Public sector entities’ reporting objectives, users, and information contents : an exploration of preparers’ and standard setters’ perspectives : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Accountancy at Massey University, Manawatu Campus, New Zealand

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Massey University
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This study examines the views of preparers and standard setters in New Zealand on the objectives, users, and information content of financial reports for public sector entities (PSEs). The study uses a mixed methodology of quantitative and qualitative data and employs the decoupling dimension of institutional theory to understand its findings. A survey was sent to 233 public sector entities. A total of 108 responses were received from preparers. Further, six in-depth interviews with standard setters were also conducted. The results show that preparers view compliance and accountability as the core objectives for financial reports, while standard setters see accountability as the main objective but also stress the need for decision-useful information. The preparers identified the Office of the Auditor-General, the Government/Crown, and the Auditor as important users, while standard setters see the general public as the main users. The results indicate that preparers focus on providing accountability information, with standard setters agreeing with this view but also highlighting the importance of decision-useful information. The study found no differences between central and local government PSEs in terms of objectives but observed differences in the importance of information content based on the entity type. Large PSEs were found to have different accountability objectives to those of small PSEs, but no difference in information content between large and small PSEs was observed. The study provides valuable insights into the views of New Zealand preparers and standard setters on PSE financial reporting.
financial reporting, public sector, standard setters, preparers, objectives, users and information content