In The Failure and the Future of Accounting, David Hatherly rethinks accounting in the light of a financial crisis which exposed its limitations. He reminds us that in the run up to 2008 the accounts of financial institutions reported increasing profits and healthy balance sheets whilst their business models were undermining their own financial health and the economy. Accounts failed to provide appropriate feedback on business performance. This failure illustrated a general problem. There is a need in all companies for better alignment between the business model and the accounting model. To understand the performance of the business we need to know how much value is created and how value is created, who it is created for, what kind of value is created and how it is measured. Here, Professor Hatherly provides an accounting model that addresses all these questions. Coordinating business as strategy, business as a stakeholder network and business as value, the four slice (4S) accounting model overcomes the complexity and incoherence of existing accounting standards. It allows managers and shareholders to analyse the effectiveness of the business model and for management to be held to account. It prevents the misreporting of speculative gains as distributable income and therefore allows capital to be better allocated towards productive enterprise, making financial crises less likely. With its insights into both accounting and business more generally, this book is essential reading for accountants and accountancy students and for those running businesses of any description.

chapter 2|18 pages

The Inadequacy of Traditional Accounting

chapter 4|14 pages

The Stakeholder Knowledge Network

chapter 5|13 pages

Accounting for Distributed Knowledge

chapter 6|17 pages

Distributed Risk

chapter 7|20 pages

Accounting for Intangibles

chapter 8|26 pages


chapter 9|24 pages

Strategic Connectivity

chapter 10|12 pages


chapter 11|8 pages

The Significance for Financial Reporting

chapter 12|16 pages

Illustration of 4S Accounts

chapter 13|12 pages