REFORMING FINANCIAL ACCOUNTS IN THE PUBLIC SECTOR: THE CASE OF UNIVERSITIES

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					REFORMING FINANCIAL ACCOUNTS IN 
				
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Description: The introduction of accrual accounting in the public sector has been one of the main business-like devices of New Public Management. Governments and researchers have been extremely interested in the merits of accrual accounting since it was first introduced. However, the debate on this reform is still ongoing. This paper is set in this context, and it explores the case of four Italian universities which have voluntarily adopted an accrual system in a context of legislative autonomy for financial accounting practices. The paper's aim is to study the process of adoption of accrual accounting, specifically investigating two elements: (1) what forces led these universities to adopt accrual accounting, and (2) what accounting framework has been used for their financial statements. In order to interpret the empirical evidence the study has made use of institutional theory and, in particular, more recent developments. The results reveal a complex picture in which three forces differently influence the adoption and implementation of accrual accounting: the individual action of 'champions' of accrual accounting, a favourable organisational context and the isomorphism of private organisations. [PUBLICATION ABSTRACT]
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