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Performance Measurement, Accountability, and Transparency of Budgets and Financial Reports

Author: JAMES MELITSKI and AROON MANOHARAN
Published in PAQ, Vol. 38 No. 1

In an age of global public cutbacks and talks of austerity, public managers are wary of publishing performance data online. Yet, public organizations are using information technology to measure and manage their performance now more than ever. At the same time, communities that engage citizens online and report performance information are more accountable to the public and build public trust. This paper examines the link between performance reporting and financial decision-making by analyzing award winning financial reports and budget reports identified by the Government Finance Officers Association in 2009.Drawing on the Governmental Accounting Standards Board’s (GASB) criteria for performance reporting, a rubric is applied to both public budget and public financial reports. Second, a data dictionary or lexicon for performance measurement is developed and applied to the same documents to determine the extent to which the documents address performance measurement. Lastly, the relevance of performance reporting is examined in both planned and actual expenditures by comparing the budget and financial reports.

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