A great diversity of accounting and financial reporting methods challenge
the comparison of financial information among countries or across
government levels in the public sector. In striving for transparency and
accountability, International Public Sector Accounting Standards, shortly
IPSAS, aim to provide an accurate and fair view of financial positions,
financial performance and cash flows. The IPSAS are developed by the
IPSAS Board (IPSASB) with the aim of improving the quality of financial
reporting at a global level and providing comparable financial information.
By now, the international standard-setting Board has developed 42 accrual-
-based standards and one cash-based standard. Approximately 80 countries
and organisations apply IPSAS, however, to different extents. IPSAS can
be implemented either directly or indirectly through national standards.
As the first of four chapters about IPSAS in this book, this chapter aims
to give an introduction to IPSAS by describing the history of IPSAS and
elaborating on its spread and use. Two case examples are provided to illustrate
the implementation process of IPSAS. First, Austria has implemented
IPSAS-like accrual accounting. Second, Germany does not apply IPSAS so
that the reasons for refusing to adopt IPSAS are outlined. Finally, findings
from empirical studies on IPSAS are summarised.