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The usefulness of financial reporting for internal decision‐making in Portuguese municipalities

The usefulness of financial reporting for internal decision‐making in Portuguese municipalities Purpose – The article aims to analyse the perception of the internal users regarding the usefulness of the municipal financial reporting in the context of decision making in the Portuguese local administration. Design/methodology/approach – This research is quantitative and positive, based on a cross‐section analysis through the online application of a questionnaire to the decision makers (politicians and technicians) of the 308 Portuguese municipalities. The approach is based on the paradigm of information usefulness. Findings – The results indicate a high usefulness for the decision making of the municipal financial reporting, in its current form and content. However, this usefulness would increase if information, other than what is mandatory, were introduced. In general, the two different groups of decision makers, politicians and technicians, behave somewhat differently, regarding the usefulness that the financial reporting holds for them. The technical decision makers consider it of greater value. There is no statistical evidence that shows that there is a link between the training area and professional experience of the internal decision makers and the usefulness of the municipal financial reporting. Both types of users show a preference for the information set within the budgetary accounts, although accrual‐based information also proves to be of excellent value. Research limitations/implications – The main limitations of this study are related to the way information was collected (questionnaire) to obtain empirical evidence. The questionnaire, sent by email, despite reaching a wide‐ranging and dispersed population, does not assess the truthfulness and integrity of the responses. Furthermore, it does not make it possible to really identify the usefulness of the municipal financial reporting. The use of perceptive measures can also represent a threat to the study's internal validity. Practical implications – The results of this study have important repercussions on the internal decision makers concerning the usefulness of the municipal financial reporting. Particularly, since the general approach towards the usefulness of the reporting could become a solid work basis for the regulatory bodies to enhance the current reporting model in the light of its suitability within the internal decision making. Originality/value – Research on this study is original as it provides, as far as the authors are aware, the first empirical evidence of the perceptions of internal users on the usefulness of the municipal financial reporting in Portugal, in regard to decision making. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Management Research: The Journal of the Iberoamerican Academy of Management Emerald Publishing

The usefulness of financial reporting for internal decision‐making in Portuguese municipalities

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Publisher
Emerald Publishing
Copyright
Copyright © 2013 Emerald Group Publishing Limited. All rights reserved.
ISSN
1536-5433
DOI
10.1108/MRJIAM-Dec-2011-0465
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Purpose – The article aims to analyse the perception of the internal users regarding the usefulness of the municipal financial reporting in the context of decision making in the Portuguese local administration. Design/methodology/approach – This research is quantitative and positive, based on a cross‐section analysis through the online application of a questionnaire to the decision makers (politicians and technicians) of the 308 Portuguese municipalities. The approach is based on the paradigm of information usefulness. Findings – The results indicate a high usefulness for the decision making of the municipal financial reporting, in its current form and content. However, this usefulness would increase if information, other than what is mandatory, were introduced. In general, the two different groups of decision makers, politicians and technicians, behave somewhat differently, regarding the usefulness that the financial reporting holds for them. The technical decision makers consider it of greater value. There is no statistical evidence that shows that there is a link between the training area and professional experience of the internal decision makers and the usefulness of the municipal financial reporting. Both types of users show a preference for the information set within the budgetary accounts, although accrual‐based information also proves to be of excellent value. Research limitations/implications – The main limitations of this study are related to the way information was collected (questionnaire) to obtain empirical evidence. The questionnaire, sent by email, despite reaching a wide‐ranging and dispersed population, does not assess the truthfulness and integrity of the responses. Furthermore, it does not make it possible to really identify the usefulness of the municipal financial reporting. The use of perceptive measures can also represent a threat to the study's internal validity. Practical implications – The results of this study have important repercussions on the internal decision makers concerning the usefulness of the municipal financial reporting. Particularly, since the general approach towards the usefulness of the reporting could become a solid work basis for the regulatory bodies to enhance the current reporting model in the light of its suitability within the internal decision making. Originality/value – Research on this study is original as it provides, as far as the authors are aware, the first empirical evidence of the perceptions of internal users on the usefulness of the municipal financial reporting in Portugal, in regard to decision making.

Journal

Management Research: The Journal of the Iberoamerican Academy of ManagementEmerald Publishing

Published: Aug 9, 2013

Keywords: Municipal financial reporting; Local government accounting; Usefulness; Internal decision making; Decision making; Financial reporting; Portugal

References