AGA Financial Transparency Report

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In February, the Association of Government Accountants released a report they commissioned Harris Interactive to create, entitiled Public Attitudes Toward Government Accountability and Transprency 2008.

The report and corresponding powerpoint presentation explain government’s failure to effectively report on financial management:

"The survey findings reveal that the public perceptions of government accountability and transparency are far from favorable.  Identified problems with governments’ desire to share information and their competence in actually doing so, has resulted in a system at federal, state and local levels that disappoints and breeds mistrust.  The implication is clear–traditional forms of communicating financial information to taxpayers are not working."

A detailed survey and statistical and demographic explanations back up their conclusions on public perception of accountability and transparency: "Government at all levels is failing to meet the needs of its citizens with regard to financial management reporting.  There is a large ‘expectations gap.’"

While this survey applies specifically to financial reporting from the government, the conclusions are likely true across government.  If traditional reporting mechanisms are failing, that leaves digital technology to help us develop mechanisms of real trust and accountability.  See Section 3 of the report; What the Public Wants: "A significant portion of the population is searching online for information on how the government is generating and spending money."

(AGA Page, Survey Paper, Powerpoint Presentation )

 (See also ACSI Reporting, Transparency in Healthcare reporting)

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