A joint working group, representative of my Department and the Office of the Comptroller and Auditor General, put forward recommendations last year proposing changes in the annual accounts of Government Departments. These accounts, the Appropriation Accounts, are presented to the Dáil annually and examined by the Committee of Public Accounts. The working group's report was referred to the committee, because of their interest in the matter, and the committee, having considered it, accepted the recommendations. These are to be implemented on a phased basis over a three-year period, starting with the 1994 accounts. The 1994 accounts, which were published in conjunction with the annual report of the Comptroller and Auditor General, are now available in the Library. Paragraph 1 of the reports sets out the main revisions which have been made, while a statement of the accounting policies and principles followed in the preparation and audit of the accounts is also included.
Since the joint working group reported, the strategic management initiative has been launched and, in that context, further consideration is being given to financial management systems in Government Departments. In addition, a pilot project on accrual accounting is under way, with the assistance of a commercial accountancy firm, in the Department of Transport, Energy and Communications. It is expected that the results of this project will be available early next year.