When Standards and Harmonisation are Missing: The Road to EPSAS

11/12/2018 - 12/12/2018
Location: Barcelona (ES)
Project number: 1861101

When Standards and Harmonisation are Missing: The Road to EPSAS

From:  900,00

The European Commission is working together with the Member States on what is called the European Public Sector Accounting Standards (EPSAS). This seminar will provide participants with a comprehensive overview of the main key concepts of EPSAS.

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Good governance and quality of public administrations is recognisably in the interests of the citizens and Europe’ Member States. It achieves maximum value from finite public funds and creates a public-private interface that increases employment and growth. Worldwide, the evidence is irrefutable: economies with high productivity and a high income per capita have the most effective and efficient public institutions.

Europe’s administrations currently face a triple challenge: to deliver better with less (meet societal and business needs in times of tighter budgets), to adapt their service provision to demographic, technological and societal changes, and to improve the business climate through fewer yet smarter regulations and better services in support of growth and competitiveness.

Government financial sustainability therefore remains key across Europe. However, there is often a lack of transparency in public finances, which creates problems for decision-making as well as for accountability and democratic scrutiny all over the EU.

Harmonisation or standardisation of key performance indicators and public-sector accounting and reporting can help to minimise future economic risks and shocks. The accounting systems currently used in the EU countries also determine the information they make available to investors. Complete and harmonised accounting and reporting would support the needed transparency, sustainability and lower cost of capital.

The European Commission is working together with the Member States on what is called the European Public Sector Accounting Standards (EPSAS). It has proceeded in two phases: (1) increasing fiscal transparency in the short to medium term by encouraging and supporting accruals reforms in Member States, while developing a draft EPSAS framework with a view to (2) addressing comparability within and between Member States via the EPSAS initiative in the medium to longer term. EPSAS should be a forward-looking reform to improve accountability and decision-making. For instance, it will provide a complementary view of the impact of investments, which will enable better financial management of assets and liabilities through recognition and measurement on the basis of generally accepted financial accounting principles.

Change management will be an important factor in this process, as accruals will have a wide impact on each public organisation (e.g. IT systems, relation to management information system and its usage for decision makers) and will lead to an organisation-wide rethink. Thus, this change (to EPSAS) must, and will, lead to a cultural shift within public administration that may contrast with some administrative traditions. Read our expert’s blog to find out more about EPSAS.

How will this practical seminar help you?

The seminar will provide participants with a comprehensive overview of the main key concepts of EPSAS and how these affect the financial management of national, regional and city and local governments. With its strong practical focus, the seminar represents a unique chance to understand how to capture the opportunities of what is sometimes considered just a (“simple”) revision of accounting by and for accounting experts. The move to accrual instead offers an interesting window of opportunity to manage resources more efficiently and more sustainable, with concrete benefits for citizens.

Change management in which sound financial management (incl. EPSAS) plays a decisive role remains key in this process. Other important elements such as IT and questions on ‘How do we maximise benefits (e.g. money saving) by implementing EPSAS?’ will also be addressed in detail.

This will not be just from a normative angle but will also provide participants with concrete comparative examples from some leading European governments that have already applied these principles at different levels of maturity and have experienced the multidimensional benefits.

Who will benefit most?

The practical seminar is addressed to all levels of administrations: not only to CFOs and CEOs and their associates of city governments, but also to regional and national administrations (e.g. at the Ministry of Economy and Finance, Treasury, Interior, Transport, Infrastructure etc.) that work in the field of or are close to accounting and financial management.

It will also be of interest to academics and educational institutions, national executive agencies, international financing institutions and service providers (including NGOs) involved in EU-financed and other projects.




Registration of participants




Opening of the seminar, introduction to the agenda and definition of expected results
 Alexander Heichlinger, Co-Founder & Chair CEFG Group, EIPA Expert




A warm-up session on the knowledge of EPSAS or suchlike – Check-in with sli.do




The EPSAS framework – The state of play and current developments
Alexandre Makaronidis,
Head of Unit, EC-Eurostat, Luxembourg




Coffee break




Meet and challenge the policymakers – Open Q&A session




The opportunities brought by EPSAS – Benefits and costs
Keith Hayes, Task Force EPSAS, EC-Eurostat, Luxembourg




Joint lunch




The overall impact on investment projects




Implementation of standards at the Austrian central and local government levels
Robert Bloeschl, Austrian Centre for Public Administration Research (KDZ), Vienna




Wrap-up and lessons learnt
Emanuele Padovani, Professor of Business Administration, University of Bologna




End of first day




Guided walking tour in Barcelona












The European City Economic and Financial Governance (CEFG) Group: A leap towards transparency, accountability and sustainability of public finances
Alexander Heichlinger and Emanuele Padovani  








Coffee break




Panel: ‘Proof of concept’ – What to do? How to do it? Bottlenecks and benefits–
Antonio Muñoz, General Comptroller, City of Barcelona
Torsten Domroes, Head of Budgeting Unit, Ministry of Finance, State of Hamburg (invited)








Joint Lunch




‘Please help’ workshop: Discussion of the questions submitted previously by the participants to the experts




Key learning points, handing out of the EIPA certificate and closure of the seminar

Course venue
Grupotel Gran Via 678****
Gran Via Corts Catalanes, 678
ES – 08010 Barcelona
Tel. +34-931924.560

Programme Organiser
Ms Marta Gracia
Tel: +34 93 245 13 13

The fee includes documentation, a welcome dinner, coffee breaks, lunches and a walking sightseeing tour. After the event, a certificate of participation will be handed out and participants will be given access to the digital version of the event documents. Accommodation and travel costs are at the expense of the participants or their administration.

EIPA offers a 10% discount to all civil servants working for one of EIPA’s supporting countries, and civil servants working for an EU institution, body or agency.

Who are the supporting countries?
Civil servants coming from the following EIPA supporting countries are entitled to get the reduced fee: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom.

For all other participants, the regular fee applies.

Hotel reservations
EIPA is pleased to make reservations for you at the Hotel Grupotel Gran Via 678, where special rates apply for EIPA participants. Should you wish to make use of this possibility, kindly contact the organiser of this seminar m.gracia@eipa.eu. Payment is to be made directly and personally to the hotel upon checking out. Please note that if you register after the deadline, hotel reservations cannot be guaranteed.

Grupotel Gran Via 678****
Gran Via Corts Catalanes, 678
ES – 08010 Barcelona
Tel. +34-931924.560

Rates of room with breakfast buffet included:

  • Single room: € 88 + VAT included + €1.21 tax
  • Double room for single use: € 110 + VAT included + €1.21 tax
  • Double room for two persons: € 132 + VAT included + €2.42 tax

Confirmation of registration will be forwarded to participants on receipt of the completed online registration form.

Prior payment is a condition for participation.

Cancellation policy
For administrative reasons you will be charged €150 for cancellations received within 15 days before the activity begins. There is no charge for qualified substitute participants.

EIPA reserves the right to cancel the activity up to 2 weeks before the starting date. In that case, registration fees received will be fully reimbursed. EIPA accepts no responsibility for any costs incurred (travel, accommodation, etc.).


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