OECD Journal on Budgeting

The OECD journal on public sector budgeting, published three times per year. It draws on the best of the recent work of the OECD Working Party of Senior Budget Officials (SBO), as well as special contributions from finance ministries, and makes it available to a wider community in an accessible format. The journal provides insight on leading-edge institutional arrangements, systems and instruments for the allocation and management of resources in the public sector. Now published as a part of the OECD Journal subscription package.

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Time to look again at accrual budgeting

A large number of countries are implementing accrual reporting to provide better accountability for the stewardship of public finances to their citizens. Far fewer nations have moved to an accrual basis for their government budgetary decisionmaking. Those few countries that have made the move do not regret doing so, having achieved significant benefits from that reform. This paper looks again at the benefits of accrual budgeting, at some of the major arguments that have impeded its international implementation, and how those issues have been addressed in the countries that have successfully adopted accrual budgeting. It suggests that the international public financial management community should revisit accrual budgeting, and that efforts to implement it should be redoubled, not because it is a panacea for all budgeting and fiscal problems, but rather because it provides a stable foundation for improving fiscal and budgetary decision-making and for providing fairer and more complete budgetary information to citizens.

JEL Classification: H10, H11, H61, H83

Key words: Accrual budget, accrual report, fiscal management, fiscal performance, public finance, accountability


JEL: H10: Public Economics / Structure and Scope of Government / Structure and Scope of Government: General; H11: Public Economics / Structure and Scope of Government / Structure, Scope, and Performance of Government; H83: Public Economics / Miscellaneous Issues / Public Administration; Public Sector Accounting and Audits; H61: Public Economics / National Budget, Deficit, and Debt / National Budget; Budget Systems
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