BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Public sector is mainly established to provide services to the general public; these services cannot be efficiently and effectively provided without government accounting. The focus of government accounting is the determination of how much money was received and the sources of such receipts, how much money was spent and for what purposes and what remains after meeting the financial obligations. In line with this statement, Public finance and particularly the financial management and accounting of government institutions have become fundamentally important:-
Public finance has been described as the collection and disbursement of funds for public use (Corbally, 1962, Osuntokun, 2003). It has also been regarded as the financial activities of public authorities in terms of taxing, spending, borrowing and lending and it involves the means of providing for the expenditure involved in the staffing, equipment and maintenance of educational institutions (Adesua, 1981, Charles, 2002).
Accountant-General of the Federation is referred to as the Chief Accounting Officer for the receipts and payments of the government of the federation (Financial Regulation 107(a) 2009), also at the state level, the Accountant-General of a state is referred to as the “Chief Accounting Officer for the receipts and payments of the government of the state.
As a result of more interest in receipts and payments account, the government accounting practice that evolved over the years focused on cash receipts and disbursements on the basis of budgetary headings to reveal the balances available at a given time under various heads and sub-heads of votes. This therefore means that the basis of accounting in government is normally the cash basis (or modified cash) rather than the accrual basis of the private sector. Under the cash basis, the government revenue is recorded and accounted for when cash is received and expenditure is incurred when cash is paid irrespective of the accounting period in which the benefit is received or the service rendered.
The Accountant-General being the chief accounting officer of receipts and payments is also concerned with efficient management of public resources and to also give evidence of accountability of those resources. Okoh and Ohwoyibo (2009) opine that accountability reflects the need for government and its agencies to serve the public effectively in accordance with the laws of the land. Appah (2010) point out that with the number and monetary value of public sector activities has increased substantially.