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Normative Accounting Theories

by Humayun Kabir
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This paper reviews five important works on normative accounting theory MacNeal (1939), Paton and Littleton (1940), Littleton (1953), Chambers (1966), and Ijiri (1975) with emphasis on recognition and measurement issues in accounting. It shows that there is a lack of agreement among these theorists on basic assumptions and hypothesized information needs of the users. Even where there is agreement on an assumption, different implications have been drawn therefrom by the concerned theorists. These differences lead to different recognition and measurement proposals. This paper also shows that many of the ideas in accounting that seemed to be novel were anticipated by these early theorists. Finally, it assesses the present accounting practice in the light of these theories.

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