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Capital Assets in Governmental Accounting Reforms

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Although some efforts have been made over the last 20 years, governmental capital assets are still the subject of many unresolved questions. After presenting an overview of the current differing accounting standards or research efforts with respect to governmental capital assets, this paper 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), being an important internationally driven milestone considering capital assets. An important issue is the lack of a conceptual framework regarding capital assets and an attempt is made to canalise the existing ideas. An important issue in governmental accounting is the first balance sheet approach when accounting reforms are implemented. This study indicates that the lack of distinguishing a separate accounting framework for capital assets with respect to the first balance sheet, causes a lot of confusion in the discussion about accounting standards. Finally, the paper aims at providing experiences in analysing governmental accounting standards for capital assets. The examination of the adoption reveals that the accounting reforms usually do not take into account the specific governmental characteristics of capital assets.

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Paper provided by Ghent University, Faculty of Economics and Business Administration in its series Working Papers of Faculty of Economics and Business Administration, Ghent University, Belgium with number 03/207.

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Length: 31 pages
Date of creation: Dec 2003
Handle: RePEc:rug:rugwps:03/207
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  1. Norvald Monsen, 2001. "Cameral accounting and cash flow reporting: some implications for use of the direct or indirect method," European Accounting Review, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 10(4), pages 705-724.
  2. Johan Christiaens & Séverine Hermans, 2002. "La réforme comptable dans les communes flamandes: une étude empirique des comptes annuels," Brussels Economic Review, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles, vol. 45(1), pages 91-115.
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