This paper, focus on the utilization of new public management models and the perceived benefit within a central government settings. The Danish central government is like many other governments focused on making the public sector more effective and productive. Accounting departments in central government institutions are seen as key players in achieving these objectives by measuring progress, showing how resources are being used, monitoring if the institutions is achieving its strategic objectives, planning future resource use and checking if current resource use is according to plans. The question remains how and if accounting departments in central government can deal with these challenges. This exploratory study proposes and tests a model depicting different areas, elements and characteristics within a government accounting departments and their association with a perceived performance management model. The findings are built on a questionnaire study of 45 high level accounting officers in central governmental institutions. Our statistical model consists of five explored constructs: improvements; initiatives and reforms, incentives and contracts, the use of management accounting practices, and cost allocations and their relations to performance management. Findings based on structural equation modelling and partial least squares regression (PLS) indicates a positive effect on the latent depending variable, called performance management results. The models/theories explain a significant amount of the variance in these constructs and the perceived effect on performance management results. The study then discusses potential applications of its findings to individual government areas, management accounting practice, and public sector as a whole. The results also point towards that different departments are often busy implementing political reforms and have little time focusing on core accounting tasks such as resource management and strategic support. There seems to be little awareness of the relationship between resources allocated to a service area and what individual services actually cost. Budgeting and planning follows a similar pattern year after year and seems to deliver an allocation structure as well as being a coordination tool. Little effort is allocated to developing budgeting procedures to better support strategic objectives. Finally, it provides suggestions for future research.
New Public Management; Government; performance; Partial least squares; accounting practices