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Intangible or Invisible?: On the Compossibility of the Human Capital Asset

Research output: Contribution to conference - Without ISBN/ISSN Conference paperpeer-review

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Intangible or Invisible? On the Compossibility of the Human Capital Asset. / Hesketh, Anthony John.

2017. Paper presented at Third international conference on cultural political economy conference 2017, .

Research output: Contribution to conference - Without ISBN/ISSN Conference paperpeer-review

Harvard

Hesketh, AJ 2017, 'Intangible or Invisible? On the Compossibility of the Human Capital Asset', Paper presented at Third international conference on cultural political economy conference 2017, 7/09/17 - 8/09/17.

APA

Hesketh, A. J. (2017). Intangible or Invisible? On the Compossibility of the Human Capital Asset. Paper presented at Third international conference on cultural political economy conference 2017, .

Vancouver

Hesketh AJ. Intangible or Invisible? On the Compossibility of the Human Capital Asset. 2017. Paper presented at Third international conference on cultural political economy conference 2017, .

Author

Hesketh, Anthony John. / Intangible or Invisible? On the Compossibility of the Human Capital Asset. Paper presented at Third international conference on cultural political economy conference 2017, .

Bibtex

@conference{2307023089ab416f8414fee05d477449,
title = "Intangible or Invisible?: On the Compossibility of the Human Capital Asset",
abstract = "Companies comprising the UK{\textquoteright}s FTSE 100 collectively spent £200bn on their people in 2013 (Hesketh, 2014). It is the first time this figure has been reported. Were analysts interested in calculating the same number for companies headquartered outside the European Union they would be disappointed: the expenditure on people by companies in the rest of the world is included in the accounting construct known as the cost of goods sold or COGS. Drawing on over 100 interviews over a four year period (2013-17) with senior financial executives, industry regulators and senior figures in leading audit firms, this paper examines the discursive and calculative imaginaries underpinning the symbolic violence perpetrated by the accounting industry in ensuring the most important factor of production - labour - is excluded from the income statement, let alone the balance sheet. It discusses how this not only precludes labour from forming accurate estimates as to the economy of experience on offer in the globe{\textquoteright}s leading corporations but also highlights important implications for the continuing problems relating to the secular stagnation of low productivity plaguing capitalism in its mature form.Adopting a cultural political economy perspective enables us to examine the discursive practices dominating the regulation of accounting practices in modern capitalism. The starting point is Baruch Lev{\textquoteright}s recent The End of Accounting? in which Lev calculates 80 percent of the value of today{\textquoteright}s companies comprises intangible value, and how forty years ago, the reverse was true: the assets captured on the balance sheet could account for 80 per cent of a company{\textquoteright}s value. What are the factors driving this turnaround? Moreover, if accountants can only audit one dollar in every five, does this not make the accounting industry itself immaterial? If labour is so important, why is it described as {\textquoteleft}water in the balance sheet,{\textquoteright} hence refuted by leading accounting academics as a contender for asset status (Penman, 2009)? Why then has the accounting industry recently reviewed its definition of what constitutes an asset and why has the workforce been included as an example (IASB, 2013)? ",
keywords = "ASSET, Labour , workforce, Regulation, international accounting convergence, Accounting",
author = "Hesketh, {Anthony John}",
year = "2017",
month = sep,
day = "7",
language = "English",
note = "Third international conference on cultural political economy conference 2017 ; Conference date: 07-09-2017 Through 08-09-2017",
url = "http://www.lancaster.ac.uk/cperc/research/index.htm",

}

RIS

TY - CONF

T1 - Intangible or Invisible?

T2 - Third international conference on cultural political economy conference 2017

AU - Hesketh, Anthony John

PY - 2017/9/7

Y1 - 2017/9/7

N2 - Companies comprising the UK’s FTSE 100 collectively spent £200bn on their people in 2013 (Hesketh, 2014). It is the first time this figure has been reported. Were analysts interested in calculating the same number for companies headquartered outside the European Union they would be disappointed: the expenditure on people by companies in the rest of the world is included in the accounting construct known as the cost of goods sold or COGS. Drawing on over 100 interviews over a four year period (2013-17) with senior financial executives, industry regulators and senior figures in leading audit firms, this paper examines the discursive and calculative imaginaries underpinning the symbolic violence perpetrated by the accounting industry in ensuring the most important factor of production - labour - is excluded from the income statement, let alone the balance sheet. It discusses how this not only precludes labour from forming accurate estimates as to the economy of experience on offer in the globe’s leading corporations but also highlights important implications for the continuing problems relating to the secular stagnation of low productivity plaguing capitalism in its mature form.Adopting a cultural political economy perspective enables us to examine the discursive practices dominating the regulation of accounting practices in modern capitalism. The starting point is Baruch Lev’s recent The End of Accounting? in which Lev calculates 80 percent of the value of today’s companies comprises intangible value, and how forty years ago, the reverse was true: the assets captured on the balance sheet could account for 80 per cent of a company’s value. What are the factors driving this turnaround? Moreover, if accountants can only audit one dollar in every five, does this not make the accounting industry itself immaterial? If labour is so important, why is it described as ‘water in the balance sheet,’ hence refuted by leading accounting academics as a contender for asset status (Penman, 2009)? Why then has the accounting industry recently reviewed its definition of what constitutes an asset and why has the workforce been included as an example (IASB, 2013)?

AB - Companies comprising the UK’s FTSE 100 collectively spent £200bn on their people in 2013 (Hesketh, 2014). It is the first time this figure has been reported. Were analysts interested in calculating the same number for companies headquartered outside the European Union they would be disappointed: the expenditure on people by companies in the rest of the world is included in the accounting construct known as the cost of goods sold or COGS. Drawing on over 100 interviews over a four year period (2013-17) with senior financial executives, industry regulators and senior figures in leading audit firms, this paper examines the discursive and calculative imaginaries underpinning the symbolic violence perpetrated by the accounting industry in ensuring the most important factor of production - labour - is excluded from the income statement, let alone the balance sheet. It discusses how this not only precludes labour from forming accurate estimates as to the economy of experience on offer in the globe’s leading corporations but also highlights important implications for the continuing problems relating to the secular stagnation of low productivity plaguing capitalism in its mature form.Adopting a cultural political economy perspective enables us to examine the discursive practices dominating the regulation of accounting practices in modern capitalism. The starting point is Baruch Lev’s recent The End of Accounting? in which Lev calculates 80 percent of the value of today’s companies comprises intangible value, and how forty years ago, the reverse was true: the assets captured on the balance sheet could account for 80 per cent of a company’s value. What are the factors driving this turnaround? Moreover, if accountants can only audit one dollar in every five, does this not make the accounting industry itself immaterial? If labour is so important, why is it described as ‘water in the balance sheet,’ hence refuted by leading accounting academics as a contender for asset status (Penman, 2009)? Why then has the accounting industry recently reviewed its definition of what constitutes an asset and why has the workforce been included as an example (IASB, 2013)?

KW - ASSET

KW - Labour

KW - workforce

KW - Regulation

KW - international accounting convergence

KW - Accounting

M3 - Conference paper

Y2 - 7 September 2017 through 8 September 2017

ER -