Issues in the Preparation of Public Sector Consolidated Statements


  • An early version of this paper was presented at the Abacus Whole of Government Accounting Forum at the University of Sydney on 3 December 2009. Work on this paper was supported by the Australian Research Council, project DP0558644.

R. G. Walker ( is an Honorary Professor in the Discipline of Accounting at The University of Sydney.


Issues that have arisen in the preparation of public sector consolidated statements are identified by reference to audit qualifications, by noting items recognized (or not recognized) in different reports, and by consideration of items or treatments that are peculiar to the public sector. Australian governments have agreed to align government financial reports with local interpretations of Government Finance Statistics, and this has secured some standardization of reporting. Suggestions are offered as to how reporting issues might be resolved, by reference to decisions routinely made by stakeholders. Proposals relate to asset and liability identification, the disclosure of details of inter-sector transfers, the disaggregation of reports on expenditure in terms of both line items and policy areas of government; and that these reports be accompanied by performance indicators relating to policy areas.