Accounting and the birth of the notion of capitalism


Critical Perspectives on Accounting

mars 2007, vol. 18, n°3, pp.263-296

Départements : Comptabilité et Contrôle de Gestion

The purpose of this paper is to cast a new light on the post-Sombartian debate. As we know, Sombart (Sombart W. Der Moderne Kapitalismus. M¨unchen, Leipzig: Duncker and Humbolt, 1916) thought that the invention of double-entry bookkeeping was essential to the birth of capitalism. Max Weber developed the same theme, but to a lesser extent. Accounting scholars have debated the idea quite extensively during the 20th century. All these previous works have in common the fact that they address the historical question by comparing accounting practices to business practices, some of which are interpreted as capitalist. In this paper, my aim is not so much to understand the birth of capitalism, but to contribute to some understanding of the birth of the concept of capitalism itself. The concept was forged during the 19th century. At that time, capitalism and a certain kind of double-entry bookkeeping practice that was able to highlight the circuit of capital were inextricably linked. It might be suggested that this historical situation greatly helped the scholars of the period to conceptualise what they called capitalism, and it is easy to show that the notion of capitalism itself is rooted in accounting notions. I will thus argue that the history of how the concept of capitalism was invented is an example of the influence of accounting ideas on economic and sociological thinkingKeywords: Capitalism; Accounting; Karl Marx; Werner Sombart; Double-entry bookkeeping

Control and Change. Analysing the Process of Institutionalisation


Management Accounting Research

juin 2007, vol. 18, n°2, pp.172-208

Départements : Comptabilité et Contrôle de Gestion

This paper studies the process by which a change in the institutional logic of an organisational field is institutionalised in management control systems of a firm. In particular, three elements of organisational control, inspired by the control mix defined by Abernethy and Chua (1996), are studied: management culture, division of powers between functions, and accountability principles. The theoretical framework proposed by Hasselbladh and Kallinikos (2000) enables us to describe the institutionalisation process of management control systems in more detail by observing how ideals are translated into discourse and in turn control techniques. The paper also investigates the internalisation and 'decoupling' occurring between the implementation of control systems, and their actual use when applied for monitoring operational managers. Indeed, the empirical findings, based on a field study conducted in the French subsidiary of a pharmaceutical laboratory, enable us to identify a persistent decoupling. Our results show it stems from ambiguous managerial choices and the resistance of the actors to the new norm. However, it appears that, when discourse can not be heard, it can be partially bypassed using techniques. In fact, these techniques enable an insidious institutionalisation of the new institutional logics when 'what can be done can not be said

Die Geburt des Kapitalismus aus der Idee der doppelten Buchführung



2007, n°2, pp.64-93

Départements : Comptabilité et Contrôle de Gestion

Differences between Domestic Accounting Standards and IAS: Measurement, Determinants and Implications


Journal of Accounting and Public Policy

janvier 2007, vol. 26, n°1, pp.1-38

Départements : Comptabilité et Contrôle de Gestion, GREGHEC (CNRS)

Mots clés : International accounting differences, Institutional factors, Earnings management, Synchronicity

This study analyzes determinants and effects of accounting differences between Domestic Accounting Standards (DAS) and International Accounting Standards (IAS). Based on an extensive list of differences between DAS and IAS, we create two indices, 'absence' and 'divergence.' 'Absence' measures the difference between DAS and IAS as the extent to which the rules regarding certain accounting issues are missing in DAS while covered in IAS. 'Divergence' represents the differences between DAS and IAS as the extent to which the rules regarding the same accounting issue differ in DAS and IAS. Using a sample of more than 30 countries for the year 2001, we show that 'absence' is mainly determined by the legal system and the sophistication of the financial system, while 'divergence' is positively associated with the level of economic development and constrained by the importance of equity markets. Our analysis also provides evidence that a higher level of 'absence' creates more opportunities for earnings management and decreases firm-specific information to investors. A larger 'divergence' from IAS offers richer firm-specific information to the capital markets

Discipliner les autres et agir sur soi. La double vie du contrôleur de gestion

C. LAMBERT, E. Pezet

Finance - Contrôle - Stratégie

mars 2007, vol. 10, n°1, pp.183-208

Départements : Comptabilité et Contrôle de Gestion

Dans le courant dit critique, de nombreux travaux montrent que le contrôle des individus est obtenu en ayant recours à des effets de domination. En nous intéressant à la conception et au maintien du panoptique plutôt qu'à sa mise en oeuvre, nous montrons ainsi qu'il est possible de dépasser la métaphore disciplinaire et de mettre en évidence l'engagement du sujet dans des jeux de vérité (Foucault, 1984b). De plus, nous choisissons une perspective très rarement adoptée, celle d'observer le panoptique du point de vue du gardien, i.e., le contrôleur de gestion Mots clés : Foucault, subjectivation, épreuve de vérité, contrôleur de gestion, automobile

Discourse and institutional change: ‘giving accounts’ and accountability


Management Accounting Research

juin 2007, vol. 18, n°2, pp.150-171

Départements : Comptabilité et Contrôle de Gestion, GREGHEC (CNRS)

