Journal of Accounting and Management Information Systems (JAMIS)

The accounting asset - a case of conceptual instability

5/2003 ,   p54..72


Keywords:   asset, definition, rationality, objectivity, valid argument

The assets’ definition as proclaimed by the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) assimilates assets to “future economic benefits controlled by enterprises, as a result of past events or transactions”.  Similar definitions have been proclaimed subsequently by the International Accounting Standards Board (1989) and the British board (Accounting Standards Board). Yet, these definitions have often been criticized (Schuetze, 1993, 2001; Samuelson, 1996) for their alleged shortcomings. The objective of this paper is to analyze the debate around the question “What is an asset?” The article concludes to the idea that even though the asset’s definition as proposed by the FASB is still problematic, the alternatives its opponents suggested are not applicable.