An Historical Perspective Of The Accounting Environment: A General Outline Of A Western European And North American Linkage
It is recognized that the usefulness of accounting infor mation is contingent upon its (1) neutrality, (2) relevancy, and (3) reliability. Given that all socio-economic systems are comprised of participants and institutions, it would seem that the attainment of those three qualities is conditioned by a proper determination of the institutional arrangement. The relationship of the members of society to existing institutions emerges as the pivotal consideration. Institutions are the creations of society, therefore, it seems fair to state that they reflect the evolutionary process. The institutional arrangement has evolved over time, and an understanding of the evolution is fundamental to achieving neutrality, relevancy, and reliability of accounting information. The roles of the many and varied institutions as intended upon their creation by society can provide the basis for establishing disclosure requirements. Such requirements entail a proper balancing of many factors as constrained by costs versus benefits in the information disseminating process. In this regard, historical research can provide a tremendous insight into institutions and institutional roles as they have evolved. Such insight can facili tate the complex balancing problem of financial reporting.
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