Identifying and coping with balance sheet differences: a comparative analysis of U.S., Chinese, and French oil and gas firms using the statement of financial structure

Y. Ding, G. Entwistle, H. STOLOWY

Issues in Accounting Education

novembre 2007, vol. 22, n°4, pp.591-606

Départements : Comptabilité et Contrôle de Gestion, GREGHEC (CNRS)

Mots clés : International financial statement analysis, Balance sheet format, Oil and gas industry, USA, China, France

In a globalized business world it is often necessary to compare companies across national boundaries. This comparison often includes an examination of financial statements. While the harmonization of accounting standards continues to progress, there still remain differences in how accounting information is reported between companies located in different countries, especially with regard to the format used to present the balance sheet. It is consequently important that students be able to both identify these differences, and have a method for coping with them. Using three oil and gas firms from three different countries (Exxon in the United States, Sinopec in China, and Total in France), this paper provides a setting for students to identify differences in balance sheet formats across countries. The paper then introduces a standardizing model--the Statement of Financial Structure--that enables students to cope with these differences. In working with this Statement, students develop their financial analysis skills. In particular, the concept of working capital is reinforced, as is the importance of understanding the local business environment in order to interpret the numbers and ratios within the proper context. balance sheet formatoil and gas industryUSAChinaFrance

Kapitalismens nya anda

L. Boltanski, E. CHIAPELLO


2007, n°24, pp.87-115

Départements : Comptabilité et Contrôle de Gestion

One way to understand the new bourgeoisie is to start in the changes of production and what can be seen as a "new spirit of capitalism". In an analysis of management literature, Luc Boltanski och Ève Chiapello search after the "new spirit" that permeates today's capitalism and bourgeoisie. It is a spirit that is more concerned with the alternative cultures of the 1970's, and their critique of hierarchies, rather than with the strict bourgeoisie of the fin-de-siècle that Max Weber referred to in his writings on the spirit of capitalism.

Levels of voluntary disclosure in IPO prospectuses: An empirical analysis

A. Cazavan-Jeny, T. JEANJEAN

Review of Accounting & Finance

2007, vol. 6, n°2, pp.131-149

Départements : Comptabilité et Contrôle de Gestion

This paper focuses on how forecasts information is disclosed in IPO prospectuses. ln France, managers report either detailed forecasts or only a brief summary. We investigate the determinants and consequences of the varying levels of detail provided in these forecasts. Based on a sample of 82 IPOs on the Euronext Paris market (2000-2002), we show that only two variables are associated with highly detailed forecast disclosures: forecast horizon and firm age. We also find that the forecast error decreases as the level of detail in the forecast disclosures increases. This finding is robust to our reverse causality test (Heckman two-stage self-selection procedure) and suggests that the level of detail in forecast disclosures enhances the reliability of earnings forecastsDisclosure, Reports, France, Financial reporting

Look Who's Talking! Technology-Supported Impression Formation in Virtual Communities


Advances in Consumer Research

2007, vol. 34, pp.450-451

Départements : Comptabilité et Contrôle de Gestion, Marketing, GREGHEC (CNRS)

The growing availability of consumer-generated information on the Internet about products, services, and companies has increased market transparency. Power is shifting from producers to consumers who share their knowledge, experiences, and opinions via virtual communities, electronic discussion forums, online opinion platforms, chat rooms, and weblogs. However, this abundance of readily available information also comes at a cost. How do you distinguish an expert from a fraud? Who is credible and trustworthy, and who isn't? We form impressions of others based on cues such as age, gender, manner of dress and speech (e.g., Hamilton & Huffman 1971). But how do we construct and evaluate impressions in an online environment that lacks social cues normally present in face-to-face settings?Cyberspace is in many ways distinctly different from the physical world. Two characteristics stand out. Firstly, interaction takes place through a technological interface, i.e., a computer, mobile phone, or an interactive television with Internet access. This means that the primary relationship is not between the sender and the receiver of information, but rather with the technology-mediated environment (Hoffman & Novak 1996). The second defining characteristic of cyberspace is its textuality. Communication and interaction online is based on the written word, audio, images, icons, and hyperlinks to other Web sites. This allows for new ways of self-presentation in which the physical self does not necessarily have to coincide with the digital self (Schau & Gilly 2003). Schau and Gilly (2003) have demonstrated that consumers make active use of signs, symbols, material objects, and places to construct a digital self on their personal Web site. In this paper, we want to extend their research into online self-presentational strategies by looking more closely at the receivers' side. The objective of our research is to investigate how consumers form impressions of senders in the context of word-of-web recommendations within virtual consumer communities (Kozinets 2002). Specifically, we focus on the role of the technological interface. According to Foucault (1977), technology can be considered as a disciplinary mechanism that is embedded in power devices. Examining how technologies are used to form and manage digital impressions, may help us to understand how individuals influence each other online. Gaining systematic insight in this process is necessary for improving and developing tools that aim to aid consumers in their assessment of online contributions (e.g., reputation systems, member profiles, contribution accounts)