Konsolidierte Rechnung: Zur Frage der wirtschaftlichen Konsequenzen der Rechtsaufsicht am Fallbeispiel der Österreichischen Universitäten



With the Act on the Organisation of Universities and their Studies 2002 (Universitätsgesetz, UG 2002), the 22 publicly funded Austrian universities gained autonomy from the governing federal ministry of science and research. With the UG, universities are funded for a three year period based on performance agreements, allocating a block grant to each university. The precise distribution within the universities is left to the discretion of the managing bodies of the universities.

As Austria has gone through a reform of the federal budgeting and accounting system within the last 10 years, introducing a medium-term planning cycle, an accounting regime in close lines with IPSAS and outcome oriented budgeting incorporating gender budgeting (Rauskala & Saliterer, 2015), interest has shifted from more traditional budgeting themes towards financial management and control of financial risks, as well as balance sheet topics and with them, also consolidation. The reform is currently being evaluated by international experts. The question remains if and when Austria will take steps towards consolidated financial statements and in what way, so to say whether it will do so in full compliance or at least in close lines with IPSAS or whether some politically more opportune concepts have to be found.

With the opening balance of the federal government, starting in 2013, the public universities have been presented in financial statements using the equity method. Equity accounting represents the first step towards consolidated financial statements. For defining the correct consolidation method from the economic perspective, however, the specific legislation has to be studied as it very much depends on the national context if and in what ways universities are controlled (Bergmann, Grossi, Rauskala & Fuchs, 2016).

In this article, the question is raised whether the consolidation standard IPSAS 35 can be applied for the context of the Austrian public universities with their specific context of autonomy and governance.

The economic perspective of international financial accounting therefore has to be compared with and contrasted to the perspective of national legislation, leading to some challenging questions regarding the governance-system and legal supervision.


consolidated financial statementsAustriaIPSAS 35case study autnonomous universitieslegal supervision and economic relevance
  • Volume: 8
  • Page/Article: 44–71
  • DOI: 10.5334/ssas.106
  • Published on 31 Dec 2017
  • Peer Reviewed