Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Four Approaches to Accounting Development | MYACCOUNTINGINFO.NET

International accounting classifications fall into two categories: judgmental and empirical. Judgmental classifications rely on knowledge, intuition, and experience. Empirically derived classifications apply statistical methods to databases of accounting principles and practices around the world.

Approaches to Accounting Development
Four Approaches to Accounting Development

The pioneering classification is the one proposed by Mueller in the mid-1960s. He identified four approaches to accounting development in Western nations with market-oriented economic systems. (1) Under the macroeconomic approach, accounting practices are derived from and designed to enhance national macroeconomic goals. Firm goals normally follow rather than lead national economic policies as business firms coordinate their activities with national policies. Thus, for example, a national policy to maintain stable employment by avoiding big swings in business cycles would result in accounting practices that smooth income. As another example, a nation that wished to promote the development of certain industries could permit them to rapidly write off capital expenditures.

Accounting in Sweden developed from the macroeconomic approach. (2) Under the microeconomics approach, accounting develops from the principles of microeconomics. The focus is on individual firms whose main goal is to survive. To accomplish this goal, firms must maintain their physical capital. It is also critical that they clearly separate capital from income to evaluate and control their business activities. Accounting measurements based on replacement cost best fit this approach. Accounting developed from microeconomics in the Netherlands. (3) Under the independent discipline approach, accounting derives from business practices and develops on an ad hoc, piecemeal basis from judgment and trial-and-error. Accounting is viewed as a service function that derives its concepts and principles from the business process it serves, not from a discipline such as economics. Businesses cope with real-world complexities and ever-present uncertainties through experience, practice, and intuition. Accounting develops the same way. For example, income is simply what seems to be the most useful in practice, and disclosures respond pragmatically to user needs. Accounting developed as an independent discipline in the United Kingdom and the United States. (4) Under the uniform approach, accounting is standardized by the central government and employed as a tool for administrative control. Uniformity in measurement, disclosure, and presentation makes it easier for government planners, tax authorities, and even managers to use accounting information to control all types of businesses. In general, the uniform approach is used in


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