From governmental accounting to national accounting: implications on the Portuguese central government deficit

  • Maria Antónia Jorge de Jesus Universidade de Coimbra
  • Susana Margarida Jorge


Based on the relevant differences between Governmental Accounting (GA/microeconomic perspective) and National Accounting (NA/macroeconomic perspective) this paper examines the main adjustments made in Portugal to the General Government Sector data required to convert Governmental Accounts into National Accounts. It also assesses the impact of those adjustments on the Central Government deficit, the largest share in the Portuguese public deficit.
Following mostly a qualitative research methodology, the empirical study is based on interviews to officials preparing NA and on several documental sources. The purpose is to validate the major data adjustments from GA into NA regarding Central Government, while, in addition, assessing their impact using data from April 2008 Excessive Deficit Procedure notification, covering the 2004-2007 period.
The main findings indicate that differences concerning the accounting basis are the most relevant and that the subsequent adjustments have a considerable impact on the Portuguese Central Government deficit. This research points therefore to the need for more convergence between GA and NA, namely with respect to the transactions recognition criteria in order to use a common accounting basis, and for a complete and coherent reporting information system in GA.


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