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By James L. Gibson, W. Warren Haynes

Accounting in Small enterprise Decisions provides the 1st large-scale empirical exam of the way small businesses use accounting information to make working judgements.

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But to the owner this fact was secondary as long as profits were unsatisfactory. Once the profit goal was attained, advertising was budgeted at the national average. To summarize, the stimuli for decision making vary from store to store. ( 1) In some stores formal accounting data do not appear in the homeostatic process. This is true in very small stores in which the accounting systems are quite crude. " ( 2) In larger stores, a great deal of time and effort is spent to compute and record ratios.

Two cases illustrate the wide variation in small retailer use of comparative data. Edward's Men's Shop is located in a medium-size industrial city. The owner and one other salesman are the only personnel. The accounting system is very crude, and reports are prepared once a year for tax purposes. Ratios and averages are not prepared because the owner sees no need for them nor does he understand their meaning. He receives publications of industry data, but does not use the information. In this case the concept of homeostasis may seem inapplicable because data are not developed to reveal changing relationships in the financial statements.

19 Economists' criticism of traditional accounting Managerial economics provides one framework of thought against which we can evaluate the relevance of accounting to decision making. Writers on the subject have noted a number of limitations of traditional accounting practices when examined in the light of economic theory. 6 We shall discuss the limitations most pertinent to this study. ( 1 ) The orientation of accounting to the past rather than to the future. The primary task of accounting is the recording of historical events, as opposed to the estimating of future, uncertain events.

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