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Abstract

Popular financial reports are reports distributed to citizens and other interested parties who lack a background in formal government financial reporting but who desire an overview of the government's financial status and activities. This paper examines the current state of local government popular financial reporting in the U.S. The results of a survey of large cities and counties indicate that 75 percent of these local governments have issued popular financial reports and that the types of reports and methods of distribution vary. Many of the reasons for providing popular reports relate to providing information and improving transparency and accountability by providing more user friendly financial reports. This paper concludes with a discussion on popular financial reporting in the context of government transparency and accountability, and offers a research agenda for continued study of the topic.