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

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  • Yuri Biondi

    (PREG-CRG - Pole de recherche en économie et gestion - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - X - École polytechnique)

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.

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  • Yuri Biondi, 2011. "The Pure Logic of Accounting: A Critique of the Fair Value Revolution," Post-Print hal-00561894, HAL.
  • Handle: RePEc:hal:journl:hal-00561894
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
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    Blog mentions

    As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. The Pure Logic of Accounting
      by bbatiz in NEP-HIS blog on 2012-05-01 18:48:23
    2. The Pure Logic of Accounting
      by bbatiz in NEP-HIS blog on 2012-05-01 18:48:23

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    Cited by:

    1. Müller, Julian, 2014. "An accounting revolution? The financialisation of standard setting," CRITICAL PERSPECTIVES ON ACCOUNTING, Elsevier, vol. 25(7), pages 539-557.
    2. 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.
    3. Williams Paul F., 2019. "Really Rethinking Financial Reporting: A Discussion of Rethinking Financial Reporting: Standards, Norms and Institutions by Shyam Sunder," Accounting, Economics, and Law: A Convivium, De Gruyter, vol. 9(2), pages 1-8, July.
    4. Yuri Biondi & Antoine Rebérioux, 2012. "The governance of intangibles: Rethinking financial reporting and the board of directors," Accounting Forum, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 36(4), pages 279-293, December.
    5. 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.
    6. 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.
    7. 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.
    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. 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.
    10. Markus Widmann & Florian Follert & Matthias Wolz, 2021. "On the Political Decision of Audit Market Regulation: Empirical Evidence of Audit Firm Tenure and Maximum Durations within the European Union," Economies, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 9(2), pages 1-24, May.
    11. 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.
    12. 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.
    13. 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.
    14. Tang Vicki Wei, 2019. "The Role of Accounting and the Debate between Historical Cost and Fair Value," Accounting, Economics, and Law: A Convivium, De Gruyter, vol. 9(1), pages 1-3, March.
    15. Charron Jacques-Olivier, 2017. "Inefficient Debate. The EMH, the “Remarkable Error” and a Question of Point of View," Accounting, Economics, and Law: A Convivium, De Gruyter, vol. 7(3), pages 1-24, December.
    16. Frederico Botafogo, 2019. "The Syntax of the Accounting Language: A First Step," Papers 1906.10865, arXiv.org.
    17. Gallhofer, Sonja & Haslam, Jim, 2019. "Some reflections on the construct of emancipatory accounting: Shifting meaning and the possibilities of a new pragmatism," CRITICAL PERSPECTIVES ON ACCOUNTING, Elsevier, vol. 63(C).
    18. Palea, Vera, 2018. "Financial reporting for sustainable development: Critical insights into IFRS implementation in the European Union," Accounting forum, Elsevier, vol. 42(3), pages 248-260.
    19. Kuźniacki Błażej, 2017. "Tax Avoidance through Controlled Foreign Companies under European Union Law with Specific Reference to Poland," Accounting, Economics, and Law: A Convivium, De Gruyter, vol. 7(1), pages 1-47, April.
    20. Canziani Arnaldo, 2017. "On the Accounting Regulation for the European Private Sector," Accounting, Economics, and Law: A Convivium, De Gruyter, vol. 7(2), pages 79-91, July.
    21. 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.
    22. Yuri Biondi & Pierpaolo Giannoccolo, 2015. "Share price formation, market exuberance and financial stability under alternative accounting regimes," Journal of Economic Interaction and Coordination, Springer;Society for Economic Science with Heterogeneous Interacting Agents, vol. 10(2), pages 333-362, October.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    accounting theory; international financial reporting standards (IFRS); intangibles; conceptual framework; accounting principles and rules; accounting standards; marked-to-market; fair value; marked-to-models; accounting regulation;
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