Munich Personal RePEc Archive

Accounting Regulation and Management Discretion in a British Building Society, Circa 1960

Batiz-Lazo, Bernardo and Billings, Mark (2009): Accounting Regulation and Management Discretion in a British Building Society, Circa 1960.

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Abstract

This article explores the manipulation of published financial reports in order to counter the potentially unfavourable impact of newly introduced regulation. In this case the reported capital ratio of a major building society was enhanced using a sale and leaseback transaction with a related party and a change in depreciation policy, methods which reflected limited alternatives. Analysis of the case is set in the context of the mid-term performance of the building society sector and addresses the questions of whether the manipulations involved were within then-prevailing generally accepted accounting principles and why, despite disclosure in the society’s financial statements, these failed to attract public comment or concern, regulatory action or an audit qualification. In examining a major British mutual financial organisation we depart from traditional analyses of managerial discretion in accounting choices in manufacturing, mining and transport companies prior to the watershed Companies Act 1948.

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