Brussels, 23 September 2004
Commission shares experiences on the introduction of accrual accounting with professionals and academics
The European Commission, in collaboration with the European Federation of Accountants (FEE), is organising a one-day conference entitled ‘Accrual Accounting in the Public Sector – Progress and Achievements’, which will take place on 27 September 2004 in the Charlemagne building. The conference will bring together some 200 experts and professionals from the administrative, political, and academic fields across Europe to discuss the issues associated with the implementation of accruals accounting for public budgets. The conference will be structured around three workshops, discussing the development of accounting standards relevant for the public sector, the practical challenges in embedding accrual accounting in administrative procedures and existing IT systems, and the consolidation of all government accounts.
Budget Commissioner Michaele Schreyer will open the conference and present an overview and state of play of the Commission’s own project for the introduction of accrual accounting for the budgetary year 2005. She will stress that while there are currently no common accounting standards for the public sector in the European Union, the Commission's project which will comply with the international accounting standards for the public sector recently developed by the International Federation of Accountants (IFAC) could help it become a leader in this field. The new accounting standards used by the Commission could in particular be of interest in the context of the development of a Stability and Growth Pact that would focus more on the long term liabilities of the public sector.
Other keynote speakers include Professors Rowan Jones of Birmingham University and Klaus Lüder of the Postgraduate School of Administrative Sciences, Speyer on the progress made in introducing accrual accounting in the public sector; Philippe Adhemar (Chair of International Federation of Accountants (IFAC) Public Sector Committee) on the development of specific international accounting standards for the public sector; and David Watkins (HM Treasury, UK), on the consolidation of all government accounts. Representatives from various Member States will present the experiences of introducing accrual accounting in their administrations: Czech Republic (Zdanak Safranek Ministry of Finance), France (Lionel Vareille, Ministry of Economy, Finance and Industry), and Spain ( Ministry of Economy and Finance ).
Note for the editors
In recent years, the modernisation of public management has become a major concern. Public sector accounting practices, traditionally oriented towards recording cash payments and revenues, should become a genuine management tool and make the government's or public organisation's financial situation more comprehensive.
The Commission is not the only public institutionin moving towards the adoption of accrual accounting principles. Some countries are also engaged in the same process and, encouraged by international bodies and organisations such as the OECD and IFAC, have begun to modernise their accounting systems over the past few years, switching from a cash-based to an accruals-based system.
The Commission launched a multiannual plan in 2000 for the modernisation of its accounting framework, which comprised:
with Ms Virginie Jonet at
Provisional programme for accrual accounting
In collaboration with the FEE