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Friday, 8 October 2010

Greenspan and Historical Cost Accounting

U.S. companies may be holding back on investment because of the rising federal deficit, which causes uncertainty about future tax policies, Greenspan said in an opinion article for the Financial Times this week. Weak investment by businesses in capital equipment and fixed assets has helped to crimp the U.S. economic recovery, he said.

Historical Cost accountants unknowingly, unintentionally and unnecessarily destroy the real value of that portion of shareholders´ equity (which is a constant real value non-monetary item) never maintained constant with sufficient revaluable fixed assets (revalued or not) at a rate equal to the annual rate of inflation each and every year with their very destructive stable measuring unit assumption: they simply assume there is no such thing as inflation – only for this purpose and only during low inflation.

Shareholders´ equity forms an important part of the financial resources available for fixed investment in a modern economy. Historical Cost accountants unknowingly destroy that permanent capital base with traditional Historical Cost Accounting as described above. This destruction amounts to about USD 280 billion per annum in the case of the US economy and about R134 billion in the SA economy at current levels of inflation.

Accountants would stop this annual unknowing destruction and instead boost the US economy by about USD 280 billion and the SA economy by about R134 billion per annum for an indefinite period of time when inflation in these two economies remains at current levels when they freely change over to financial capital maintenance in units of constant purchasing power (Constant ITEM Purchasing Power Accounting) as authorized in International Financial Reporting Standards in the Framework, Par 104 (a) in 1989 which states:

“Financial capital maintenance can be measured in either nominal monetary units or units of constant purchasing power.”

US accountants unknowingly destroy US companies´ shareholders´ equity´s real value resulting in these companies not having sufficient financial resources for capital equipment and fixed asset investments as described by Alan Greenspan.

Constant ITEM Purchasing Power Accounting as authorized in IFRS twenty one years ago would stop this destruction automatically (accounting is double-entry: for every already existing credit there is an equivalent already existing debit; real values of variable real value non-monetary items are maintained at mainly market prices in terms of IFRS while the constant real non-monetary values of all already existing constant items would be maintained constant forever by measurement in units of constant purchasing power plus the net monetary gain or loss would be accounted) when accountants maintain the existing constant real value of existing constant real value non-monetary items, e.g. already existing shareholders´s equity, forever - ceteris paribus - in all entities that at least break even whether these entities own any revaluable fixed assets or not when accountants freely reject their very destructive stable measuring unit assumption which is based on the fallacy that money always was, always is and always will be perfectly stable.

CIPPA is not my original idea: the IASB authorized it 21 years ago in IFRS in the Framework, Par 104 (a) as an alternative to HCA during low inflation and deflation.

Copyright © 2010 Nicolaas J Smith