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More Than a Numbers Game: A Brief History of Accounting

More Than a Numbers Game: A Brief History of Accounting
Author: Thomas A. King
ISBN 13: 9780470008737
ISBN 10: 470008733
Edition: 1
Publisher: Wiley
Publication Date: 2006-09-01
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 256
List Price: $35.95

Since Luca Pacioli wrote the first accounting text back in 1494, thousands of books have been published to explain the how's of accounting—how to value assets, audit financial statements, comply with tax laws, estimate product costs, evaluate corporate performance, and so on. Missing in this journey has been a work that discusses the major why's of accounting practice.

In More Than a Numbers Game: A Brief History of Accounting, author and financial expert Tom King fills this void by examining key issues and events that have transformed accounting from a tool used by American railroad managers to communicate with absent British investors into an enabler of corporate fraud during the Internet and telecom frenzy.

More Than a Numbers Game revolves around a history of ideas associated with accounting's use by U.S. corporations. Each chapter—which explores a controversial accounting topic that has emerged over the past century—is filled with vivid historical background and lively discussions of the people involved, to give relevance to the concepts covered. Simple examples and light humor make complex subjects understandable to the informed layperson.

This book not only examines the purposes and limitations of financial, cost, tax, and regulatory accounting, it also provides context for many of accounting's most divisive issues, including:

  • Management complications that arise from inflation's uneven nature
  • Consequences of managers' fear of showing earnings volatility
  • The unsolved mystery of accounting forinternally developed intangible assets
  • Why debt rose into and then fell out of favor with corporate management and their boards
  • How compensation with options replaced debt as a governance tool in the 1990s
  • How politics hobbled efforts to standardize accounting practice

Through engaging anecdotes, illustrative examples, and real-world case studies, More Than a Numbers Game also reveals how economics, finance, law, and business customs have contributed to accounting's overall development. With this book as your guide, you'll discover that accounting is not a static discipline, but an evolving tool full of idiosyncrasies.

More Than a Numbers Game takes a detailed look at more than one hundred years of corporate accounting history in the United States—from the initial use of double-entry bookkeeping to Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX)—and shows how accounting has solved numerous financial problems as well as created substantial controversy along the way.