Public Accounting Research and Theories: A Literature Review

  • Faiz Zamzami Prodi Akuntansi Sektor Publik, Sekolah Vokasi, Universitas Gadjah Mada
  • Mukhlis Mukhlis Prodi Akuntansi Sektor Publik, Sekolah Vokasi, Universitas Gadjah Mada


The purpose of this study is to provide a structured overview of the literature on research on public accounting and the theories used by referring to articles published in four reputable international journals in 2009–2018. It is expected that this article can be a basis for future research and becomes a work request for more precise and focused research questions. A literature review-based approach with two important steps in the analysis of trends in public accounting research was used. First, journals as the source of the data are limited to four reputable international journals that published public sector research. Second, articles are divided into three areas that include financial accounting, management accounting, and auditing. A structured method was then used to analyze the relevant and identified articles. Results show that articles published in four leading international journals do not specifically discuss public accounting. So far, journals publishing public accounting remain rare. Of the four journals, articles in public reports are few. Ten popular theories on how to apply public accounting research were discussed.

Keywords: Public Accounting, Literature Review, Theory.


Download data is not yet available.


Aikins, S. K. (2012). Determinants of Auditee Adoption of Audit Recommendations: Local Government Auditors’ Perspectives. Journal of Public Budgeting, Accounting & Financial Managemen, 24(2), 195–220.
Baldvinsdottir, G., Hagberg, A., Johansson, I. L., Jonäll, K., & Marton, J. (2011). Accounting research and trust: A literature review. Qualitative Research in Accounting and Management, 8(4), 382–424.
Bergevärn, L. E., Mellemvik, F., & Olson, O. (1995). Institutionalization of Municipal Accounting - A Comparative Study Between Sweden and Norway. Scandinavian Journal of Management, 11(1), 25–41.
Berle, Adolf A, J., & Means, G. C. (1932). The Modern Corporation and Private Property. Harcourt, Brace & World.
Bowman, W. (2002). The Uniqueness of Nonprofit Finance and the Decision to Borrow. Nonprofit Management and Leadership, 12(3), 293–311.
Charles, C. (2017). Nonprofit Arts Organizations : Debt Ratio Does Not Influence Donations — Interest Expense Ratio Does. American Review of Public Administration, 48(7), 659–667.
Cohen, S., & Karatzimas, S. (2018). The role of the Troika on the Greek central government accounting reforms: The reprioritization riddle. International Journal of Public Sector Management, 32(3), 316–330.
Copley, P. A., & Douthett, E. B. (2014). Are governmental accounting measures value relevant to the citizenry? Journal of Public Budgeting, Accounting & Financial Management, 26(4), 583–613.
Fama, E. F., & Jensen, M. C. (1983). Separation of Ownership and Control. The Journal of Law & Economics, 26(2), 301–325.
Friedman, M. (1953). The Case for Flexible Exchange Rates. In: Essays in Positive Economics (pp. 157–203). University of Chicago Press.
Friedman, M. (1966). The Methodology of Positive Economic. In: Essays in Positive Economics (pp. 30–43). University of Chicago Press.
Gardini, S. G. G. (2014). Voluntary Adoption of the Consolidate. Journal of Public Budgeting, Accounting & Financial Management, 26(2), 313–344.
Gigli, S., & Mariani, L. (2018). Lost in The Transition From Cash To Accrual Accounting: Assessing The Knowledge Gaps In Italian Public Universities. International Journal of Public Sector Management, 31(7), 811–826.
Gordon, G., & Fischer, M. (2014). Public University Presidential Compensation: Performance, Cost Efficiency And Spending Choices. Journal of Public Budgeting, Accounting & Financial Management, 26(4), 557–583.
Greiling, D., Traxler, A. A., & Stötzer, S. (2015). Sustainability Reporting in The Austrian, German And Swiss Public Sector. International Journal of Public Sector Management, 28(4/5), 404–428.
Guthrie, J., & Parker, L. D. (1989). Corporate Social Reporting: A Rebuttal of Legitimacy Theory. Accounting and Business Research, 19(76), 343–352.
Jensen, M. C., & Meckling, W. H. (1976). Theory of the Firm: Managerial Behavior, Agency Costs, and Ownership Structure. Journal of Financial Economics, 3(4), 305–360.
Kaplan, R.S., & Norton, D. P. (1992). Balanced Scorecard – Measures That Drive Performance. Harvard Business Review, 70(1), 71–90.
