Projects

The Centre has received various grants, is involved with national and international projects, and has produced successful research outputs. The below is not an exhaustive list but it shows various types of research the Centre is involved with.

For further details about any of the publications, please contact the Centre Director Professor Zahirul Hoque:


Grants

The Role of Performance Audits in Ensuring Stewardship and Accountability in Australian Public Sector Entities [2019]

Professor Zahirul Hoque and Dr Esin Ozdil received $3,000 from the Accounting and Finance Association of Australia and New Zealand for a pilot project to examine the role of performance audits in ensuring stewardship and accountability in Australian government entities.

About the research

Australian government entities are expected to be good stewards of the public trust and use organisational resources efficiently and effectively. The Australian National Audit Office conducts performance audits of government entities and programs to ensure improved public sector administration, service delivery and accountability. These audits are objective assessments that help identify areas in need of improvement. Although performance audits are widely used in public administration, little empirical evidence exists on its contribution to promoting stewardship and accountability. To address this, we undertook a pilot study in this project and used publicly available performance audit reports of various Australian government entities and programs available from the Australian National Audit Office (ANAO) website. The performance audit reports were collected manually from the website. We collected a sample of 509 performance audit reports and 390-government entity letter of responses for the years 2008 to 2018. As part of our data analysis, we searched for evidence demonstrating government entities response to the performance audit recommendations, and the extent to which they agreed or disagreed to all recommendations in their letter of response. At the conclusion of our analysis, we found majority of the recommendations were addressed and agreed to by the government entities as articulated in their responses. However, there were cases of some entities expressing their inability to meet certain recommendations. In such cases, we examined and recorded the rationales for the entities inability to respond to the relative recommendation(s). Data analysis in progress.

Accounting for Risk Management in Government Entities [2019]

Professor Zahirul Hoque, Dr Esin Ozdil and Dr Tarek Rana received an Internal Research Grant for a study to identify and analyse the determinants of risk management practices by government entities.

About the research

This exploratory study will contribute to the public sector management and accounting literature by demonstrating what risk management is understood to mean in the public sector and more importantly how it is and can be made calculable by public sector entities. The findings will also have beneficial implications for public sector practitioners whereby the findings will provide evidence on the benefits and challenges of using such practices. Further, this study will benefit the Australian Government by providing an independent assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of risk management methodologies that government agencies use.

In Search of Contemporaneous Costing Practices in the Australian Non-Profit Sector [2017]

Professor Zahirul Hoque and Dr Tarek Rana received $43,761.52 competitive grant from the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA) UK to investigate contemporaneous cost accounting practices in Australian not-for-profit organisations.

About the research

In non-profit organisations, there are fewer avenues that influence revenues, but there are more possibilities that impact costs. This restraint has led to the question “how do we evaluate costing practices in the non-profit sector and how will that result in the best possible outcome for the sector?” The empirical evidence from a sample of 103 Australian non-profit organisations indicated that the vast majority of the non-profits used traditional cost systems (73.5%) and only 26.5% used an activity-based costing method. Nearly 33% used full costing, 18.5% used directing/variable costing, 10% used standard costing, 8.2% used job order costing, and the remaining 4% used the direct costing approach. A number of cost reports (generated to satisfy legislative requirements and to face the great extent of competition for funding) were found to be statistically significant. Further, legislative requirements led the non-profits’ managers to use a greater number of data sources and integrating the cost accounting system with their financial systems or functions. Under a situation of intense competition for funding, the non-profits are more likely to use cost system data for budget execution, determining user fees, satisfying legislative requirement(s), valuing inventory, and measuring performance.

International collaborations

New public management, accounting and performance measurement practices in the Bangladesh public sector

La Trobe University, East West University (Bangladesh) and Institute of Cost and Management Accountants of Bangladesh (ICMAB).

About the research

Performance measurement and management (PMM) systems are becoming increasingly important in organisations with widespread use of tools such as the Balanced Scorecard. Organisations need to understand how to design, implement, use and refresh their PMM systems. A research team consisting of Professor Zahirul Hoque and Dr Nikhil Chandra Shil are carrying out the project to investigate the impact pf the adoption of new public management (NPM) ideals on accounting and performance management practices in public sector organisations in Bangladesh.  The aim of the project is to develop sets of questions which will measure:

  1. To what extend the global new public management (NPM) concept is adopted in Bangladesh? Has it changed public sector operations and organisational processes including accounting, accountability and performance management?
  2. To what extent are performance measures being used in divisional/departmental performance evaluation?
  3. In what ways are performance measures being used?
  4. How effective are the performance measures that are being used?
  5. How are performance measures being maintained and communicated?
  6. How are performance measures being implemented?
  7. How are management accountants involved in the NPM and accounting change processes?

Budgeting practices in health care: a comparative study between Australia and Italy

La Trobe University and Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore (Italy).

About the research

In this research, we focus on formal and informal feedback and budgetary participation and seek to understand how, on the one hand, feedback availability and characteristics and budgetary participation, on the other, are related to subsequent performance via accountability, psychological empowerment and commitment. The study will be undertaken within a number of public hospitals located in Australia and Italy.

Felt Accountability and Work Commitment as Mediators in Feedback - Performance Relationships: Insights from the healthcare in Italy

La Trobe University and Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore (Italy).

