"Accounting As A Discipline Has No Theory". Critically Evaluate This Statement And Provide Examples To Illustrate Your Argument.

1993 words - 8 pages

Accounting is concerned with the collection, analysis and communication of economic information, which can be used to make decisions and plans about business by various users. The Committee On Terminology of the American Institute of Certified Pubic Accountants defined accounting as follows: "Accounting is the art of recording, classifying, and summarizing in a significant manner and in terms of money, transactions and events which are, in past at least, of a financial character and interpreting the results thereof". (Ahmeo Riahi-Belkaou, page 32) Accounting is said to be a language used to communicate information to people. Accounting is also an intellectual discipline and a profession. Moreover, accounting is socially constructed and practiced by people for people, which influence workings and relationships in society.The history of accounting stretches back to when the first ancient accounting system began, which was originally based on measurement and recording activities, and then the significant emergence of double-entry bookkeeping around the 15th century, as a basis for further accounting development that consequently resulted in modern Ango-American accounting in the 20th century. Whereas accounting was mainly an "internal matter" where the proprietors were close to the business, the growth of companies led to the requirement of stewardship accounting. As a result of further industrial development, changing social environment and establishment of professional accounting bodies, the accounting theory should systematically develop in accordance with importance of accounting in modern society. In recent years, more and more theorists start to assess the nature of accounting theory as well as argue whether there is an accounting theory or not.In this essay, I am going to exam the definition of accounting theory and provide evidence to ascertain the existence of a complete accounting theory.A theory is defined as "a set of interrelated constructs (concepts), definitions and propositions that present a systematic view of phenomena by specifying relations among variables with the purpose of explaining and predicting the phenomena."(Kerlinger, 1964, page 11) According to this definition, the statement "accounting as a discipline has no theory" implies that as a subject, accounting has no a coherent set of concepts and definitions to explain and predict the phenomena. Obviously, the subject of accounting broadly covers all the phenomena in the scope of accounting. In this sense, the accounting theory refers to a general complete accounting theory which is a coherent set of principles and concepts to explain and predict all the phenomena.Before examine the nature of accounting theory, I need to know where the theory come from. "A fundamental requirement of a theory structure is that it must come to terms with the conditions of knowledge". (Mathews & Perera, 1996,page 52) Simply, the theory is from knowledge, the big question," how do we know...

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