The article has presented some important issues including the use of government-wide financial statements. The article has explained that they are required for all GASB complaint audit reports, help in financial comparison across organizations and can be linked to state-level economic measures and state bond ratings (p. 117). This information is quite helpful to readers that are encountering such an article for the first time or those that might not have heard about government-wide financial statements before. This is because they will now understand why these financial statements are important and the need to institute a research revolving around the statements. Another important issue is on the measures used to ascertain the fiscal conditions in Wisconsin Counties. Five measures have been used i.e., financial position, financial performance, general support rate, liquidity, and solvency (p. 123). Using five measures of fiscal conditions makes it easier to have a holistic view of how government-wide statements are being utilized in these counties. Using a single measure would have resulted in inconclusive findings since one measure might be well suited for the government-wide statements than the others and vice versa. Given the period when this research was based (that is during the Great Recession), assessing more than one measure would help understand how local governments react to fiscal stress that results from unprecedented events.
Does the usage of Government-Wide Statements suit the assessment of the relationship between objective and subjective measures of fiscal condition? Why?
Yes. To begin with, usage of government-wide statements ensures that there is uniformity in financial reporting. Uniformity is pursued in two ways: first, reporting ought to be done on an accrual basis and second, the reports delineate between governmental activities and business-type activities. This means that how one county represents its financial performance, financial position among others is similar to how they are presented in other counties. This makes it easy for comparison purposes, hence the ease of collecting data for the research. Government-wide statements also help in bringing all financial activities in one place. This research has used five measures of fiscal condition that include financial position, financial performance, general support rate, liquidity, and solvency. Use of government-wide statements ensures that all these information can be accessed at one place without difficulties.
What might have resulted in the limited amount of association between subjective and objective measures?
There are two possible explanations to this. One of the explanations could be bias on the side of county officers in the manner in which they responded to the survey questions. There is a probability of the responses being influenced by a variety of issues rather than what the officers actually think to be the case. Attitudes that the officers have towards the current system might influence their response where they use their emotions to assess issues instead of viewing the facts. The other explanation could be the presence of measurement error while conducting the research. This is the difference between the actual value of a quantity and the value obtained by the measurement.
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