They then proceed to detail their selected sample (76 NYSE firms that reported at least three annual losses in period's 1980-1985 and that reduced cash dividends. They then implemented various conditions to test their hypothesis that it is the troubled firm's aim to retain preservation of their company, rather than to make a bonus, that causes them to select a certain accountancy plan.
In section 2, the authors describe their methods used in selecting a sampled population and their bias controls. There is a great deal of numerical data, and the material is dense particularly when they elaborate on the earnings and cash flow performance of the various firms. Each unit is broken up into subunits. Scholarly tables condensed with data that for instance report accrual levels and changes for the 76 firms support their written text and the Tables are alluded to in the text. Statistical analysis of these 4 Tables is consciously and thoroughly described before observations are summarized, elaborated on and discussed.
In section 6, the authors propose possible limitations of their research and alternate ways that the outcome of their study could be explained before concluding with a summation of their study.
I found the whole tedious to read and difficult to understand but that was due to my limited knowledge of the subject and the density of the figures. The layout of the article (including its figures and description of data) seems knowledge and professional as well as scholarly and clear.
7. Trade article analysis
This is a very interesting paper, published in Abacus magazine, on how culture has influenced the accounting profession. Gray (1988) observes that accounting evidences different patterns in disparate countries. Although theorists have connected environmental features to shaping of a discipline, Gray considers that cultural influences may more likely explain the different accountancy features evidenced nationwide. He proposes 4 hypotheses on the association between certain cultural characteristics and the development of accountancy, as well as how cultural characteristics have shaped the regulations of the accounting profession and the attitudes towards financial management and disclosure of a business' income. Finally, Gray proposes operational zed hypotheses and empirical tests to assess and investigate his theories.
I find his paper fascinating, particularly since, whilst historical and environmental forces have often been considered in the development of accounting, cultural influences have been overlooked, and yet culture impacts and overwhelms all.
Gray (1988) orderly divides his paper into four sections, providing a clear introduction about the objective of his paper and his procedure in addressing that objective.
His first section reviews previous research on the alleged influence of environmental factors on accountancy. He shows that these are insufficient. His second section demonstrates how cultural perspectives can be gainfully employed to explaining differential global characteristics of accountancy. His third section uses Hofstede's cross-cultural research to reinforce his argument whilst his fourth section proposes classification and some empirical methods for analysis. Gray himself is a professor of accounting in the University of Glasgow and his references as well as the fact that he is published in a prestigious paper (Abacus) and his numerous, carefully evaluated scholarly citations lends credibility to his thesis.
He also does not simply trash the environmental argument but sympathetically wades through the numerous sources that frame it carefully and objectively investigating their empirical background. Only then does he summarily conclude with his assessment that the influence of culture on accounting may provide a better explanation about the phenomena of global differentiation in accountancy habits.
Clear figures are interspersed with the figures additionally explained in the text. The text itself is clearly divided into units and subunits and its writing is readable and informative. Following the whole, Gray (1988) provides a summary and conclusion where he summarizes the domain of this work and presents ideas for future research. He concludes by noting that "the ideas advanced are exploratory and subject to empirical testing and verification." (p.14). His humility lends extra credibility to the writing.
I learned a lot form this assignment. The overview of accounting gave me some idea of the roots and spread of this discipline since its beginning as well as a cursory and simple explanation of its main terms. The summary hides the density and complexity of the discipline that has become so huge that it has had to divide into three different systems. Learning about the history made me understand the discipline better.
I observed, too, that the summary deals only with the history of accountancy as seen from a Western perspective (particularly in its late stages) morphing into an American-based analysis. This is due to the fact that its complexity compels us to focus on minutiae. Gray (1988) indeed points out how cultural differences have caused accountancy to assume different facades in various countries. Historical and environmental forces are not the only variables that shape the discipline; cultural forces seem to do so too. The difference between the informality of the trade article and the formality of the scholarly article is indicated by the fact that the scholarly article employs statistics and data to develop and evaluate a study. The former is easier to read and more applicable to a lay audience; the latter can best be understood by practitioners of the field. Finally, the interview provided me with a first-hand and immediate analysis of the impact of the field. I understood how it can be enjoyable and fun and how if seen as investigation it may help me do the job better. I also saw that education is a plus for excellent accounting, but not necessary. The main thing is the drive, an innate flair for the subject, and the willingness to keep on improving and to pick up whatever I can on the subject in order to do so. Hard work will get me there. Accounting is also called "the language of business." This essay helps us see why. It is an entire different dialect that contains its own history, regulations, practices, and knowledge.
Discovering the synopsis of accounting was the least difficult. My problems came in selecting the trade article. I discovered, through trial and error, that my best approach was to dig up the titles of trade publications. Finding the article was then less challenging. I simply chose one that appealed to me.
The scholarly article, on the other hand, was far more gruesome since it took me a while to conclusively decide. The figures and density of the perused articles intimidated me. I lacked complete comprehension of the one I finally chose, but I could decipher its gist.
I found the whole assignment informative and I think that it provides a succinct and reasonable description of Accountancy.
DeAngelo, H. DeAngelo, L. & Skinner, DJ (1992) Accountign choice in troubled companies. Jour. Of Account. & Econ. 17, 113-143
Elliot, Barry & Elliot, Jamie: Financial accounting and reporting, Prentice Hall, London 2004