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Accrual accounting does not necessarily mean accrual accounting: factors that counteract compliance with accounting standards in Swedish municipal accounting
Technical Department, Ernst & Young AB, Göteborg.
Kristianstad University College, Department of Business Administration.
2008 (English)In: Scandinavian Journal of Management, ISSN 0956-5221, E-ISSN 1873-3387, Vol. 24, no 3, p. 271-283Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The regulation of Swedish municipal accounting has undergone fundamental changes over recent decades. Municipal accounting became regulated by law the 1st of January, 1998 after having been merely voluntarily regulated in the past. In accordance with the legislation, a standard-setting body was formed, with responsibility for development and interpretation of generally accepted accounting principles for municipal accounting. Important aims of the legislation and reform were to suppress ‘creative’ accounting and to increase the level of harmonization and comparability. Using the lens of positive accounting theory as well as institutional theory, this paper describes and explains the impact of the legislation and standard setting in the Swedish municipal sector. We have used a triangulation approach, collecting data through a survey, documentary study and interviews. The overall results show that the reform has had a very limited impact on accounting practice. Compliance with accounting standards was in general poor. This result is in line with the assumptions of positive accounting theory. However, the study also shows that there are differences among the preparers which can be explained by institutional theory. Large municipalities produce better accounting information (i.e. more in line with generally accepted accounting principles) than the municipalities in general. Weak audit quality seems to be another important factor that explains the poor compliance with accounting standards.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2008. Vol. 24, no 3, p. 271-283
Keywords [en]
Accounting standards, compliance, institutional theory, legislation, municipalities, positive accounting theory
National Category
Business Administration Social Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:hkr:diva-24DOI: 10.1016/j.scaman.2008.02.004ISI: 000258967600009OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hkr-24DiVA, id: diva2:132592
Available from: 2008-12-22 Created: 2008-12-22 Last updated: 2017-12-14Bibliographically approved

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CiteExportLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link
Cite
Citation style
  • apa
  • harvard1
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
  • sv-SE
  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
  • html
  • text
  • asciidoc
  • rtf