Kaplan, Robert S, & Johnson, H. T. (1987). Relevance Lost: The Rise and Fall of Management Accounting. Harvard Business School Press.
Kidwell, L., & Lowensohn, S. (2018). Stakeholder Participation In The Governmental Accounting Standard-Setting Process. 30(2), 252–268.
Lindblom, C. K. (1994). The Implications Of Organizational Legitimacy For Corporate Social Performance And Disclosure, Working Paper for the American Accounting Association Public Interest Section, USA. In Paper Presented at the Critical Perspectives on Accounting Conference.
Magnus, S. A., Smith, D., & Wheeler, J. R. C. (2003). Agency Implications of Debt in Not-for-profit Hospitals: A Conceptual Framework and Overview. Research in Healthcare Financial Management, 8(1), 7–17.
Marcuccio, M., & Steccolini, I. (2009). Patterns Of Voluntary Extended Performance Reporting In Italian Local Authorities. International Journal of Public Sector Management, 22(2), 146–167.
Myers, S. C. (1977). Determinants of Corporate Borrowing. Journal of Financial Economics, 5, 147–175.
Neu, D. (1991a). New Stock Issues And The Institutional Production Of Trust. Accounting, Organizations and Society, 16(2), 185–200.
Neu, D. (1991b). Trust, Contracting And The Prospectus Process. Accounting, Organizations and Society, 16(3), 243–256.
Neu, D. (1991c). Trust, Impression Management and the Public Accounting Profession. Critical Perspectives on Accounting, 2(3), 295–313.
Northcott, D., & Taulapapa, T. M. (2012). Using The Balanced Scorecard To Manage Performance In Public Sector Organizations Issues And Challenges. International Journal of Public Sector Management, 25(3), 166–191.
Paulsson, G. (2006). Accrual Accounting in the Public Sector: Experiences from The Central Government in Sweden. Financial Accountability & Management, 22(1), 47–62. 10.1111/j.0267-4424.2006.00392.x
Plummer, E., & Patton, T. K. (2015). Article information : Journal of Public Budgeting, Accounting & Financial Management, 27(2), 225–264.
Prabowo, T. J. W., Leung, P., & Guthrie, J. (2017). Reforms in Public Sector Accounting and Budgeting in Indonesia (2003-2015): Confusions in Implementation. Journal of Public Budgeting, Accounting and Financial Management, 29(1), 104–137.
Ríos, A. M., Bastida, F., & Benito, B. (2016). Budget Transparency and Legislative Budgetary Oversight: An International Approach. American Review of Public Administration, 46(5), 546–568.
Ritonga, I. T. (2020). Public Accounting and Business Accounting: Two Different Upstream. Journal of Accounting and Investment, 21(3), 401–416.
Roberts, R. W., & Kurtenbach, J. M. (1992). An Analysis of Lobbying Activities Before the Governmental Accounting Standards Board. Research in Governmental and Nonprofit Accounting, 7, 25–40.
Scott, W. R. (2004). Institutional Theory: Contributing to a Theoritical Research Program. Great Minds in Management: The Process of Theory Development. Oxford University Press.
Stalebrink, O. J. (2014). Public Pension Funds and Assumed Rates of Return: An Empirical Examination of Public Sector Defined Benefit Pension Plans. American Review of Public Administration, 44(1), 92–111.
Timoshenko, K., & Adhikari, P. (2010). A two-country comparison of public sector accounting reforms: Same ideas, different paths? Journal of Public Budgeting, Accounting & Financial Management, 22(4), 449–489.
Tomkins, C. (2001). Interdependencies, Trust and Information in Relationships, Alliances and Networks. Accounting, Organizations and Society, 26(2), 161–191.
Verbeeten, F. H. M. (2011). Public Sector Cost Management Practices in The Netherlands. International Journal of Public Sector Management, 24(6), 492–506.
Waluyo, B. (2018). Balancing Financial Autonomy and Control in Agencification: Issues Emerging from the Indonesian Higher Education. International Journal of Public Sector Management, 31(7), 794–810.
Yetman, R. . (2007). Financing Nonprofits: Putting Theory Into Practice. Altamira Press.
Yinger, J. (1982). Capitalization and the Theory of Local Public Finance. Journal of Political Economy, 50(5), 917–943.
Zimmerman, J. L. (1977). Discussion of The Municipal Accounting Maze: An Analysis of Political Incentives. Journal of Accounting Research, 15(1977), 107–144.
How to Cite
ZAMZAMI, Faiz; MUKHLIS, Mukhlis. Public Accounting Research and Theories: A Literature Review. Jurnal Ilmiah Akuntansi dan Bisnis, [S.l.], v. 16, n. 1, p. 115-136, june 2020. ISSN 2303-1018. Available at: <>. Date accessed: 02 mar. 2021. doi: