The Accounting Historians Journal Vol. 18, No. 2 December 1991
1991 Vangermeersch Manuscript Award
UNIVERSITY OF QUEBEC IN MONTREAL
THE 1947 FRENCH ACCOUNTING PLAN: ORIGINS AND INFLUENCES ON SUBSEQUENT PRACTICE
Abstract: The first official French Accounting Plan, adopted in 1947, had a marked influence in several countries. Its impact can still be felt today and many of its features have been retained in the 1982 French Accounting Plan. The article highlights the economic, political and accounting influences on the development of the 1947 Plan. The main characteristics of the Plan are also described. After presenting an over-view of the events that marked the evolution of French accounting subsequent to the adoption of the 1947 Plan, the paper concludes with a comparison of the 1947 Plan with the latest French Plan (1982).
The 1947 French Accounting Plan, later revised in 1957, had a marked influence in several European, Asian and African coun-tries (Greece, Turkey, Tunisia, for example). Its impact is pervasive today through the model financial statements of the European Fourth Directive adopted in 1978. What were the forces that led to the development of the 1947 Accounting Plan? What were the sources on which its development was based? What were the strong elements of the Plan that gave it its usefulness and led to its widespread adoption? These are important and basic questions that need to be answered to understand more fully the present state of accounting in the many parts of the world that have been influenced by French standardized accounting, and to understand why it had so much influence.
After considering the methodology used in the study, the pa-per will address, in turn, the aforementioned research questions. An overview of the events that marked the French Accounting Plan's history subsequent to the adoption of its first official version of 1947 will follow. The paper then proceeds to highlight the per-vasive features of the 1947 Accounting Plan that have been re-tained in the latest revised version of the Plan, that of 1982. The conclusion recapitulates the landmarks of French accounting his-tory since 1940.