Download This Article

Eno L. Inanga, WM. Bruce Schneider



It is generally accepted that one of the key financial accounting problems of the day is how to make financial accounting reports, as tools for corporate accountability and stewardship reporting, both reliable and relevant. Practitioners, rule makers, and academics are struggling with this dilemma that is inherent in historical cost financial statements. This paper suggests that historical cost, transactions- based accounting data is nominally reliable, which is an attribute of relevance, but it can be made timelessly relevant, if data about the precise date and time the nominal amount of the transaction was measured are made available to users. Furthermore, the presumption those company-related accountants and the auditors need to prepare a set of financial statements that they need to make relevant to an unknown set of users, should be abandoned. The valuation algorithm, the processes for making historical cost data relevant to situation-specific decision-making, are the prerogative and, most importantly, the responsibility of the users based on their perceptions of the dynamic, quantum world and their unique needs. The paper develops the logical reasons for the positions taken. It also argues that US-GAAP and the resulting financial statements may lead users of accounting information to allege that the financial statements are fraudulent. It is well-recognized by accountants and users that time, the details of which are currently under-reported, is a material fact related to the significance and usefulness of accounting information. Thus, the omission of facts about when the measurements were made, known to be important to understanding the reported information, may be the basis for the allegation of fraud.

Keywords: Accounting, Cost, Relevance, Reliability, Fraudulent Financial Statements, Time

How to cite this paper: Inanga, E. L., & Schneider, W. M. B. (2004). Cost with time can yield reliable and relevant financial accounting information. Corporate Ownership & Control, 2(1), 60-72.