I'll offer a lay comment (that is, not one grounded in professional
knowledge of the field)...
Back when I was a high tech manager, I was intrigued with such an
accounting notion put forward by Abt Associates, a Cambridge MA consulting
They worked to put the human resources on the balance sheet. This wasn't
about depreciating or depleting the assets... And who owned the people was
not the thrust.
The point was to enable firms who were investing in their people to be
able to reflect this on their balance sheet. Normal accounting treats all
such expenses (I might be wrong) as expenses of the period without
increase in any asset. I understood them to be trying to increase
organizations investment in training and professional development by
changing what is measured and monitored in corporations.
So... if measurement affects actions, what changes in accounting
principles would tend to support the building of learning organizations?
Back to Abt Associates... I remember that they published their own
financial statements in accord with the new accounting principles they
proposed and that these statements were pretty interesting. This would
have been in the late 70's.
Abt was a pretty high flier for a while, then the business slowed. They
sub-leased their beautiful building which served as "incubator" space for
several high tech ventures.
On Mon, 29 Jul 1996, Stephen Wehrenberg wrote:
> Actually, there is a rich literature about human resource accounting, and
> many companies HAVE put people on their balance sheets ... including the
> net present value of the "resource."
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