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The Pure Logic of Accounting: A Critique of the Fair Value Revolution

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  • Biondi Yuri

    (CNRS, France)

Abstract

When international accounting standards were renamed to become international financial reporting standards, this seemed to imply that accounting no longer needed to exist, but rather had to be reconsidered as a part of financial communication and advertising. Does traditional accountability no longer matter? Betrayed investors and globalized stakeholders would dissent. A difference of nature continues to exist between fair values disclosed by managers and certified by auditors, and the actual performance generated by the enterprise entity through time, space, and interaction. In a world shaped by complex organizations facing unfolding changes, hazard and limited knowledge, the quest for fundamental principles of accounting is not academic. Accounting principles constitute a primary way that the creation and allocation of business incomes is governed; that is, fairly managed and regulated in the public interest, having respect to other people interests. This article adopts a dualistic posture that opposes the accounting conceptual frameworks based on fair value (market basis) and historical cost and revenue (process basis). The fundamental premises about the underlying economics of the enterprise entity are discussed, including the representation of the business and the concepts of asset and liability. References are made to the case of accounting for intangibles, and to the distinction between equities and liabilities. The cost and revenue accounting perspective is then defended in terms of accountability, but also from the informational viewpoint: historical accounting information plays a special role as a lighthouse in the dynamic and strategic setting of the Share Exchange. In particular, two refinements of the historical cost (and revenue) accounting model are suggested. The first one regards the treatment of earned revenues from continuing operations, and the second, the recognition of shareholders equity interest computed on the actual funds provided in the past, coupled with the distinction between shareholders equity and entity equity.

Suggested Citation

  • Biondi Yuri, 2011. "The Pure Logic of Accounting: A Critique of the Fair Value Revolution," Accounting, Economics, and Law: A Convivium, De Gruyter, vol. 1(1), pages 1-49, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:bpj:aelcon:v:1:y:2011:i:1:n:7
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Yuri Biondi & Arnaldo Canziani & Thierry Kirat, 2007. "The Firm as an Entity: Implications for Economics, Accounting, and the Law," Post-Print halshs-00203355, HAL.
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    8. Yuri Biondi, 2005. "The firm as an Entity: Management, Organization, Accounting," Post-Print halshs-00203036, HAL.
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    10. repec:bla:joares:v:37:y:1999:i:2:p:353-385 is not listed on IDEAS
    11. Basu, Sudipta, 1997. "The conservatism principle and the asymmetric timeliness of earnings," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 24(1), pages 3-37, December.
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    Cited by:

    1. Tsunogaya Noriyuki & Okada Hiromasa & Patel Chris, 2011. "The Case for Economic and Accounting Dualism: Towards Reconciling the Japanese Accounting System with the Global Trend of Fair Value Accounting," Accounting, Economics, and Law: A Convivium, De Gruyter, vol. 1(2), pages 1-56, October.
    2. Haslam Colin & Tsitsianis Nick & Hoinaru Razvan & Andersson Tord & Katechos George, 2016. "Stress Testing International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS): Accounting for Stability and the Public Good in a Financialized World," Accounting, Economics, and Law: A Convivium, De Gruyter, vol. 6(2), pages 93-118, July.
    3. Palea, Vera & Biancone, Paolo Pietro, 2017. "Which Accounting Rules for Economic and Social Sustainable Development? Engaging Critically with IFRS Adoption in the EU," Department of Economics and Statistics Cognetti de Martiis. Working Papers 201733, University of Turin.
    4. Biondi Yuri, 2013. "Hyman Minsky’s Financial Instability Hypothesis and the Accounting Structure of Economy," Accounting, Economics, and Law: A Convivium, De Gruyter, vol. 3(3), pages 141-166, June.
    5. Larry Bensimhon & Yuri Biondi, 2013. "Financial Bubbles, Common Knowledge and Alternative Accounting Regimes: An Experimental Analysis of Artificial Spot Security Markets," The Japanese Accounting Review, Research Institute for Economics & Business Administration, Kobe University, vol. 3, pages 21-59, December.
    6. Weinstein Olivier, 2013. "The Shareholder Model of the Corporation, Between Mythology and Reality," Accounting, Economics, and Law: A Convivium, De Gruyter, vol. 3(1), pages 43-60, January.
    7. Fülbier, Rolf Uwe & Klein, Malte, 2013. "Financial accounting and reporting in Germany: A case study on German accounting tradition and experiences with the IFRS adoption," Bayreuth Working Papers on Finance, Accounting and Taxation (FAcT-Papers) 2013-01, University of Bayreuth, Chair of Finance and Banking.
    8. Nölke Andreas, 2013. "A Political Economy Explanation for Country Variation in IFRS Adoption – A Comment on ‘The International Politics of IFRS Harmonization’ by K. Ramanna," Accounting, Economics, and Law: A Convivium, De Gruyter, vol. 3(2), pages 1-8, January.
    9. Yuri Biondi & Simone Righi, 2016. "What does the financial market pricing do? A simulation analysis with a view to systemic volatility, exuberance and vagary," Journal of Economic Interaction and Coordination, Springer;Society for Economic Science with Heterogeneous Interacting Agents, vol. 11(2), pages 175-203, October.
    10. repec:bpj:aelcon:v:7:y:2017:i:3:p:24:n:1 is not listed on IDEAS
    11. repec:bpj:aelcon:v:7:y:2017:i:1:p:47:n:1 is not listed on IDEAS
    12. Fantacci Luca, 2013. "Why Banks Do What They Do. How the Monetary System Affects Banking Activity," Accounting, Economics, and Law: A Convivium, De Gruyter, vol. 3(3), pages 333-356, November.
    13. repec:bpj:aelcon:v:7:y:2017:i:2:p:79-91:n:11 is not listed on IDEAS

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