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Italian Local, Regional Governments Need New Accounting Standards – New Study

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Italian local and regional Governments must adopt EU Public Sector Accounting Standards to harmonise with the rest of Europe and reduce manipulation, a new study has found.

The research, by Professor Francesco Capalbo from University of Molise, Professor Alex Frino from University of Wollongong in Australia and Giovanni Gerardo Parente from CNDCEC will be presented at Parliament House in Rome on October 12. It sets out the case for Italian governments to adopt harmonised European accounting standards despite the high cost of making the change.

The research builds on previous work by Professors Frino and Capalbo that examines the accounting practices of Italian state-owned enterprises.

“Since the Greek economic collapse European governments have been under pressure to harmonise their accounting practices to allow comparisons of the financial accounts of member states,” Professor Frino said. “That involves all levels of government including local governments (municipalities) in each country, because their financial statements are consolidated into the national accounts.”

In Italy, local and regional governments do not use typical (accrual) accounting practice to generate financial statements, but a cash basis of accounting. Professors Frino and Capalbo’s research is considered important in determining how Italy should work with the European Union’s efforts to establish harmonisation of public sector accounting standards.

“We conducted a survey of 1,300 public sector auditors including Commercialisti (certified accountants) in Italy and asked them whether a move to full accrual accounting, as promulgated by the EU would improve the quality of financial statements – the results came back with a resounding yes,” said Professor Frino.

The presentation of the research will be hosted by L’onorevole Francesco Boccia, Presidente della Commisione Bilancio (the Honourable Francesco Boccia, Chair of the Finance and Budget Committee) at the Palazzo Montecitorio or Parliament House in Italy which will be attended by members of parliament representing all the major parties including Enrico Morando, Viceministro dell’Economica e delle Finance (the Deputy Treasurer). The meeting will also be attended by the head of the IPSASB Ian Carruthers and the head of the European Union’s taskforce into standardising accounting practices, Alexandre Makaronidis.

Contact information

For more information and interviews with Professor Frino:
The Continuum Partners
Kristin Westlake, +1 (604) 966-1410
kwestlake@thecontinuumparters.com

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