 36, 39-57.

Oulasvirta, L. (2014). The reluctance of a developed country to choose International Public Sector Accounting Standards of the IFAC. A critical case study. Critical Perspectives on Accounting, 25(3), 272-285.

Ryan, C. (1999). Australian public sector financial reporting: a case of cooperative policy formulation. Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, 12(5), 561-582.