Beyond commercial in confidence: accounting for power privatisation in Victoria
Purpose - The purpose of this paper is to examine whether the use of commercial-in-confidence arrangements within the public sector allows the deliberate manipulation of accounting figures to generate support for the privatisation agenda. Design/methodology/approach - A case study is presented of an Australian power entity, United Energy, where the privatisation was subject to commercial-in-confidence restrictions and differing opinions as to the accuracy of the entity's financial accounts during the privatisation process. It examines many of the key “commercial-in-confidence” documents, which are now available through parliamentary and official document sources, together with pre- and post-privatisation financial statements. Findings - The accounting figures were shaped to support a privatisation agenda and this was obscured by the commercial-in-confidence provision. Some attempts were made to use accounting arrangements to reduce federal taxes but this failed. A substantial element of the reported sale price represented internal transfers between the state-owned entity and the government with the actual price paid by the purchaser being substantially lower than the reported price. The price paid was based on the financial statements which were openly challenged by the Auditor-General. The paper strongly supports the contention that manipulation of accounting figures occurs under commercial-in-confidence privatisations. Research limitations/implications - This was limited to one example at one time. Further work is needed on other settings. Practical implications - The paper challenges the success claimed for the privatisation process and for the social benefits of privatisation by tender. Originality/value - There was little evidence of a substantial improvement in financial performance following privatisation or that the pre-privatisation performance was substantially boosted to support the privatisation agenda. It did show that the accounting served political ends.
If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.
Volume (Year): 22 (2009)
Issue (Month): 8 (October)
|Contact details of provider:|| Web page: http://www.emeraldinsight.com|
|Order Information:|| Postal: Emerald Group Publishing, Howard House, Wagon Lane, Bingley, BD16 1WA, UK|
Web: http://emeraldgrouppublishing.com/products/journals/journals.htm?id=aaaj Email:
References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Ogden, S. G., 1995. "Transforming frameworks of accountability: The case of water privatization," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 20(2-3), pages 193-218.
- repec:eme:aaajpp:v:19:y:2006:i:1:p:82-95 is not listed on IDEAS
- repec:eme:aaajpp:v:19:y:2006:i:6:p:82-95 is not listed on IDEAS
- repec:eme:aaajpp:v:19:y:2006:i:2:p:256-271 is not listed on IDEAS
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eme:aaajpp:v:22:y:2009:i:8:p:1258-1283. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Virginia Chapman)
If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.
If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.
If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.
Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.