The Analysis of Income Statement and Final Balance Sheet in Local Governments: A Case Study for Financial Sustainability

  •  Giovanna Lucianelli    
  •  Amalia Lucia Fazzari    
  •  Matteo Cavalieri    


The global financial crisis represents one of the main reasons for the situation suffered by many European countries both at national and local level.

Furthermore, the increased attention given to financial budgeting in the last years highlights the importance for public administrations to learn more about how to measure financial sustainability, how to implement strategies to avoid distress, and how to represent the expected results of these strategies.

We argue that a local government shows good financial conditions when it can provide public services without damaging its ability to face future obligations (GASB, 1987). On the contrary, local governments in poor financial health are unable to deal with their financial obligations and provide public services. Often, in this case, the quality or quantity of these services turns out to be damaged (Raphael, Renwick, Brown, & Rootman, 2010).

It is essential to say that the level of financial condition cannot be easily represented since it cannot be readily measured by a single performance indicator, but rather it is determined by different measures directly observable.

We propose an explanatory case study to analyze the first results obtained through a plan devised to restore a good financial condition through a process of spending review in the municipality of Rome, one of the most important local governments. More specifically, we have analyzed the income statements and the final balance sheets for the years 2013-2017.

We further argue that our case study represents an inspiring strategy for financial sustainability thanks to an ad hoc legislation especially devised to overcome the crisis. Our case study also reveals all critical issues emerged during the analysis of the final data collected in the official documents drafted with accrual accounting across the five years.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.