Dáil Éireann - Volume 453 - 24 May, 1995
Written Answers. - Appropriation Accounts Format.
Mr. M. Ahern Mr. M. Ahern
34. Mr. M. Ahern asked the Minister for Finance if he will give consideration to presenting the national budgetary accounts and Estimates in a more modern format which will incorporate the accrual method of accounting; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9409/95]
Minister for Finance (Mr. Quinn) Ruairí Quinn
Minister for Finance (Mr. Quinn): The constitutional and statutory provisions on which the Oireachtas levies taxation and appropriates amounts for financing public services are cash-based and, consequently, reports to the Dáil on receipts and expenditure must also be cash-based. However, a joint Department of Finance-Comptroller and Auditor General working group made recommendations last year that certain features of accrual accounting should be introduced in order to supplement the cash-based information contained in the Appropriation Accounts, that is, in the annual accounts of Government Departments which are presented to the Dáil and examined by the Committee of Public Accounts. The group's recommendations were considered and accepted by the committee and they are being implemented, starting with the 1994 accounts. It is intended to make further enhancements in the accruals information contained in the Appropriation Accounts in subsequent years. Conventional accrual accounting would not provide the House with sufficient information on cash receipts and appropriations to meet legal requirements but I accept that a certain amount of supplementary information of an accruals nature would be useful.
Since the working group reported, the Strategic Management Initiative has  been launched and, in that context, further consideration is being given to financial management systems in Government Departments. This process is ongoing. In addition, a pilot project on accrual accounting is under way, with the assistance of a commercial accountancy firm, in the Department of Transport, Energy and Communications. It is expected that the results of this project will be available early in 1996.
Dáil Éireann 453 Written Answers. Appropriation Accounts Format.