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Some Conceptual Tensions in Financial Reporting
Accounting Horizons (2016)
  • Yuri Biondi
  • Karim Jamal
  • James Ohlson
  • Stephen Penman
  • Eiko Tsujiyama
  • Shyam Sunder
We examine four key conceptual tensions that are at the heart of many financial reporting dilemmas: stocks versus flows, ex ante versus ex post, conventions versus economic substance, and top-down design versus 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
Citation Information
Yuri Biondi, Karim Jamal, James Ohlson, Stephen Penman, et al.. "Some Conceptual Tensions in Financial Reporting" Accounting Horizons Vol. 26 Iss. 1 (2016) p. 125 - 133
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