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Results of the Eurostat consultation on the suitability of IPSAS for the EU Member States

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18 Dec 2012

In February 2012, the Statistical Office of the European Union (Eurostat) issued a public consultation on the assessment of suitability of the International Public Sector Accounting Standards (IPSAS) for the Member States of the EU. The results of the survey show mixed views.

In total 68 submissions were received on the consultation, 82% of which were received from EU countries and 18% from non-EU countries and international institutions and organisations.

Among the EU respondents, Germany was the most vociferous: 16 of the total of 56 EU submissions came from Germany. Germany was also the most reluctant respondent: Concerning the countries of origin of the 19 "No" responses to the question whether IPSAS were suitable for adoption in the EU, 10 were received from Germany, 4 from France, 3 from Austria and 1 each from the Netherlands and Poland.

Over all, the impression was more balanced. Roughly one third of respondents each answered the question regarding suitability with "Yes", "Partly", and "No" respectively, with "Yes" taking a slight lead (38%).

Supporters of IPSAS stressed the need to improve the accountability, transparency and comparability of public sector accounts, especially in the light of the sovereign debt crisis. They were considered important in order to improve government financial management and to increase the confidence of citizens and the capital markets.

The main arguments against the implementation of IPSAS concerned their incompleteness with respect to public sector accounting requirements (e.g. with regard to taxation, social benefits), their complexity, the heaviness of rules on disclosure, the conceptual framework (which is currently under review by the IPSAS Board and might lead to a complete revision of existing standards), the strong link to IFRS, and the IPSAS governance arrangements.

Please click for the full summary of responses on the Eurostat website.

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