JEL classification: H10, H11, H83;
Keywords: public finance, openness, transparency, accountability;
Abstract: An essential condition for asserting responsibility in public finances is that they are open and transparent. The Public Finance Act mentions ways of applying the principles of openness, and also stipulates the entities obliged to present data and information on public finances. There is, however, no legislation connected directly with transparency. So do the general requirements of classification and of accountancy and reporting principles constitute sufficient premises for accountability and asserting responsibility? An analysis of the reports and documents concerning the Polish public finance sector indicates that the processes of collecting and spending public funds are insufficiently transparent. The information system enables formal verification of discipline of public finances; however, it does not provide a sufficient basis to assess the effectiveness and efficiency, which are of key importance in terms of accountability. The aim of the article is to analyse the requirements and standards in the field of openness and transparency insofar as these concern the responsibility and accountability of public authorities, along with elements of how these are assessed in the Polish public finance system. A normative descriptive method was applied which took into consideration elements of finance theory, as well as an analysis of practical experience in the field of how public sector bodies function in Poland.