Heritage: the priceless hostage of accrual accounting Josette Caruana

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Uploaded by Josette Caruana     Uploaded date: May 14, 2020    
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Publication date
June 30, 2019
Paper language
Abstract
Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to examine how the convergence of private and public sector
accounting standards is affecting conceptual and practical issues relating to heritage. More specifically, the
paper is intended to provide a better understanding of the state of the art in national and international
accounting standards on heritage assets, and of the views influencing such standards.

Design/methodology/approach – A qualitative documentary analysis is carried out to explore the variety
of existing positions and views on heritage, ranging from the scholarly literature, through potential
stakeholders and users, to international and national standard setters.

Findings – The analysis shows that the path of convergence between public and private sector standards
and practices is still problematic. After more than two decades of debate around the nature, definition,
measurement, and reporting of heritage, these issues are far from settled.

Research limitations/implications – In the light of calls for increased measurement and reporting of
public sector “assets”, and specifically for the definition of standards to recognise heritage, the paper suggests
the need to strongly reconsider whether the convergence between public and private sector standards is
desirable, feasible and effective. As such, the risks of embracing simplified or hybrid forms of accounting and
reporting for heritage should be more seriously assessed. While reporting on heritage is important, it is
fundamental to keep it distinct from reporting on government’s regular operations, in order to appreciate its
specific value, nature and features.

Originality/value – Looking at European national standards for heritage, the IPSASB’s proposals, and the
reactions to the latter by relevant stakeholders, the paper provides a pluralistic view on the positions and
experiences about heritage, contributing to the debate on the convergence between private and public sector
accounting standards.
Preferred Citation
Anessi-Pessina, E., Caruana, J., Sicilia, M., and Steccolini, I. (2019). Heritage: the priceless hostage of accrual accounting. International Journal of Public Sector Management, 33(2/3), pp. 285-306.
Keywords
control; economic benefits; assets; public sector accounting; service potential
Email
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Category
Financial accounting
Type of Paper
Published paper

How to get the paper

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From the journal
International Journal of Public Sector Management
From other source
ISSN: 0951-3558

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