Reputation and financial reporting in Finnish public organizations
Rautiainen, A., & Luoma-aho, V. (2021). Reputation and financial reporting in Finnish public organizations. Journal of Public Budgeting, Accounting and Financial Management, 33(4), 487-511. https://doi.org/10.1108/jpbafm-10-2020-0179
DisciplineDigitaalinen liiketoiminta ja talous (painoala)Responsible Management, Learning, Digitalization & StrategyViestinnän johtaminenDigital marketing and CommunicationAccounting ChangeLaskentatoimiKestävä liiketoiminta ja talous (painoala)Basic or discovery scholarshipDigital Business and Economy (focus area)Responsible Management, Learning, Digitalization & StrategyCorporate CommunicationDigital marketing and CommunicationAccounting ChangeAccountingSustainable Business and Economy (focus area)Basic or discovery scholarship
© 2021 the Authors
Purpose This article analyzes the links between financial reports and reputation in the context of Finnish public sector organizations. In general, the paper discusses the accounting treatment of intangible and tangible assets and the quality and relevance of public sector financial reporting. Design/methodology/approach For data, we combine three data sets: financial statement information of eight anonymous Finnish public organizations, the results of a reputation survey among their key stakeholders (N = 914) and a sample of the social media sentiment around the organizations. Findings Our findings suggest that a decrease in spending and, surprisingly in the nonprofit sector, an increase in the surplus, indicate better perceived financial performance. An increase in surplus is positively linked with the reputational factors, for example, trust. However, disclosing excessive amounts of information, for example, in financial reporting seems to contribute to negative discussions on social media. Practical implications We highlight the importance of managing intangibles, including those not recognized in the balance sheet, such as reputation. We present three propositions with potential managerial relevance. Originality/value Despite the considerable amount of financial information disclosed by public sector organizations, few studies have analyzed its relevance or connection to reputation. This first-of-a-kind paper combines intangible and tangible assets by analyzing how financial data and intangible reputation are linked in the public sector accounting context. Six reputational factors were discovered, and financial performance was found to correlate with trust in the public sector. ...
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