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Capital assets in governmental accounting reforms: comparing Flemish technical issues with international standards


  • Johan Christiaens


Although some efforts have been made over the last twenty years, governmental capital assets are still the subject of many unresolved questions. This paper first presents an overview of the current differing accounting standards or research efforts with respect to governmental capital assets and then analyses the criteria of recognition, valuation and disclosure of capital assets in the reform of three kinds of Flemish governments. Their reformed accounting system is compared with IPSAS 17 (IFAC), which is an important internationally driven milestone in respect of capital assets. There appears to be a lack of a conceptual framework regarding capital assets and an attempt is made to structure the existing ideas. Another important issue in governmental accounting is drawing up the 'first balance sheet', which is necessary when accounting reforms are implemented. This study indicates that the fact that no separate accounting framework for capital assets with respect to the first balance sheet is distinguished, causes a lot of confusion in the discussion about accounting standards. Finally, the paper aims to provide actual cases as illustrations in analysing governmental accounting standards for capital assets. The examination of the adoption of the governmental accounting reforms, reveals that such reforms do not usually take the specific governmental characteristics of capital assets into account.

Suggested Citation

  • Johan Christiaens, 2004. "Capital assets in governmental accounting reforms: comparing Flemish technical issues with international standards," European Accounting Review, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 13(4), pages 743-770.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:euract:v:13:y:2004:i:4:p:743-770 DOI: 10.1080/0963818042000237133

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Shackelford, Douglas A. & Shevlin, Terry, 2001. "Empirical tax research in accounting," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 31(1-3), pages 321-387, September.
    2. Steven Globerman & Daniel Shapiro, 2003. "Governance infrastructure and US foreign direct investment," Journal of International Business Studies, Palgrave Macmillan;Academy of International Business, vol. 34(1), pages 19-39, January.
    3. Goodspeed, T-J & White, A-D, 1996. "International taxation," Papers 96-11, Wellesley College - Department of Economics.
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    5. Alberto Giovannini & R. Glenn Hubbard & Joel Slemrod, 1993. "Studies in International Taxation," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number giov93-1, January.
    6. David Harris & Randall Morck & Joel B. Slemrod, 1993. "Income Shifting in U.S. Multinational Corporations," NBER Chapters,in: Studies in International Taxation, pages 277-308 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. James R. Hines & Eric M. Rice, 1994. "Fiscal Paradise: Foreign Tax Havens and American Business," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 109(1), pages 149-182.
    8. Harry Grubert & Timothy Goodspeed & Deborah L. Swenson, 1993. "Explaining the Low Taxable Income of Foreign-Controlled Companies in the United States," NBER Chapters,in: Studies in International Taxation, pages 237-276 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    Cited by:

    1. Antonella Paolini & Michela Soverchia, 2013. "Le università statali italiane verso la contabilità economico-patrimoniale ed il controllo di gestione," MANAGEMENT CONTROL, FrancoAngeli Editore, vol. 2013(3), pages 77-98.
    2. J. Christiaens & J. Rommel & A. Barton & P. Everaert, 2008. "Should All Capital Goods of Governments be Recognised as Assets in Financial Accounting?," Working Papers of Faculty of Economics and Business Administration, Ghent University, Belgium 08/505, Ghent University, Faculty of Economics and Business Administration.
    3. Mitu Ina & Tiron Tudor Adriana, 2013. "Public Sector Combinations: A New Challenge For Ipsasb," Annals of Faculty of Economics, University of Oradea, Faculty of Economics, vol. 1(2), pages 540-549, December.
    4. Luciano Marchi & Stefano Marasca & Marco Giuliani, 2013. "Valutare la ricerca nella prospettiva europea e internazionale: prime riflessioni," MANAGEMENT CONTROL, FrancoAngeli Editore, vol. 2013(3), pages 99-113.
    5. Jane Broadbent & James Guthrie, 2008. "Public sector to public services: 20 years of “contextual” accounting research," Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 21(2), pages 129-169, February.

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