The Conceptual Underwear of Financial Reporting
Portsmouth Business School
Laura F. Spira
Oxford Brookes University - Business School
Accounting, Auditing and Accountability Journal, Vol. 12, No. 4, pp. 489-501, 1999
The paper examines the role of metaphor in debates about conceptual frameworks for financial reporting and accounting standard setting. It takes the form of a dialogue between a standard setter and an academic. The paper demonstrates the power of metaphor by substituting a different, unfamiliar metaphor in place of the cliche-d framework for describing a set of accounting principles. The effect of the replacement is examined in the context of UK Accounting Standards Board's (ASB's) draft Statement of Principles. Underlying the apparent engineering parsimony of the framework metaphor, a mutable and inconsistent set of principles is discovered.
The substitution of metaphors suggest that conceptual frameworks serve multiple purposes, such as marketing standards to preparers and users. The use of metaphors inevitably entails the importation of baggage into analysis, so that metaphors need to be chosen with care and baggage needs to be examined.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 25
Keywords: Accounting standards, Financial reporting, MetaphorsAccepted Paper Series
Date posted: January 5, 2004
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