Plans advance for EU-wide public sector accounting

A framework for EU-wide public sector accounting standards could be available next year, with implementation being introduced in stages.

Francois Lequiller, Eurostat director for government finance statistics, announced in a speech in Brussels that a taskforce is to be set up to assess the costs and practicalities of a project to implement Epas harmonised accrual accounting.

The taskforce will use a sample of EU countries including both those that are cash-based and those which have moved partly or significantly to accruals.

Lequiller said the project team would also be looking at how to reduce the burden and complexity of the standards for small public entities. It would also consider whether to partition the standards into different steps which could be introduced incrementally.

In his speech, Lequiller stated that having the right system of governance in place was an 'unavoidable condition for any advancement of the project'.

It is likely that EPAS(European Public Sector Accounting Standards) governance would be independent from the International Public Sector Accounting Standards (IPSAS) board but that the existing standards would serve as a 'starting point' for any new proposals.

Lequiller said an European Commission consultation on the governance issue will take place later this year before a framework is agreed.

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