Reforming central government: An evaluation of an accounting innovation


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Critical Perspectives on Accounting;



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This paper examines a significant accounting innovation in central government accounting – the introduction of Resource Accounting and Budgeting (RAB) in the UK. This innovation is studied through the lens of Rogers diffusion theory. The study setting is the Scotland Parliament. This research shows that, in the terms of diffusion theory, RAB can be classified as an accounting innovation. However, the implementation of RAB is problematic. While the reform of the UK central government system was initially sought as a mechanism to enhance democratic accountability, this paper shows that RAB does not connect with parliamentarians. The introduction of RAB flows as much from a managerial agenda as it does from the aim of democratic accountability.


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