Special Issue "Digital Transition: Opportunities, Threats, and Challenges for Public Sector Accounting and Financial Management"
A special issue of Administrative Sciences (ISSN 2076-3387).
Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 December 2021.
Interests: public sector; financial management; accounting; auditing; intellectual capital
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Interests: public sector accounting; voluntary disclosure; social and environmental accountability; accounting ethics; integrated reporting
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
The Covid-19 pandemic has pushed towards the digital transition of the public sector (Agostino et al., 2020; Gabryelczyk, 2020). However, compared to the private sector, until a year ago, frequent delays have led to low use of digital services by public administrations, which suggests a low acceptance of what has been done so far in terms of digital transition (Ducci, 2015). This is mainly due to a lack of internal digital skills, which prevented public administrations from evaluating and contracting properly with suppliers, designing appropriate tender specifications, and monitoring the development and actual implementation of digital projects (Danziger and Andersen, 2002). Nowadays, the digital transition is a global phenomenon, to which the whole country system is increasingly adapting, albeit in different ways and at different speeds. Digitalization is the enabling infrastructure for modern technological transition (Reddick, 2012), with the dual responsibility of delivering innovative, compatible, and functioning solutions, on the one hand, and motivating non-digital public administrations to evolve (Kettl, 2015), on the other hand. In this direction, the European Commission has introduced the Digital European Agenda (https://www.europarl.europa.eu/factsheets/en/sheet/64/digital-agenda-for-europe) that contains the strategies and main lines of action for the transition to digital technologies in Europe. This agenda includes several measures, as part of the broader Europe 2020 strategy (Datta, 2020). The aim is to promote the creation of a single digital space within the European Union where citizens may be free to move and use digital services, both in their interaction with private companies and with the public sector. At the same time, the European Union seeks to reduce the barriers that would prevent the deployment of the digital transition and the full realization of its benefits, with interventions aimed at addressing the issues of the digital divide, security, and the strengthening of ICTs skills (Datta et al., 2020).
In such a scenario, like many other professions, accounting is subject to disruption from digital technologies (Marrone and Hazelton, 2019), since new digital technologies may offer great possibilities, such as the “new accountings” crucial to sustainability (Bebbington and Gray, 2001) and enhanced stakeholder dialogue via social networks (Unerman and Bennett, 2004; Manetti and Bellucci, 2016). In this regard, the role of the public sector accounting appears as even more complex, given that public administrations are asked to pursue the institutional and pragmatic goal to stimulate the direction of digital progress (Becker et al., 2008): innovating the public sector accounting means optimizing financial management, asset management, public contractual activity, control system, and any other process whose positive impact needs to be visible to stakeholders (Denhardt et al., 2013). Thus, public sector accounting and financial management procedures should be a motivating example favouring digital culture both internally and externally, having positive effects at the micro and macro-economic level (Buccoliero, 2009). In fact, there is empirical evidence confirming that adequate management of the public sector digitalization provides benefits in terms of accounting procedures and financial management (Cohen et al., 2021; Khot, 2020). In this sense, at the operational level, it is no longer rare to come across public administrations making use of technological tools, digital devices, and advanced algorithms to support accounting and financial management, such as big data analysis (Lavertu, 2016), artificial intelligence (Reis et al., 2019), Internet of Things (El-Haddadeh et al., 2019), and cloud computing (Brown and Toze, 2017). However, to date, the set of scientific contributions dedicated to the theme of the digital transition of public sector accounting and financial management does not yet constitute a cohesive core since the literature appears as a rather fragmented.
To this end, this special issue aims to investigate the new opportunities, threats, and challenges linked to the ongoing digital transition of public sector accounting and financial management. Therefore, the editors call for theoretical, empirical, and literature review papers, covering the different levels of government, public-sector health entities, and public universities, by using both quantitative and qualitative methodologies.
In particular, submitted papers for this special issue might include (but are not limited to):
- The impact of Covid-19 pandemic on the digital transition of public sector accounting and financial management.
- The development of new theoretical frameworks to foster the digital transition of public sector accounting and financial management.
- The effects of the digital transition of public sector accounting and financial management in terms of stakeholders’ engagement.
- The effects of the digitalization of public sector accounting in terms of innovative methodologies of reporting (such as popular reporting, visual methodologies, infographics).
