Public sector accounting and financial reporting have had a long and
varied history. Examples are provided from ancient civilizations in China,
India, the Islamic States and then developments in Western Europe are
considered. Public sector accounting was a tool for the accountability of
feudal stewards to their overlords. This changed to the accountability of
government ministries and public sector entities to parliament with the
introduction of parliamentary democracy from the nineteenth century.
Finally there was a change of emphasis from control to efficiency with
the move to New Public Management and especially the accrual basis of
accounting from the very end of the last century.