The Role of Charts of Account in Public Sector Accounting

Susana Jorge, Diana Vaz de Lima, Caroline Aggestam Pontoppidan, Giovanna Dabbicco

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The purpose of this paper is to discuss the role of standardised Chart of Accounts (CoA) in public sector accounting and reporting, particularly focusing matters concerning the importance and need to have a CoA at national level, the issues needed to be taken into account when developing a CoA, and the expected impact of using a CoA as a bookkeeping instrument on the accuracy of accounting records and ultimately on the reliability of the financial information.
Based on documentary analysis and on a survey to some of those involved in the development of a CoA for public sector accounting, the research uses a comparative-international perspective to learn from some national experiences and from European and international standard-setters’ perspectives, which can be considered by other countries intending to develop a CoA.
Main findings show that the link of the national CoA to National Accounts is important in countries like those from EU, where a common fiscal discipline is monitored using these figures.
It is generally acknowledged, including by international standard-setters, that a CoA in public sector accounting is important for a need to support standardised records and accounting, and the preparation of financial statements, including consolidated and WGA.
All in all, this paper suggests that harmonising CoA within countries makes sense and the development at national level should consider specificities of public sector transactions, the link to the financial statements items, and the link to the budget as most important issues.
Original languageEnglish
Publication date2019
Number of pages23
Publication statusPublished - 2019
EventII Congresso Internacional de Contabilidade Pública: Reforma da Gestão Financeira Pública: Desafios para a investigação e a prática - Jupiter Lisboa Hotel, Lisabon, Portugal
Duration: 14 Mar 201915 Mar 2019


ConferenceII Congresso Internacional de Contabilidade Pública
LocationJupiter Lisboa Hotel
Internet address


  • Chart of Accounts
  • Conception
  • Harmonisation
  • Convergence
  • Comparative-international analysis

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