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Wednesday, 22 July 2009

The rejection of the stable measuring unit assumption

Accountants and accounting authorities do not appreciate that they can stop accountants destroying real value on a massive scale in the real economy by simply rejecting the stable measuring unit assumption when they choose the IFRS compliant Constant Item Purchasing Power Accounting model and measure financial capital maintenance in units of constant purchasing power at all levels of inflation and deflation.

IFRS do, however, already – 20 years ago - allow the rejection of the stable measuring unit assumption as an alternative to HCA at all levels of inflation and deflation. The IASB´s Framework, Par. 104 (a) states that financial capital maintenance can be calculated in either constant purchasing power units or in nominal monetary units. Par. 104 (a) was authorized by the IASB predecessor body, the International Accounting Standards Committee Board in April, 1989 and adopted by the IASB in 2001.

The stable measuring unit assumption is also rejected in IAS 29 Financial Reporting in Hyperinflationary Economies.
The Standards thus already reject the stable measuring unit assumption under two circumstances:

1.) In IAS 29 during hyperinflationary conditions with the IASB´s Constant Purchasing Power inflation accounting model which is a complete price-level inflation accounting model under which all non-monetary items, variable and constant items, are inflation-adjusted by means of the CPI during hyperinflation, and

2.) In the Framework, Par. 104 (a) in the implementation of the Constant Item Purchasing Power basic accounting model with the measurement of financial capital maintenance in units of constant purchasing power as an alternative to the real value destroying traditional HCA model when the stable measuring unit assumption is maintained for an unlimited period of time during indefinite inflation.
 IFRS already allow the rejection of the stable measuring unit assumption under two circumstances: (1) as an alternative to the real value destroying traditional basic HCA model under low inflation and (2) as a specific requirement by the IASB during hyperinflation – both items approved 20 years ago.

The IASB approved Framework, Par. 104 (a) which is applicable in this case since there is no specific IFRS relating to the valuation of Issued Share capital, Retained Earnings and other items in Shareholders´ Equity during non-hyperinflationary periods, allows accountants to reject the stable measuring unit assumption during all levels of inflation and deflation when they choose to measure financial capital maintenance in units of constant purchasing power as an alternative to measurement in nominal monetary units as applied in the traditional HCA model.

It is not generally appreciated by accountants that they are unknowingly responsible for the destruction of the real value of constant real value non-monetary items never or not fully updated or inflation-adjusted or maintained over time when they implement the real value destroying traditional HCA model: more specifically, the very destructive stable measuring unit assumption during periods of inflation when they maintain it for an unlimited period of time during indefinite inflation. This lack of appreciation also applies to economists, business people and the public in general.

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