Friday, April 4, 2008

Are statistical constructs the foundation for accounting in the banking industry?

Dear Colleagues

There is something terribly wrong. The technology to have excellence in accounting, and to have easy analysis and tremendous clarity is reporting is available and very cost effective.

But financial reports seem to be less and less understandable ... the goal does not seem to have "true and fair" but something that is legally right, but almost useless in terms of understanding the underlying financial realities.

Some of this has come about because of the increased mathematical sophistication of the "paper" included in the accounts ... but the calculations that made it possible to justify the "values" of this paper, should be a basis for understanding what real value is under changing circumstances.

Unless, of course, the mathematics is a statistical construct rather than being something that an accountant would recognise.

I suspect that this is what has happened ... and I would argue that a reasonable interpretation of Sarbanes Oxley might be at odds with the statistical approach, in which case there is big trouble in the banking industry ... as well there should be!


Peter Burgess