The Accounting Court: Some Speculations on Why Not?

Gary Kleinman, Pamela Strickland, Asokan Anandarajan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


The accounting court proposed by Spacek (Account Rev 33(3):368, 1958) was a potent and controversial idea. The court would provide a venue to which auditing firms and clients could bring disputes over the application of accounting principles and over time would build a database of casework illustrating the court’s decisions on proper application and interpretation of accounting principles. In this paper, we contribute to the literature on the accounting court and on standard setting by analyzing group value orientations and motivations that should promote the likelihood of an accounting court appearing in these times. We base our analysis in value group theory (Shakun 1988 Evolutionary systems design: policymaking under complexity and group group decision support systems. Holden-Day, Oakland, CA.), an analysis rooted in an examination of operational and terminal values of key participants. The analysis brings to light a contradiction between the terminal values of the key players and the actions of those players. We argue that common conditions of existence came between the operational goals and terminal values in the accounting domain and key actors willingness to seek the specified values. This analysis provides a flexible but powerful tool for analyzing motivations that may influence behavior of key organizations in the accounting domain.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)845-871
Number of pages27
JournalGroup Decision and Negotiation
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1 Jul 2016


  • Accounting court
  • Accounting principles
  • Auditing
  • Standard setting
  • Value group theory


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