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Unpublished Paper
Some Conceptual Tensions in Financial Reporting
  • Yuri Biondi, ecole polytechniqie
  • Jonathan Glover, Carnegie Mellon University
  • Karim Jamal, University of Alberta
  • James Ohlson, New York University
  • Stephen Penman, Columbia University
  • Shyam Sunder
  • Eiko Tsujiyama, Waseda University
We examine four key conceptual tensions that are at the heart of many financial reporting dilemmas: stocks vs. flows, ex-ante vs. ex post, conventions vs. economic substance, and topdown design vs. bottom-up evolution as sources of accounting practice. Associated with each of these conceptual dimensions is an accounting duality; in some cases one side (e.g., stocks) is easier to measure in a reliable manner, while the other side (e.g., flows) is easier to measure in other instances. We suggest that financial reporting would benefit from a willingness to pay attention to, and find compromise between both sides of these tensions; forcing a choice of one over the other does not serve to improve financial reporting. 
  • Conceptual tensions,
  • stocks-flows,
  • ex ante-ex post,
  • Conventions-economic features,
  • design-evolution
Publication Date
September 15, 2011
Citation Information
Yuri Biondi, Jonathan Glover, Karim Jamal, James Ohlson, et al.. "Some Conceptual Tensions in Financial Reporting" (2011)
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