The Images And Metaphors That Have Shaped Financial Accounting

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“All our knowledge begins with the senses, proceeds then to the understanding, and ends with reason. There is nothing higher than reason.” ― Immanuel Kant, Critique of Pure Reason We, as accountants, work within a framework that defines a numerical view of reality. Our understanding of organization and management is influenced by different images and insights generating from the subject of our investigation (Davis, Menon and Morgan, 1982, pp. 307–318). By recognizing how images and metaphors shape our understanding, we can capture some simpler truths, or at least put forward and define statements we would like to be true. However, as the intricacy of images and metaphors in accounting are explored, they also bring to light a variety of riveting ontological issues that concern our entire knowledge of accounting theory. (McGoun, Bettner and Coyne, 2007, pp. 213–230). This essay will focus on the images and metaphors that have shaped financial accounting. Images Of all images that have influenced and/or shaped accounting, Numerical Reality has been deemed most important. The use of numbers to illustrate different areas of an organization can be seen as an act of social construction. We depict a world of relationships in terms of words, languages, and signs in the form of numbers. As Davis, Menon, and Morgan (1982, p307-318) put it, “...numbers are made to stand for reality, and the reality is interpreted through numbers”. However, different people have their own views and

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