Firms as adaptive organizations : the case of Australian trading banks
The conventional accounting notion of ?going concern? ? that a firm will continue its business operations in the same manner indefinitely ? has underpinned accounting practice for over one hundred years. This idea has provided a rationale for spreading costs over accounting periods and for deferring costs as assets in balance sheets. An alternative idea that is widely regarded as reliable in the literatures of economics and deliberate action is that firms continually adapt to changes in market and economic conditions. That is economic behaviour. The implications of that view of a firm for accounting have been systematically explored by Chambers (1966). While not examining those particular implications, many other accounting theorists have been critical of the conventional accounting idea of 'going concern' and of its impact on accounting practice. The two notions of ?going concern? - as static or adaptive enterprises - are examined by referring to the business operations of the four major Australian trading banks over the period 1983-1991. Banks were selected because they are commonly thought to be particularly ?conservative? organizations. The period 1983?1991 was chosen because it covers the era of deregulation of the Australian financial system. The evidence adduced by this study indicates that the Australian trading banks have continually adapted their organizational structures and business operations in the light of changes in technology, markets for financial services, government policies and domestic and global economic conditions. Illustrations of adaptive behaviour by banks ate drawn from their normal operating procedures such as the provision of products and services, loan services, acquisitions, sale of property, non-core banking operations and international banking. It is argued on analytical grounds that the cost basis of accounting does not yield financial statements that provide factual and up-to-date information about the financial capacity of firms to pay their debts and to continue trading generally; that is, to be going concerns. At any time, those financial capacities are determined by the amount of money commanded by a firm, including the money's worth of its assets, and by its level of debt. It is concluded on empirical grounds that the Australian trading banks, at least, are adaptive entities.
|Year of publication:||
Deakin University, Faculty of Management
|Subject:||Bank management - Australia|
|Type of publication:||Book / Working Paper|
|Type of publication (narrower categories):||Thesis|
Saved in favorites
Similar items by subject
Find similar items by using search terms and synonyms from our Thesaurus for Economics (STW).