IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Should business and non-business accounting be different?


  • Yuri Biondi

    () (CERAG - Centre d'études et de recherches appliquées à la gestion - UPMF - Université Pierre Mendès France - Grenoble 2 - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, PREG - Pole de recherche en économie et gestion - Polytechnique - X - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique)


With the enactment of the General Law of Finances of 2001 (LOLF, 2001), the French Government introduced a new set of accounting standards shaped by an explicit conceptual framework. This legislation retains for public sector accounting the logic of financial reporting that had been in effect for business enterprises, but also addresses the “specificities” of accounting for public sector entities. The advent of LOLF has raised a number of questions about how to make non-business entities “accountable.” In this context, this paper analyzes the new French “accounting constitution” from a theoretical perspective that compares business enterprise and non-business accounting representations. The concept of non-business entity is used to explore further the nature and role of public sector activities within the economic system and their economic and monetary significance. Following this approach, three different views of accruals-based accounting for business enterprises are addressed: the wealth-basis (static), the cash-basis, and the flow-basis (dynamic). Whilst the wealth-basis refers to fair value and results to be at odds with the specificities of the public sector economics, a dynamic view of the accruals basis is developed and adapted to these specificities. This dynamic view is applied to a conceptual assessment of the new French accounting set. In particular, the notions of “produit” (revenue) and “actif” (asset) create an ambiguity between the static view and the dynamic view.

Suggested Citation

  • Yuri Biondi, 2009. "Should business and non-business accounting be different?," Post-Print hal-00442752, HAL.
  • Handle: RePEc:hal:journl:hal-00442752
    Note: View the original document on HAL open archive server:

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Robert Sugden, 2004. "The Opportunity Criterion: Consumer Sovereignty Without the Assumption of Coherent Preferences," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(4), pages 1014-1033, September.
    2. Yuri Biondi, 2006. "The double emergence of the Modified Internal Rate of Return: The neglected financial work of Duvillard (1755 - 1832) in a comparative perspective," The European Journal of the History of Economic Thought, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 13(3), pages 311-335.
    3. Cropper, Maureen & Laibson, David, 1998. "The implications of hyperbolic discounting for project evaluation," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1943, The World Bank.
    4. Michael Spackman, 2004. "Time discounting and of the cost of capital in government," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 25(4), pages 467-518, December.
    5. Martin L. Weitzman, 2001. "Gamma Discounting," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(1), pages 260-271, March.
    6. Sergei Guriev & Dmitriy Kvasov, 2005. "Contracting on Time," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(5), pages 1369-1385, December.
    7. Frankfurter, George M. & McGoun, Elton G., 1999. "Ideology and the theory of financial economics," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 39(2), pages 159-177, June.
    8. Voinov, Alexey & Farley, Joshua, 2007. "Reconciling sustainability, systems theory and discounting," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 63(1), pages 104-113, June.
    9. Dailami, Mansoor*Lipkovich, Ilya*Van Dyck, John, 1999. "INFRISK : a computer simulation approach to risk management in infrastructure project finance transactions," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2083, The World Bank.
    10. George Baker & Robert Gibbons & Kevin J. Murphy, 2002. "Relational Contracts and the Theory of the Firm," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 117(1), pages 39-84.
    11. Kahneman, Daniel & Tversky, Amos, 1979. "Prospect Theory: An Analysis of Decision under Risk," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 47(2), pages 263-291, March.
    12. Samuelson, Paul A, 1976. "Economics of Forestry in an Evolving Society," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 14(4), pages 466-492, December.
    13. George Baker & Robert Gibbons & Kevin J. Murphy, 2001. "Bringing the Market inside the Firm?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(2), pages 212-218, May.
    14. Spackman, Michael, 2002. "Public-private partnerships: lessons from the British approach," Economic Systems, Elsevier, vol. 26(3), pages 283-301, September.
    15. Shane Frederick & George Loewenstein & Ted O'Donoghue, 2002. "Time Discounting and Time Preference: A Critical Review," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 40(2), pages 351-401, June.
    16. Ezra Solomon, 1956. "The Arithmetic of Capital-Budgeting Decisions," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 29, pages 124-124.
    17. Arrow, Kenneth J & Lind, Robert C, 1970. "Uncertainty and the Evaluation of Public Investment Decisions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 60(3), pages 364-378, June.
    18. David Laibson, 1997. "Golden Eggs and Hyperbolic Discounting," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 112(2), pages 443-478.
    19. Fama, Eugene F, 1996. "Discounting under Uncertainty," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 69(4), pages 415-428, October.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:hal:journl:hal-00442752. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (CCSD). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.