Title: Quality management in the public sector accounting department - (un)avoidable quality costs and unlikely financial impacts

Authors: Toni Mättö; Marko Järvenpää; Antti Rautiainen; Kari Sippola

Addresses: School of Business and Economics, Jyväskylä University, P.O Box 35, 40014, Finland ' School of Business and Economics, Jyväskylä University, P.O Box 35, 40014, Finland ' School of Business and Economics, Jyväskylä University, P.O Box 35, 40014, Finland ' School of Business and Economics, Jyväskylä University, P.O Box 35, 40014, Finland

Abstract: This paper investigates the nature of quality costs and the likelihood of their having financial impacts in the public sector. An illustrative quality development case project in an accounting department of a Finnish city administration is presented. The empirical data includes answers to a qualitative project question sheet, workshop material and participative observation. Quality problems are classified according to their quality cost category and the extent to which they are avoidable. Some of the quality costs proved unavoidable and some are likely to lack financial impact, exhibiting sticky cost behaviour. The study indicates that certain prevention and appraisal costs in the public sector might not deliver the desired outcomes because of such sticky behaviour of costs. Traditional quality thinking holds that increased prevention and appraisal investments decrease failure costs. However, the extent to which these costs are avoidable has not been analysed in previous studies.

Keywords: case study; action research; quality; public sector; cost classification; cost stickiness.

DOI: 10.1504/IJAF.2017.088029

International Journal of Accounting and Finance, 2017 Vol.7 No.3, pp.234 - 252

Available online: 16 Nov 2017 *

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