Financial Crisis, Firms, Reporting Entities, and the Going Concern Assumption
Washburn University. School of Business
Kaw Valley Bank
Orthodox academic and accounting standard setting literature has historically viewed accounting reporting entities as independent units with an indefinite life. The 1929 and 2008 financial crises are used as focal points for a critical evaluation of the theory of a firm, the reporting entity concept, and the going concern assumption. Alternative perspectives from organizational theory, physics, and non-Western philosophical traditions suggest that firms and markets are best conceptualized not as separate static units, but as a dynamic and intricately entangled matrix of relationships. This paper argues that a Western cultural bias, philosophical pragmatism, and Aristotelian logic implicit in dominant accounting conceptual frameworks have all worked to downplay normative public interest issues that are essential to an understanding of the functioning of economic enterprise in a dynamic global society.