Here Gaétan Breton provides a comprehensive overview of what accounting really is, not just what it is presumed to be for the purposes of ordinary, day-to-day, practicality-oriented accounting courses. Drawing upon frameworks employed in the human sciences--including those used in sociology, psychology, the communication sciences, and decision theories--Breton builds a multi-faceted theory of accounting. He explains why it should be conceived as a fundamentally social activity, one that puts preparers of financial statements in contact with users--with the state, shareholders, stakeholders, and citizens--in order to help them make economic decisions based on financial information. It is from this position that he analyzes both the behavior of preparers of financial statements (who only relate financial situations) and the behavior of users (in their own analysis, understanding, and decisions). The result is a groundbreaking move towards the first science of accounting widely acceptable within academic circles.
For the fundamental questions it poses to the very heart of accounting studies, this book is a must-read for researchers and practitioners as well as teachers and undergraduate students of accounting.
SECTION 1: THEORIES AND ACCOUNTING
Chapter 2. Theories and Schools of Thought
Chapter 3. The Traditional Vision of Accounting Theory
Chapter 4. Accounting in the Scientific Institution
Chapter 5. For a Definition of Accounting
Chapter 6. Accounting: the State and the Firm
SECTION 2: THEORIES OF ACCOUNTING
Chapter 7. Sociology of Accounting
Chapter 8. The Psychological Aspects of Accounting
Chapter 9. How Decisions are Made
Chapter 10. A Theory of Accounting
SECTION 3: “TESTING” THE THEORY
Chapter 11. Analyzing the Documents Accompanying Decisions
Chapter 12. Manipulating and Lying