About the research

The study examines how managers’ feelings about their accountability (felt accountability) and commitment to their work roles influence the association between performance feedback process and managerial performance in the medical domain. We tested a model using questionnaire survey data from 115 medical managers in an Italian public hospital. Our results show that both formal and informal feedback on employee performance act as antecedents of managers’ felt accountability. Further, we found that the felt accountability–managerial performance relationship is mediated by their commitment to their roles. Conceptually, we contribute to the accountability and management accounting literature by demonstrating that the association between feedback sources and managerial performance largely depends on managers’ felt accountability and work commitment. Practically, enhanced knowledge of the current state of accountability and performance feedback practices in an Italian hospital will benefit global clinical professionals and external stakeholders when making organizational decisions, including performance measurement.

Journal articles

Ozdil, E., & Hoque, Z. (2019). Accounting as an engine for the re‐creation of strategy at a university. Accounting & Finance.

Rana, T., Hoque, Z., & Jacobs, K. (2019). Public sector reform implications for performance measurement and risk management practice: insights from Australia. Public Money & Management, 39(1), 37-45.

Zawawi, N. H. M., & Hoque, Z. (2019). The Implementation and Adaptation of the Balanced Scorecard in a Government Agency. Australian Accounting Review.

Pawsey, N., Ananda, J., & Hoque, Z. (2018). Rationality, accounting and benchmarking water businesses: An analysis of measurement challenges. International Journal of Public Sector Management, 31(3), 290-315.

Ozdil, E., & Hoque, Z. (2017). Budgetary change at a university: A narrative inquiry. The British Accounting Review, 49(3), 316-328.

Sutheewasinnon, P., Hoque, Z., & Nyamori, R. O. (2016). Development of a performance management system in the Thailand public sector: Isomorphism and the role and strategies of institutional entrepreneurs. Critical Perspectives on Accounting, 40, 26-44.

Young, S., Nagpal, S., & Adams, C. A. (2016). Sustainable procurement in Australian and UK universities. Public Management Review, 18(7), 993-1016.

Gooneratne, T. N., & Hoque, Z. (2016). Institutions, agency and the institutionalization of budgetary control in a hybrid state-owned entity. Critical Perspectives on Accounting, 36, 58-70.

Khan, S. H., & Hoque, Z. (2016). Changes in the Public Accounts Committee of a Less Developed Democratic Country: A Field Study. Financial Accountability & Management, 32(1), 80-103.

A. Adams, C., Muir, S., & Hoque, Z. (2014). Measurement of sustainability performance in the public sector. Sustainability Accounting, Management and Policy Journal, 5(1), 46-67.


Books

Cost Management for Nonprofit and Voluntary Organisations [2019]

Hoque Z. and Rana T. (2019). Cost Management for Nonprofit and Voluntary Organisations. Routledge.

About the book

In recent years, increased competition for funding, technological advancement, the need to comply with government regulations, and increased social/community expectations for greater accountability and transparency have placed challenges and unanticipated pressures on nonprofit and voluntary organisations. Cost accounting and cost management tools are considered as a means to provide adequate and quality information for management control for all sorts of organisations, including nonprofits. This research monograph offers insight into how nonprofit and voluntary organisations control and manage costs of their operation and projects through cost accounting and cost management tools using empirical evidence from the Australian nonprofit sector. The book will be of benefit to a range of stakeholders in the sector, including financial and management accountants, accounting professional bodies, government, policy makers, academics, consultants, and operational managers.

Making Governments Accountable: The Role of Public Accounts Committees and National Audit Office [2015]

Hoque, Z. (Ed.) (2015). Making governments accountable: The role of public accounts committees and national audit offices. Routledge.

About the book

An important aspect of government accountability and governance process is the establishment and effective functioning of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC). The PAC is a part of the parliamentary infrastructure of a democratic government that helps to ensure that governments account for their operating policies and actions, and their management and use of public resources. Over the recent decade, the public sector of most countries has undergone substantial reforms centred on the emergence of New Public Management (NPM) ideals, improvement of accountability and governance, efficiency, and effectiveness. Our understanding of how the PACs on government entities function to strengthen public accountability, financial scrutiny and good governance worldwide is limited. The idea of this book is to establish a dialogue – a bridge of ideas – between public sector accounting and development studies academics, researchers, parliamentarians, parliamentary oversight bodies and public sector practitioners and consultants.

This research monograph focuses on both conventional and contemporary issues facing PACs around the world and the role of national audit offices therein. The overall aim is to provide an international overview, comparison and commentary on the role of public accounts committees and national audit offices in public accountability.

This book incorporates PAC practices in both developed and developing democratic nations in a single volume investigating how various internal and external institutional agents may shape the development and working of a PAC. In addressing the above issues the book provides not only a comparative set of insights but allows the development of themes that are now emergent.

The chapters in this volume will be useful to academic researchers in public administration and development studies fields as they will help researchers grasp the potential external and internal forces that are likely to influence PAC structures and practices. The insights offered by a country-specific PAC will also be useful to parliamentary bodies and governments in other countries implementing similar PAC structures and practices and facing similar sociopolitical environments. This book will also help gaining an understanding of the issues of government accountability from a management point of view as well as from a sociopolitical point of view.