The advent and the diffusion of the Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) have dramatically changed the way Governments convey financial information to a wide range of stakeholders. Nowadays, the Internet in particular is universally deemed a powerful tool Governments and citizens have at their disposal to prove their accountability and to assess it. Nevertheless, whenever the every-day citizen finds some difficulties in understanding such sort of language smartly named “accounting-ese”- which is, by contrast, commonly and successfully used in professional, institutional and academic communication - specific contents of the information conveyed may be sometimes lost and, as a result, the underlying communication process adversely affected. With an eye towards such a perspective, the aim of the present paper is to test the effective role of the Internet technology in fulfilling the citizens’ information needs. Emphasis will be put on the user-orientation paradigm, specifically analysed with reference to two different governmental environments: the American one, which politically shows an old and strong federal tradition, and the Italian one, which is presently moving its first steps towards such a direction. The paper, which is part of an ongoing research project, will pragmatically focus on a content-analysis-based comparison. The study will be conducted on a purpose-built corpus encompassing a large variety of American and Italian official financial documents available on the two most significant “governmental” websites: the General Accounting Office (www.gao/gov) and the “Dipartimento della Ragioneria Generale dello Stato – National General Accounting Department”(www.rgs.mef.gov.it), respectively. Although the paradigm of the so-called user-orientation ranks as a key-concept in the American accounting realm, it does not seem to have reached a comparable standard in Italy, where financial statements and official documents have been witnessing both resistant formalism and sharp bureaucratic attitudes, despite the Italian progressive shift from cash to accrual basis of accounting.

Central government financial information and user-orientation on the Internet in Italy and the USA

PAVAN, ALDO;
2006

Abstract

The advent and the diffusion of the Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) have dramatically changed the way Governments convey financial information to a wide range of stakeholders. Nowadays, the Internet in particular is universally deemed a powerful tool Governments and citizens have at their disposal to prove their accountability and to assess it. Nevertheless, whenever the every-day citizen finds some difficulties in understanding such sort of language smartly named “accounting-ese”- which is, by contrast, commonly and successfully used in professional, institutional and academic communication - specific contents of the information conveyed may be sometimes lost and, as a result, the underlying communication process adversely affected. With an eye towards such a perspective, the aim of the present paper is to test the effective role of the Internet technology in fulfilling the citizens’ information needs. Emphasis will be put on the user-orientation paradigm, specifically analysed with reference to two different governmental environments: the American one, which politically shows an old and strong federal tradition, and the Italian one, which is presently moving its first steps towards such a direction. The paper, which is part of an ongoing research project, will pragmatically focus on a content-analysis-based comparison. The study will be conducted on a purpose-built corpus encompassing a large variety of American and Italian official financial documents available on the two most significant “governmental” websites: the General Accounting Office (www.gao/gov) and the “Dipartimento della Ragioneria Generale dello Stato – National General Accounting Department”(www.rgs.mef.gov.it), respectively. Although the paradigm of the so-called user-orientation ranks as a key-concept in the American accounting realm, it does not seem to have reached a comparable standard in Italy, where financial statements and official documents have been witnessing both resistant formalism and sharp bureaucratic attitudes, despite the Italian progressive shift from cash to accrual basis of accounting.
2-35267-022-5
Central government, financial information, Internet
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11584/19634
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