Cost Management at Higher Education Institutions – Cases of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia and Slovenia
Higher education expenditures persistently rise due to various economic, demographic and socio-cultural reasons. This caused repeated calls for reforms of the economic model in the higher education sector and dramatically increased the importance of the economic evaluations in the last decades due to concerns for efficiency. The above academic challenges led us to pioneering an attempt to evaluate the capabilities of financial management tools for three Western Balkan countries, i.e. Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia and Slovenia. The precondition for successful reform processes is certainly a comprehensive and high-quality accounting information system that meets not only the requirements of external reporting but also the requirements of internal users, especially the management of HEIs. In that context, the main aim of this paper is to overview the legal and organizational accounting systems' characteristics focusing on external and internal reporting requirements, and study the level of development and usage of cost accounting at HEIs in selected countries. Therefore, our paper employs research methodology based on the survey conducted. The results show great differences in legal and organizational characteristics of accounting systems among the countries as well as in the development stages of cost accounting systems, which mainly focus on inconsistent overhead allocation as well as different accounting basis usage. The research results confirm poorly conceptualised and structured reporting of accounting information for management purposes, offering several applicable platforms for creation of performance management approaches and strategies in the public sector.
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