Makaronidis defends EPSAS plan

12 Nov 14
The head of the European Union’s programme to create a public sector accounting standard to harmonise reporting across the economic bloc has defended the plan after delegates at the World Congress of Accountants said the proposal risked regionalising what were intended as global standards.

By Richard Johnstone in Rome | 12 November 2014 

The head of the European Union’s programme to create a public sector accounting standard to harmonise reporting across the economic bloc has defended the plan after delegates at the World Congress of Accountants said the proposal risked regionalising what were intended as global standards.

Speaking at a session on public sector accounting and the move to accruals, Alexandre Makaronidis, the head of the taskforce that is developing European Public Sector Accounting Standards at Eurostat, said the plan would adopt global rules to meet local needs.

This includes setting a common basis for measurement of public finances against the EU’s Growth and Stability Pact, which requires nations to keep deficits under 3% of gross domestic product and debt under 60%

However, he was questioned by delegates from the floor as to whether the EPSAS progress, which is intended to use International Public Sector Accounting Standards as a framework for a EU-wide harmonisation, was compatible with the maintenance of a global standard.

One delegate from Uganda told Makaronidis this meant ‘what we are hearing is that international seems to be for certain parts, because we are here and you are telling us you reserve the right to have your own standards’.

Does this mean that Africa should also reserve the right to have its own standards, he asked.

‘Time and again we are reminded by the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, “let’s harmonise for the purposes of comparison”.

‘But here we have EPSAS and down in America there are standards that are not fully compliant with IFRS. Now, IPSAS and IFRS are meant for who? We need clarity.’

Another delegate from Nigeria said he was surprised that Makaronidis could say that there was no conflict between IPSAS and EPSAS.

‘EPSAS is legally recognised, IPSAS is legally recognised, I’m also wondering whether [there should also be] APSAS, an African version of it.

‘We thought we were going to have an international standards, but at the moment we have regional standards. How do we reconcile all of those?’

Responding to the comments, Makaronidis said that he understood the concerns raised by the delegates.

‘But as I said we don’t know of any national implementation of IPSAS that has implemented it all in full. In that sense at least most of the national accruals reforms that we know of they have always implemented some sort of national implementation of IPSAS, with IPSAS remaining the global reference. And this in fact is exactly what we want to achieve via the harmonisation of public sector accounting standards in Europe.

‘In the end, EPSAS should be understood as European interpretation of IPSAS, for the purpose of harmonising standards within member states in the union.’

Did you enjoy this article?

Related articles

Have your say

Newsletter

CIPFA latest

Most popular

Related jobs

Most commented

Events & webinars