- The personal and organizational characteristics that may influence the digital transition of public sector accounting and financial management.
- The birth of new education courses and professions to lead the digital transition of public sector accounting and financial management.
- The contribution of the digital transition of public sector accounting and financial management on public administrations’ accountability and transparency.
- The implications of the digital transition of public sector accounting and financial management in shaping new inter-organizational relationships among public administrations and stakeholders.
- Digital transition and innovative performance measurement systems in the public sector.
Comparative studies dealing with the digital transition of public sector accounting and financial management in different countries.
- Agostino, D., Arnaboldi, M. & Diaz Lema, M. (2020), New development: COVID-19 as an accelerator of digital transformation in public service delivery, Public Money & Management, DOI: 10.1080/09540962.2020.1764206
- Bebbington, J., & Gray, R. (2001). An account of sustainability: failure, success and a reconceptualization. Critical perspectives on accounting, 12(5), 557-587.
- Becker, J., Niehaves, B., Bergener, P., & Räckers, M. (2008, August). Digital divide in eGovernment: The eInclusion gap model. In International Conference on Electronic Government (pp. 231-242). Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg.
- Brown, D. C., & Toze, S. (2017). Information governance in digitized public administration. Canadian public administration, 60(4), 581-604.
- Buccoliero, L. (2009). Governo elettronico. Modelli strategie e soluzioni innovative per una pubblica amministrazione digitale. Tecniche nuove.
- Cohen, S., Manes-Rossi, F., Caperchione, E., & Brusca, I. (2021). Debate: If not now, then when? Covid-19 as an accelerator for public sector accrual accounting in Europe. Public Money & Management, 41(1), 10-12.
- Danziger, J. N., & Andersen, K. V. (2002). The impacts of information technology on public administration: an analysis of empirical research from the “golden age” of transformation. International Journal of Public Administration, 25(5), 591-627.
- Datta, P. (2020). Digital transformation of the Italian public administration: A case study. Communications of the Association for Information Systems, 46(1), 11.
- Datta, P., Walker, L., & Amarilli, F. (2020). Digital transformation: Learning from Italy’s public administration. Journal of Information Technology Teaching Cases, 10(2), 54-71.
- Denhardt, R. B., Denhardt, J. V., & Blanc, T. A. (2013). Public administration: An action orientation. Cengage Learning.
- Ducci, G. (2015). Il rapporto tra Pubblica Amministrazione e cittadini nella città digitale: trasparenza, accountability e open data nei nuovi contesti urbani. Sociologia urbana e rurale.
- El-Haddadeh, R., Weerakkody, V., Osmani, M., Thakker, D., & Kapoor, K. K. (2019). Examining citizens' perceived value of internet of things technologies in facilitating public sector services engagement. Government Information Quarterly, 36(2), 310-320.
- Gabryelczyk, R. (2020). Has COVID-19 Accelerated Digital Transformation? Initial Lessons Learned for Public Administrations. Information Systems Management, 37(4), 303-309.
- Kettl, D. F. (2015). The transformation of governance: Public administration for the twenty-first century. JHU Press.
- Khot, F. (2020). Accounting Policy as the Key Factor of the Interaction of Various Types of Accounting in the Context of Digitalization of the Economy. Integrated Science in Digital Age 2020, 136, 81.
- Lavertu, S. (2016). We all need help: “Big data” and the mismeasure of public administration. Public administration review, 76(6), 864-872.
- Manetti, G., & Bellucci, M. (2016). The use of social media for engaging stakeholders in sustainability reporting. Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal.
- Reddick, C. G. (2012). Public administration and information technology. Burlington, MA: Jones & Bartlett Learning.
- Reis, J., Santo, P. E., & Melão, N. (2019, June). Impacts of artificial intelligence on public administration: A systematic literature review. In 2019 14th Iberian conference on information systems and technologies (CISTI) (pp. 1-7). IEEE.
- Unerman, J., & Bennett, M. (2004). Increased stakeholder dialogue and the internet: towards greater corporate accountability or reinforcing capitalist hegemony?. Accounting, Organizations and Society, 29(7), 685-707.
Prof. Dr. Marco Bisogno
Dr. Gennaro Maione
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- Digital transition
- Public sector accounting
- Financial management