In a highly useful Public Money & Management issue on politicians’ uses of accounting information, Budding and van Helden (2022) succinctly summarize contributions around twin themes of relevance and understandability. Behind those themes, the contributions implicitly—and, sometimes, explicitly—take the issue in a specific direction by considering relevance to decision-making and understandability from the point of view of politicians who have little or no education regarding accounting. But could those extensions of relevance and understandability be misleading signposts in the quest to understand politicians’ responses to accounting information? Could we be stuck in a discussion of accountants talking to accountants (Lapsley, 2022)? In this article, I argue that a political patina found on most public sector accounting information holds the reality of politicians’ responses to accounting information.
CHRISTENSEN, M. (2022). Debate: Accounting information performativity and politicians’ use (or not). Public Money and Management, 42(8), pp. 574-575.