Fabio Giulio Grandis and Giorgia Mattei
The Harmonization Of Accounting In The Italian Public Sector: A New Accrual Basis Standard Versus Ipsas’
This paper aims to analyse the principle of accrual accounting when applied to non-business-oriented companies, including most general government bodies. The analysis is carried out by referring to concepts that are well-established and firmly anchored to the 'history' of accounting and which, today, allow us to define the principle of accrual accounting for ‘non-business’ activities differently to that applicable to profit-oriented companies. This also gives rise to a different interpretation of the economic result. This work subsequently provides a ‘fieldwork’ analysis of how accrual accounting has been introduced in the Italian public sector through an on-going accounting harmonization project. Finally, this paper offers a critical examination of the current accrual basis recognised by the International Public Sector Accounting Standards (IPSAS), as compared to its theoretical definition. The conclusions of this paper support the theory that the IPSAS can contribute to the current harmonization of Italian government accounting, but also reverse.