In 2019, the OECD published its report Financial Reporting in Ireland. The report was a wide ranging review of the present system of financial reporting in Ireland. It made a number of recommendations for wide ranging reform over a number of years. The main focus was to reform the accounting framework for central Government to align with an international standards-based accruals system. The report set out a road map to deliver this reform up to 2025. The report also noted that one of the many advantages of this reform would be to facilitate the generation of a whole of Government account, which would include better detail on Ireland’s net worth. However, the report envisaged that the change of the accounting framework would be a necessary first step. Government has accepted the broad thrust of this report, and work is now well underway in preparing for the introduction of new framework in central government based upon the international public sector accounting standards.
However, I should note separately, that the Department of Finance has also recently completed some work relevant to this issue. A Report titled, ‘Ireland’s Public Sector Balance Sheet’, was published on 15th April 2021 and provides the most comprehensive picture of public wealth to-date. It accounts entirely for what the State owns and owes by bringing together all the accumulated assets and liabilities, which the Government controls. As a result, it offers a broader picture of the public balance sheet beyond deficits and debt.