92 CONCLUSIONS FROM THE CASE STUDY OF THE GAAPGFS HARMONISATION AGENDA SETTING

92 conclusions from the case study of the gaapgfs

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9.2 CONCLUSIONS FROM THE CASE STUDY OF THE GAAP/GFS HARMONISATION AGENDA SETTING PROCESS IN AUSTRALIA This section summarises the main findings from the qualitative case study of the GAAP/GFS harmonisation agenda setting process. The boundaries and limitations of the case study are then briefly described, before the implications of the investigation are discussed. 9.2.1 Summary of main findings The GAAP/GFS harmonisation agenda setting process was investigated using three questions: 1. What was the historic institutional context in which the policy idea of ‘GAAP/GFS harmonisation’ was identified?; 2. How was the idea of GAAP/GFS harmonisation developed to gain agenda entrance at the FRC?; and 3. Having gained admission to the FRC, how did GAAP/GFS harmonisation become a strategic direction of the FRC to the AASB? Research question 1: What was the historic institutional context in which the policy idea of ‘GAAP/GFS harmonisation’ was identified? According to the DASF, the historic institutional background is important because existing structures affect, but do not necessarily limit the agenda setting process. First,
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254 actors have to make sense of and negotiate their way in this environment. Second, the DASF assumes that a critical event, such as a crisis, a regulatory or political change, furthers change processes. Third, while in most circumstances it would be expected that the identification of a policy idea or solution is a response to existing problems, researchers of public policy processes have found that ideas can be identified before problems occur or that PEs devel op proposals and go ‘problem surfing’ to advance their policy idea (Boscarino 2009; Kingdon 2011). It was, therefore, important to consider which issues and problems were identified and discussed before the policy idea was found and which problems and issues were used to later justify the enactment of the policy solution. Last, the in- depth discussion of the context of a study provides a ‘thick description’ necessary to ensure credibility of the research from a methodological aspect. Prior to the identification of the idea of GAAP/GFS harmonisation, a number of public sector accounting issues were discussed at the Public Sector Accounting Standards Board (PSASB) and in the agendas of the government or government organisations. The PSASB was focused on the development and later the review of public sector accounting standards AASB 27, AAS 29 and AAS 31. At the federal Government level, inquiries and reviews were focused on the adoption of accrual accounting and the format of portfolio budget statements. The only two issues that were discussed before the identification of the policy idea was the lack of audit of GFS documents and that there were differences between GAAP and GFS. Evidence for these discussions was only found within the policy stream by the Australian Bureau of Statistics, the PSASB and Treasury. The audit discussions had, however, not been recognised or framed as a problem of the dual reporting regime. The differences between GAAP and GFS were discussed in the context of providing
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  • Fall '13
  • Government, The Land, International Financial Reporting Standards, Financial Accounting Standards Board, Australian Accounting Standards Board, Snow

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