ix) Historical cost convention: It’s a basic principle of accounting (some writers include it in the list of fundamental accounting concepts) is that resources are normally stated in accounts at historical cost, i.e. at the amount that the business paid to acquire them. An important advantage of this procedure is that the objectivity of accounts is maximized: there is usually objective, documentary evidence to prove the amount paid to purchase an asset or pay an expense. Historical cost means transactions are recorded at the cost when they occurred. In general, accountants prefer to deal with costs, rather than with ‘values’. This is because valuations tend to be subjective and to vary according to what the valuation is for. For example, suppose that a company acquires a machine to manufacture its products. The machine has an expected useful life of four years. At the end of two years the company is preparing a statement of financial position and has decided what monetary amount to attribute to the asset. x) Objectivity (neutrality): An accountant must show objectivity in his work. This means he should try to strip his answers of any personal opinion or prejudice and should be as precise and as detailed as the situation warrants. The result of this should be that any number of accountants will give the same answer independently of each other. Objectivity means that accountants must be free from bias. They must adopt a neutral stance when analysing accounting data. In practice objectivity is difficult. Two accountants faced with the same accounting data may come to different conclusions as to the correct treatment. It was to combat subjectivity that accounting standards were developed. xi) Realization concept: Revenue and profits are recognized when realized. The concept states that revenue and profits are not anticipated but are recognized by inclusion in the income statement only when realized in the form of either cash or of other assets the ultimate cash realization of which can be assessed with reasonable certainty. 11
xii) Duality: Every transaction has two-fold effect in the accounts and is the basis of double entry bookkeeping. xiii) Substance over form: It’s the principle that transactions and other events are accounted for and presented in accordance with their substance and economic reality and not merely their legal form e.g. a non current asset on hire purchase although is not legally owned by the enterprise until it is fully paid for, it is reflected in the accounts as an asset and depreciation provided for in the normal accounting way. Example It is generally agreed that sales revenue should only be ‘realized’ and so ‘recognized’ in the trading, profit and loss account when: a) The sale transaction is for a specific quantity of goods at a known price, so that the sales value of the transaction is known for certain.