Some Issues in Accounting
by OSCAR S. GELLEIN Partner, Executive Office
Presented before the Akron Chapter of The Ohio Society of Certified Public Accountants—May 1963
THOSE OF YOU from Akron University and Kent State who are "commencing"
in June, are graduating into a profession that is alive and aggressive. One of the surest signs of professional vigor is the willingness to debate the profession's issues in the spotlight of public attention. By this test both 1962 and 1963 have shown a good deal of professional vitality. We have debated, there is no question. Perhaps
now we need to reconcile by searching for the central issue.
I am confident that the specific issues, debated ever so vigorously, concerning postulates, broad principles, tax allocation, price-level adjustments, the investment credit, and other matters, spring from a common source. They are tied together with a common thread spun by the effort to establish definitely the relationship and trend between items and events and having opposing forces tugging at each end. These forces divide on the question of how to achieve financial-statement comparability.
A number of accountants probably would argue that most accounting
issues would disappear if there were a consensus on the postulates and broad principles. This I doubt very much. I look with favor on the quest for the postulates and the broad principles and on the efforts to codify them. They will be helpful in narrowing some of the differences in accounting practices. But in my view, agreement on the postulates and principles will not and should not eliminate all of the differences.
COMPARABILITY AND UNIFORMITY
Accountants have a common goal in establishing accounting practices. They strive for comparability in financial statements. I know not one accountant who rejects this as an object of accounting. But I find accountants at various points of the scale in their estimate of the desirability of financial-statement uniformity. Let me make this point clear: Uniformity and comparability are two different things.