Concepts and costs for the maintenance of productive capacity: a study of the measurement and reporting of soil quality

OBrien, P 1999, Concepts and costs for the maintenance of productive capacity: a study of the measurement and reporting of soil quality, Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), Accounting and Law, RMIT University.


Document type: Thesis
Collection: Theses

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Title Concepts and costs for the maintenance of productive capacity: a study of the measurement and reporting of soil quality
Author(s) OBrien, P
Year 1999
Abstract This thesis studies the role accounting plays in the monitoring and reporting of soil quality in one sector of the agricultural industry, broadacre farming. A survey was conducted with broadacre farmers in the Loddon Catchment, Victoria, Australia. The primary aim was to determine the effectiveness accounting plays in providing information to decision makers relative to the productive capacity in soil quality and not just on profits. The capital asset in this study was defined as soil quality. Soils and soil quality in particular, are major elements in determining land value. The concern is decisions are being made by potential buyers and other decision makers, particularly policy makers, with regards to soil quality on the basis of incomplete and often misleading information. It is proposed that a major reason is due to the fact that different participants in the agricultural and accounting industries require and use different information. The accounting systems used by farmers are those that have been developed for the manufacturing sector which may not be appropriate for managing long-term, complex resources such as soil. The farmers themselves did not find formal accounting reports useful for decision making because these reports are based on uniform standards and market prices. The topic of soil quality and land degradation is viewed from two perspectives. In one perspective, the proprietary view; the accounting emphasis is on the ownership of assets and the change, both in income and capital, in these assets over time. In this case the accounting equation is seen as assets - liabilities = equities. The proprietor takes all the risk. A more recent perspective in accounting, the entity view, emphasises the assets whether financed from equity or debt and where the accounting equation is seen as assets = equities. The emphasis changes to the income flow from these assets and more interest is shown in current market prices as a reflection of the future value of these assets Profit is not necessarily a good indicator of what farmers are doing for their capital asset. There needs to be greater emphasis on costs undertaken for the conservation of soil. Those costs should be considered an investment and put into the balance sheet and not the profit and loss statement.
Degree Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Institution RMIT University
School, Department or Centre Accounting and Law
Keyword(s) Soils--Quality.
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