Financial Accountability & Management

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  • Performance measurement systems in public service networks. The what, who, and how of control

    This study explores the concept of a network Performance Measurement System (PMS) and how it helps in terms of what is being controlled in the network, which exerts control and how this control is achieved. In analyzing PMSs, the distinction was made between their hierarchical and their socializing components. An exploratory case study was carried out on a public service network in charge of a local public transport. Findings from the case study are used to reach a preliminary conceptualization whereby network PMSs are systems consisting of three main building blocks activated on demand by three main network actors and where there is coexistence and blending between hierarchical and socializing practices.

  • Accountability and not‐for‐profit organisations: Implications for developing international financial reporting standards

    This paper provides empirical evidence which informs contemporary debates on developing international financial reporting standards for not‐for‐profit organisations (NPOs). Drawing on a global survey with respondents showing experience of NPO reporting in 179 countries, we explore: practice and beliefs about NPO financial reporting internationally; perceptions of accountability between NPOs and stakeholders; and implications for developing international financial reporting standards. Interpreting our research in the context of accountability, we find considerable support for developing international financial reporting standards for NPOs, recognising broad stewardship accountability to all stakeholders as important, but prioritising accountability upwards to external funders and regulators.

  • Making charity effectiveness transparent: Building a stakeholder‐focussed framework of reporting

    Effectiveness in achieving mission is fundamental to evaluating charity performance, and is of central concern to stakeholders who fund, regulate and otherwise engage with such organisations. Exploring the meaning of transparency in the context of stakeholder engagement, and utilising previous research and authoritative sector discussion, this paper develops a novel framework of transparent, stakeholder‐focussed effectiveness reporting. It is contended that such reporting can assist the charity sector in discharging accountability, gaining legitimacy and in sharpening mission‐centred managerial decision making. Then applying this to UK charities’ publicly available communications, it highlights significant challenges and weaknesses in current effectiveness reporting.

  • Environmental management accounting in local government: Functional and institutional imperatives

    The challenge of using environmental management accounting (EMA) tools such as full‐cost accounting to improve waste and recycling management has been acknowledged for over a decade. However, research on assessing and understanding local government use of EMA, especially broader levels of EMA, is lacking. This study investigates the link between the nature and drivers of EMA practice for waste and recycling services based on a survey conducted with local governments in New South Wales, Australia. The study finds that although social and organisational factors are related to the uptake of EMA, local governments are subject to stronger functional demands than institutional pressures in their use of more expansive EMA such as indirect and external costs and impacts. This implies that the use of EMA in local government is viewed more as an adaptive activity to cope with functional challenges and achieve efficiency, than as an institutional imperative to achieve social acceptance.

  • CEO compensation and performance in US private foundations

    In a large sample of US private foundations, we examine the association between CEO compensation and an accounting‐based measure of performance, administrative efficiency. We document a positive pay–performance association across time within foundations, but a negative association across foundations. We interpret our evidence as follows: some foundation boards reward CEOs for high administrative efficiency, which results in a positive pay–performance association. However, some foundations are poorly monitored relative than others, resulting in higher CEO compensation and lower efficiency.

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  • Do accountabilities change when public organisations transform to service systems: A new conceptual approach

    In this conceptual paper, we discuss from the service systems perspective how accountabilities differ from a hierarchic and organisational perspective within the domain of New Public Management, looking to shed new light upon accountability as a research topic. The concept of service systems and their accountabilities are scrutinised and the role of integrated social and health care services is discussed in particular. The main argument in the text is the changing nature of accountabilities as the public organisations are being transformed into service systems. To date, the understanding of accountability has remained structural by nature – such is the case also for productivity measurement – but the shift from organisations towards services systems means that accountability ought to be considered as processual by nature. By processual it is meant that accountability should be considered as flows within systems – that is: flows between agents the content of which we argue includes not only knowledge on the outputs of public services, but also values, empathy and thus multi‐layered understanding of accountability. The paper concludes with practical insights for managerial purposes on the basis for this accountability shift.

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  • Contemporary public–private partnership: Towards a global research agenda

    This paper reviews the research agenda lineage on public–private partnerships (PPPs) from Broadbent and Laughlin's seminal piece in 1999. The PPP phenomenon is viewed at five levels: project delivery, organisational form, policy, governance tool and as a phenomenon within a broader historical and cultural context. We argue that whilst a variety of research issues will continue to be relevant, five corresponding areas deserve future visibility for a renewed research agenda: (1) Financialisation of PPPs, (2) global PPP market actors, (3) internationalisation of policy on PPPs, (4) long‐term complex contracts as a governing regime and (5) PPPs in BRICS and developing countries.

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