Public Sector Financial Management – 2017 Spring Workshop

The University of Malta hosted the 2017 Spring Workshop of the XII Permanent Study Group of EGPA. The theme of the workshop was: “Financial sustainability of public administrations: the catalytic role of public financial management”.

The programme was very intense.

A plenary session and a Discussion panel opened respectively the first (4 May) and the second day (5 May) of the workshop.

The plenary session, introduced by Francesca Manes Rossi, hosted two brilliant speakers: Manuel Pedro Rodriguez-Bolivar (University of Granada), who presented a research on drivers and risk factors of financial sustainability in both local and regional governments, and Sandra Cohen (University of Athens), who illustrated the financial reforms in Greece.

The Discussion Panel, chaired by Eugenio Caperchione, regarded the relevance of the IPSAS Framework for financial sustainability. Four eminent speakers enlivened the discussion: Ian Carruthers (IPSASB), Alexandre Makaronidis (DG Eurostat), Robert Hodgkinson (ICAEW) and Michael Zammit Munro (Maltese Treasury).

Seventeen papers were presented within six sessions, discussing financial sustainability in public sector entities by means of theoretical contributions, quantitative and qualitative approaches, case-study and comparative research. These papers allowed the participants to unveil the multifaceted features of the theme of the workshop, at the same time proposing which paths to follow for future research. As underlined by Sandra Cohen, who provided a final overview by concluding the workshop, several topics deserve further attention, such as: providing a common and more theoretically informed definition of financial sustainability; investigating the effects of the IPSAS or EPSAS implementation on financial sustainability; considering more suitable ways of reporting it. Furthermore, it would be worthy of investigation to adopt interdisciplinary approaches while studying accounting changes in the public sector.

Isabell Brusca illustrated future actions and programmes of the Group, also warmly inviting the audience to visit the website of the Public Sector Accounting Repository (https://psaar.net), where many articles and books, relevant for our research, can be found.

As a final note, all the participants expressed their gratitude to Josette Caruana and her team for the cordial hospitality and the excellent organization, which culminated in an interesting cultural tour and a delicious gala dinner.

See you in Milan for the Annual Conference!

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