Speculations About the Implications of the Pathways Vision for How We Understand Accounting
25 Pages Posted: 19 Oct 2017
Date Written: August 1, 2017
In the spirit that a picture is worth a thousand words, the Pathways Commission Vision’s “perception” of accounting is a simplistic caricature of a practice epitomized by bookkeeping and governed by a “black letter” tradition whereby hard-and-fast rules exist for distilling the vast number of data business generates into a meaningful narrative about the financial state and performance of a firm. The “Reality” Vision is a rather heroic self-perception the profession has for the role it will play in producing a prosperous society. The problematic ambiguity with the “Reality” obviously revolves around the concept of “prosperous society” and what implications different notions of prosperous have for accounting’s role in society, given accounting’s (and accountants’) limitations. We propose a vision for a prosperous society based on the 17 UN goals, specifically focusing on the two which relate to income distribution and sustainability. We consider how accounting can play a role in helping achieve this view of a prosperous society.
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