Government Accounting Reforms in Sub-Saharan African countries and Selective ignorance of Epistemic Community: A Competing Institutional Logics Perspective

Kelum Nishanta jayasinghe Jayasinghe, Andy Wynne, Pawan Adhikari, Teerooven Soobaroyen, John Malagila, Abdurafiu Noah

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

First, the paper assesses existing local accounting and financial reporting practices in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), focusing on the extent to which recent government financial statements published by ten selected countries adhere to mainstream qualitative features of public sector reporting. Second, it investigates the multiple institutional logics at play in the context of government accounting reforms (GARs) in SSA, involving international organisations, epistemic community members and local actors. Data for the study are drawn from a content analysis and disclosure scoring of ten SSA government financial statements, supplemented by semi-structured interviews carried out in Nigeria and Tanzania. Our findings demonstrate how the generalised assumptive logics of international organisations, coupled with the market and professional logics of epistemic community members and state logics of local politicians, have led to the marginalisation of ‘good’ existing accounting and financial reporting practice in SSA - while providing the countries with a strong impetus for undertaking a transition towards large-scale GARs involving accrual accounting and IPSASs. The role of the epistemic community in selectively ignoring the positive aspects of local accounting practice is a significant impediment. In this way, members of this epistemic community continue to execute their ‘relational power’ generated through professional knowledge, expertise and elite connections over the local actors,
hence upholding the generalised assumptive logics. The paper argues that public
accountability and transparency can be strengthened in SSA countries provided there is an ‘intelligent’ application of existing regulations and accounting systems, rather than seeking to merely replace them with externally imposed large-scale GARs.
Original languageEnglish
Article numberYCPAC-D-18-00060R3
Pages (from-to)(In-Press)
Number of pages62
JournalCritical Perspectives on Accounting
Volume(In-Press)
Early online date16 Oct 2020
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 16 Oct 2020

Keywords

  • Government accounting reforms
  • Sub-Sahara Africa
  • Epistemic community
  • Institutional logics

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