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For the People: Popular Financial Reporting Practices of Local Governments

Authors

  • JUITA-ELENA YUSUF,

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    • Juita-Elena (Wie) Yusuf is an assistant professor in the Department of Urban Studies and Public Administration, Old Dominion University, 2096 Constant Hall, Norfolk, VA 23529. She can be reached at jyusuf@odu.edu.
  • MEAGAN M. JORDAN,

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    • Meagan M. Jordan is an associate professor in the Department of Urban Studies and Public Administration, Old Dominion University, 2090 Constant Hall, Norfolk, VA 23529. She can be reached at mmjordan@odu.edu.
  • KATHARINE A. NEILL,

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    • Katharine Neill is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Urban Studies and Public Administration, Old Dominion University, 2091 Constant Hall, Norfolk, VA 23529. She can be reached at kneil001@odu.edu.
  • MERL HACKBART

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    • Merl Hackbart is Professor of Finance and Public Administration at the Martin School of Public Policy and Administration, University of Kentucky, 423 Patterson Office Tower, Lexington KY 40506. He can be reached at fin008@uky.edu.

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.

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