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Central government's general accounts: ten years on - A new step beckons

COUR DES COMPTES

The provisions contained in the Constitutional Bylaw on Budget Acts (LOLF) of 1 August 2001 included the introduction of general accounts within central government’s accounting system. This reform was designed to address the inability to faithfully record central government’s assets, report all of its obligations and describe its financial relations with other public bodies. The reform also sought to overhaul central government management practices to align them with those of countries at the forefront of budget reforms. Central government maintained its budget accounting approach, while adding general accounts, which are kept separately according to a specific set of accounting standards and are certified by the Cour des comptes. This initial choice facilitated the implementation of central government’s general accounts and helped these accounts achieve their primary goal, namely to improve the information available on central government’s assets and obligations. But because the general accounts have been underused, they have so far had little impact on administrative management practices. A new step needs to be taken so that central government can benefit from its investments in this accounting reform.

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