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Assessment of the Financial Performance Transparency of Public Benefit Organisations

Abstract

Research purpose. The aim of the research is to assess the transparency of financial performance of public benefit organisations (PBOs).

Methodology. To achieve the aim and to accomplish the tasks set, general-scientific methods were used: the monographic method, the method of document analysis and the graphical method. A statistical analysis method – descriptive statistics – and a sociological research method – surveying – were used as well.

Findings. Since 1 October 2014 when the Public Benefit Organisation Law came into force in Latvia, the number of PBOs has been increasing every year. On 1 January 2018, the number of organisations with valid PBO status had reached 2,775. To get an insight into the opinions of Latvian PBOs on the disclosure of financial information, a questionnaire was developed. The survey was attended by 201 respondents. The questionnaires revealed that 64.68 percent of the respondent organisations had a website or a web page on a social network, although only 21.89 percent of these respondents' websites contained some sort of financial information. In parallel with the PBO survey, a society survey was conducted to get an overview of the public opinions about the need to make PBO financial information freely available. The survey was attended by 116 respondents. The results indicated that although the PBO attitude to the disclosure of financial information was considered to be reserved, the public saw the need for such information. In view of the insufficient availability of financial information in the country and the low activity of PBOs themselves in voluntarily disclosing their financial information on their websites, it is necessary to carry out activities that supplement free-access information resources and/or motivate the organisations themselves to provide free access to such information.

Practical implications. Based on the experience of other European countries, the Ministry of Finance has to consider amending the PBO Law to oblige PBOs to publish their annual financial and performance reports on their websites or in an equivalent way, thereby contributing to the transparency and accountability of the PBOs towards the society.

Open access