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La comptabilité en " juste valeur " permet-elle une meilleure représentation de l'entreprise ?

  • Jean-François Casta


    (DRM - Dauphine Recherches en Management - CNRS - Université Paris IX - Paris Dauphine)

For a number of decades now, at the instigation of Anglo-Saxon standard setters, the basis of the traditional accounting model, or the financial conventions which determine how a company's wealth and income is measured, have been increasingly called into question. This wide-reaching movement, initiated in the United States by the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB), and internationally by the International Accounting Standards Committee (IASC), aims to replace historical cost - the current basis for the measurement of a company's income statement and valuation of its assets and liabilities - with the notion of fair value. The concept of fair value is broader and can be applied more generally than that of market value indeed, where there is no quoted market price available on an active market, the valuation is determined by the exchange value agreed by two independent parties, by the market price of an item with similar characteristics or by the net present value estimate of future cash flows. The most significant European use of it has been the requirement (IAS 39) to use fair value in the measurement of financial instruments, but the IASB also prescribes it for investment properties (IAS 40) and agriculture (IAS 41). Fair value can potentially be used for a large number of non-financial assets and liabilities and can therefore serve as the basis for a new corporate accounting model which aims to provide a more accurate reflection of the uncertainties affecting future cash flow estimates and investment opportunities in financial reports.This article looks at the usefulness of measuring a company's wealth and net income using the fair value method. In this regard, the key question - is fair value relevant? - can be analysed as follows: do fair value "accounting numbers" provide a better estimate of the value of a company and the risk relating to its activity? How informative are they for users? How useful is fair value information for decision-making? In order to answer these questions, we shall first examine the basis and limitations of the traditional accounting model. We will then analyse the determining factors in the emergence of the fair value method, with particular regard to the role attributed to financial statements and the needs of their users. Lastly, we will present a summary of the empirical studies carried out to assess the usefulness of fair value accounting information.

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Paper provided by HAL in its series Post-Print with number halshs-00170460.

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Date of creation: 2003
Date of revision:
Publication status: Published in Revue d'économie financière, AEF, 2003, 2 (71), pp.17-31
Handle: RePEc:hal:journl:halshs-00170460
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  1. Jean-François Casta, 2009. "Incertitude et comptabilité," Post-Print halshs-00679551, HAL.
  2. Eccher, Elizabeth A. & Ramesh, K. & Thiagarajan, S. Ramu, 1996. "Fair value disclosures by bank holding companies," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(1-3), pages 79-117, October.
  3. Cornett, Marcia Millon & Rezaee, Zabihollah & Tehranian, Hassan, 1996. "An investigation of capital market reactions to pronouncements on fair value accounting," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(1-3), pages 119-154, October.
  4. Barth, Mary E. & Landsman, Wayne R. & Wahlen, James M., 1995. "Fair value accounting: Effects on banks' earnings volatility, regulatory capital, and value of contractual cash flows," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 19(3-4), pages 577-605, June.
  5. Jean-François Casta & Bernard Colasse, 2001. "Juste valeur," Post-Print halshs-00669417, HAL.
  6. Colasse, Bernard & Casta, Jean-François, 2001. "Juste valeur : Enjeux techniques et politiques," Economics Papers from University Paris Dauphine 123456789/1858, Paris Dauphine University.
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