Cover of Wealth, Income, and Intangibles

Wealth, Income, and Intangibles

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University of Toronto Press, Scholarly Publishing Division


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This book began as a study of the nature and accounting treatment of intangible assets. It was soon apparent, however, that the problems raised by intangibles were fundamental to the entire structure of accounting theory. As a result, the scope of the work broadened to the point where it became an attempt to create a whole new framework of accounting theory which would be logical and internally consistent in the light of these problems. The starting point is a statement of purpose for accounting, since without a clearly defined objective nothing sensible can be said about method. The purpose advanced is the measurement of wealth and income. It is submitted that the value of accounting for virtually all of its uses rests ultimately on the adequacy of that measurement. It is necessary next to define wealth and income. This is done in such a way as to accord with generally understood meanings and with economic concepts. The definitions adopted do not fit in completely with current accounting practices, however, and the reasons for the differences are explored. In recent years it has become increasingly apparent that accounting is not providing the information it should. Much time, effort and money have been devoted to the attempt to improve accounting theory as a basis for improved accounting practice, but with only indifferent success. This book offers answers to the basic conceptual difficulties and a basis for the application of those answers to practice. It should appeal to the many accountants in Canada, the United States and elsewhere who are concerned about the present state of accounting theory and practice, and to those economists whose field of interest is related to the operation of the firm, particularly those in schools of commerce and business administration.

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