The European Commission has dubbed the International Public Sector Accounting Standards (IPSASs) 'an indisputable reference for potential EU harmonised public sector accounts'.
The report from the Commission to the Council and the European parliament called for Europe wide adoption of harmonised accruals-based government accounting to improve transparency, accountability and the comparability of financial reporting in the public sector.
It also noted that because 'government assets and liabilities are substantial in all EU countries, it is important that they are effectively managed and that governments are accountable for this management'.
Andreas Bergmann, IPSASB chair, welcomed the report, which proposes that almost half of the existing IPSASs could be implemented as European Public Sector Accounting Standards (EPSASs) with little or no adaptation.
He said: 'The adoption of accrual accounting by EU member states would represent a historic step in the direction of achieving governmental transparency and serving the public interest. Developing high-quality accounting standards like the IPSASs will require a rigorous process to ensure the EPSASs are of the same calibre. The IPSASB offers the EU's public sector accounting authorities its full cooperation and resources in producing, adopting, and implementing EPSASs.'
Currently, 15 EU member states incorporate IPSASs to some extent, with nine of these having national standards based on or in line with IPSASs.
The European Commission's report will be followed by a conference, "Towards Implementing European Public Sector Accounting Standards," to be held in Brussels on May 29-30.