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Re: Playing Accountant

From: Christopher Browne
Subject: Re: Playing Accountant
Date: Mon, 19 Mar 2001 13:42:49 -0600

On Mon, 19 Mar 2001 19:18:57 GMT, the world broke into rejoicing as
"Micheal J" <address@hidden>  said:
> The issue Derek raised wasn't about fluctuating exchange rates
> AFAICT. It was more about the changes in the value of a single
> currency over time. His example for instance argues that the value
> of 1 dollar today is different from the value of 1 dollar in 60
> years time. Both are still called 1 dollar though. I believe this is
> what is termed inflation but I stand to be corrected. Of course
> inflation can be positive as well as negative (devaluation).

> I have no clear views on how to deal with this as I am not a domain
> expert (i.e. accountant or other such finance
> professional). Accountants obviously have a mechanism for dealing
> with this. We just need to get into the heads of a few friendly
> accountant and get them to spill the beans...

Any time there's a huge bout of inflation in the US, the AICPA tends
to try to build "yet another reporting standard" on this.  The
standards tend to be esoteric, and are often barely used since people
disagree widely on what should be done about them.

But please note the _really_ critical word in that paragraph:  

If you track expenses using dollars, and attach dates to transactions
and/or prices, then the problems can get deferred until _reporting_
time.  The critical thing is to track enough information to make sure
that reporting can be done unambiguously.

Quite frankly, the only time anybody plays with the differing
standards on this is when they are undergoing vast amounts of
inflation.  A few percent per annum doesn't count :-).
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