Academic journal article The Accounting Historians Journal

Reviews: Local Authority Accounting Methods, Problems and Solutions, 1909-1934

Academic journal article The Accounting Historians Journal

Reviews: Local Authority Accounting Methods, Problems and Solutions, 1909-1934

Article excerpt

This book is a reproduction of 31 articles on British local government accounting published during the period of its title. It is offered as a comparison to an earlier collection in this series, by the same editors, called Local Authority Accounting Methods: The Early Debate 1884-1908 (1991).

The idea of these books is an excellent one. The material is important in understanding accounting and regardless of what one might wish to be the case, these kinds of papers would not otherwise be accessed by most accounting researchers.

Moreover, for this book the editors have chosen papers that largely deal with issues in which accounting in business organizations confronted accounting in municipal corporations. One consequence is that some of the discussion will have more immediate resonance for researchers who have a conventional accounting background. The most obvious example, perhaps, is an extract from and elaboration on, the 1878 decision by the Inland Revenue to allow depreciation against tax on profits [p. 37]; but there are many others.

In local government accounting's own terms, there is a particular relevance to this second book. The period with greatest historical significance (judged in the context of British local government's history from the Middle Ages to the early 1980s) was the first decade of the twentieth century. What this book provides, then, is a re-capitulation of the more generally-accepted arguments from the earlier controversies, especially in the light of changes in the law and practice that had taken place subsequently. …

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