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Title: Recent public sector accounting reforms in the United Kingdom : intended benefits and actual outcomes
Author: Stewart, Elaine
ISNI:       0000 0004 6061 678X
Awarding Body: Queen's University Belfast
Current Institution: Queen's University Belfast
Date of Award: 2016
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This research examines accounting reform within the United Kingdom (UK) central government, with particular emphasis on the introduction of Resource Accounting and Budgeting (RAB), the adoption of Whole of Government Accounts (WGA), the transition from UK Generally Accepted Accounting Practice to International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) and the Clear Line of Sight Alignment Project (CLOS). Utilising document content analysis and semi-structured interviews, this research sought to: identify the intended benefits and drawbacks claimed by successive UK governments for introducing RAB, WGA, IFRS and CLOS; ascertain the principal benefits and drawbacks experienced following the implementation of RAB, WGA, IFRS and CLOS, including the reasons why each was introduced; and examine the implications of the research findings for theory and practice. Through the employment of Institutional Theory, Isomorphism, responses to institutional pressure and Legitimacy Theory, the findings indicate that government publications are used to document institutional compliance with what is considered acceptable and, despite evidence suggesting that the reforms may not achieve their intended benefits, successive UK governments continue to promote rhetorical themes which are considered legitimate. These findings also provide evidence to support the view that accounting reforms are used as a way of legitimising how governments plan, manage and control public expenditure. While the accounting reforms continue to be perceived as legitimate, they will be employed as a means to satisfying external requirements to modernise, rather than for internal decision making. This research develops our understanding into the way in which the implementation of accounting reform is communicated through government publications and the possible reasons why, despite being considered appropriate for the UK public sector, the accounting reforms have not delivered the benefits to the extent envisaged.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available