Consolidation accounting: a history of the development of financial reporting standard FRS-37 and sector-neutral consolidation accounting for Crown financial reporting by the New Zealand Government
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameDoctor of Philosophy
This thesis provides a narrative account of the development of the sector-neutral financial reporting standard FRS-37: Consolidating Investments in Subsidiaries, applicable to both government and the private sector in the New Zealand institutional setting. The protracted promulgation of this accounting standard over eight years is the research event of interest. New Zealand's overhauled Public Finance Act 1989 introduced a requirement for the Crown to produce accrual consolidated accounts prepared in accordance with GAAP. Consolidation GAAP was vague however and a preferential modified equity accounting method was used throughout the development period of FRS-37. This seemed contradictory to the sector-neutral GAAP stance since the method was not allowed in the private sector. After FRS-37 was approved the Crown was required to present financial reports incorporating its interests in State Owned Enterprises and Crown entities on a fully consolidated basis. Subsequently international developments in government accounting put the viability of so-called NZ GAAP into question. The research objective was to better understand what happened. The historical method of Porter (1981) is used to trace the changes shaping the event. This involved consideration of antecedent and subsequent conditions around the event as well as its internal development. The event of FRS-37 commenced in September 1993 following the establishment of the Accounting Standards Review Board by the Financial Reporting Act 1993 which necessitated the development of a sector-neutral consolidation standard for approval, and concluded around October 2001 when FRS-37 was approved. The comparative antecedent period commencing around 1985 indicated the contextual conditions leading into the event, and the subsequent period to 2006 following FRS-37's implementation showed changed conditions that confirmed the event's conclusion. The contribution of this thesis is that it documents the defined event and explains what happened, offering understanding of the issues around consolidation accounting, sector-neutral GAAP and public sector financial management.