Pages

Thursday, 18 February 2010

The accusation that I suggest inflation-accounting in SA is not true.

The IASB approved financial capital maintenance in nominal monetary units fallacy led SA accountants to choose to implement the traditional Historical Cost Accounting model during non-hyperinflationary periods where under they select to maintain the stable measuring unit assumption for an unlimited period of time during indefinite inflation. They value both variable items stated at Historical Cost in terms of IFRS or SA GAAP, as well as constant items also stated at Historical Cost in terms of the Historical Cost Accounting model, in nominal monetary units during non-hyperinflationary periods. Both HC variable and HC constant real value non-monetary items are thus considered by SA accountants to be simply HC non-monetary items.

There is a fixation in accounting that constant purchasing power inflation-adjustment simply means adjusting company financial statements mainly to make current year statements more comparable with previous year statements. Inflation-adjustment is not automatically thought of as affecting the fundamental values of the underlying resources although that is what is done with world wide annual inflation-adjustment of salaries, wages, rentals, etc. The two processes are seen as different processes.


The high inflation 1970´s

During the period of high inflation in the 1970´s accountants and accounting authorities tried various inflation accounting models in an attempt to reflect in company financial reports the effect of high inflation on monetary and – mistakenly - non-monetary items too. Inflation has no effect on the real value of non-monetary items.

They did not realize that it was simply their choice of the stable measuring unit assumption that was destroying the real value of constant real value non-monetary items never maintained although the FASB did mention the stable measuring unit assumption in FAS 89. The IASB never mentioned it in either IAS 6 or IAS 15. “The erosion of business profits and invested capital caused by inflation” was clearly stated in FAS 33 and “the erosive impact of inflation on profits and capital” was stated in both FAS 33 and FAS 89. The FASB did, however, realize that “Relative to most changes in financial reporting, the changes required by Statement 33 were monumental.” Their implementation was eventually made voluntary.

During that period inflation accounting described a range of accounting models designed to reflect the effect of changing prices on financial reporting. Changing prices included changes in specific prices as well as changes in the general price level which resulted in the destruction of the purchasing power of money, i.e. inflation. It was and still is generally accepted that inflation affects the real value of non-monetary items. That is not true. Inflation has no effect on the real value of non-monetary items.

Inflation is a uniquely monetary phenomenon. It is not inflation, but, SA accountants´ selection of the HCA model and implementing the very destructive stable measuring unit assumption and financial capital maintenance in nominal monetary units (the first based on a fallacy and the second being a very popular accounting fallacy) which unknowingly destroy the real value of constant real value non-monetary items never maintained during low inflationary periods in the SA real economy.

Copyright © 2010 Nicolaas J Smith