The Accounting Historians Journal
Vol. 14, No. 1
Mary Alice Seville OREGON STATE UNIVERSITY
THE EVOLUTION OF VOLUNTARY HEALTH AND WELFARE ORGANIZATION ACCOUNTING: 1910 - 1985
Abstract: This article chronicles and compares the attempts made over the years by Voluntary Health and Welfare Organizations (VHWO), accountants and accounting bodies to determine VHWO accounting principles. Also discussed are the events that led to the recognition of the need for generally accepted accounting principles for VHWOs. The article highlights the need for more attention to VHWO accounting by accountants and accounting researchers and provides a foundation for understanding VHWO accounting in the past.
What are generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP) for Voluntary Health and Welfare Organizations (VHWOs)? This article examines how the concept has evolved over this century. Perhaps, however, the first question should be, what are VHWOs? As displayed in Figure 1, VHWO's constitute part of the nonbusi-ness universe.1 According to the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB), the distinguishing characteristics of nonbusiness organizations include:
(a) receipts of significant amounts of resources from resource providers who do not expect to receive either repayment or economic benefits proportionate to re-sources provided, (b) operating purposes that are primarily other than to provide goods or services at a
Acknowledgement: The author wishes to express her appreciation to Mau-reen Berry and the anonymous reviewers who reviewed earlier drafts. Any deficiencies which remain are the sole responsibility of the author.
1Since VHWOs are one of the more inclusive nonbusiness organizations, much that has been written about nonbusiness accounting in general also applies to VHWOs. Thus to help the reader understand VHWO accounting, I found it necessary to discuss studies that applied to nonbusiness organizations in general as well as those applying specifically to VHWOs.