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Report on the proposed implementation of harmonised European Public Sector Accounting Standards (EPSAS) in the Member States of the European Union

The European Commission plans to introduce a set of harmonised and binding European Public Sector Accounting Standards (EPSAS) based on accrual accounting. Supplementary to the status report on the relevant facts and figures developed by the Federal Ministry of Finance (Budget Committee Paper 18/0027), the German Supreme Audit Institution (Bundesrechnungshof) advises the Budget Committee on the matter. In the present report, the Bundesrechnungshof discusses unresolved issues, chances and risks associated with the proposed EPSAS implementation.
Apr 02, 2014

0 Executive Summary
The European Commission plans to introduce a set of harmonised and binding European Public Sector Accounting Standards (EPSAS) based on accrual accounting. Supplementary to the status report on the relevant facts and figures developed by the Federal Ministry of Finance (Budget Committee Paper 18/0027), the German Supreme Audit Institution (Bundesrechnungshof) advises the Budget Committee on the matter. In the present report, the Bundesrechnungshof discusses unresolved issues, chances and risks associated with the proposed EPSAS implementation.

0.1 Situation at European level

  • In order to enhance the quality and comparability of reportable financial and statistical data of the public sector, the European Commission aims at introducing EPSAS in all EU Member States. By doing so the Commission hopes to reduce expenditures on the European Statistical System (see item 2.1).
  • So far, the Commission has not considered any alternative option to EPSAS implementation. A study on costs and benefits of EPSAS is expected by mid2014 (see items 2.2-2.4).
  • Germany on its own would not be in a position to thwart European framework legislation on EPSAS governance as proposed by the Commission. It can also not be ruled out that the EU Member States may have little influence on the adoption of individual EPSAS (see item 2.5).


0.2 Situation in Germany

  • In Germany, the introduction and implementation of uniform accounting standards would affect some 17,500 individual public budgets at all three government levels and social security bodies. This would entail a major collective effort (see item 3.1).
  • Statistical data reported from Germany have so far largely complied with the quality requirements of the European System of national and regional Accounts (see item 3.2).


0.3
Introducing uniform accounting standards involves significant risks. These include cost risks and the risk of temporarily deteriorating data quality (see item 4), particularly in the current financial crisis.

0.4
The Bundesrechnungshof has compiled

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