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Postive Accounting Theory

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Positive accounting is the branch of academic research in accounting that seeks to explain and predict actual accounting practices. This contrasts with normative accounting, that seeks to derive and prescribe "optimal" accounting standards.

The branch of academic research in accounting that seeks to explain and predict actual accounting practices.
Positive accounting can be associated with the contractual view of the firm.[1][2] The firm is viewed as “a nexus of contracts” and accounting one tool to facilitate the formation and performance of contracts. Under this view, accounting practices evolve to mitigate contracting costs by establishing ex ante agreement among varying parties. For example, positive accounting postulates that conservatism in accounting –in this sense defined conditionally as requiring lower (higher) standards of verifiability to recognize losses (gains)– has origins in contract markets, including managerial compensation contracts and lender debt contracts. As an example, absent conservatism, managerial compensation agreements may reward managers based on current reports that later evidence indicate were unwarranted.
The contractual view of positive accounting puts it in tension with value relevance studies in accounting: the latter contend that accounting’s primary role is to value the firm, and thus practices like conservatism are sub-optimal.[3] The value relevance school emphasizes the usefulness of accounting information to equity investors in contrast to its usefulness in contracting exercises.

[edit] Efficiency perspective

The efficiency perspective is taken into Positive Accounting theory as researcher explain how various managers choose accounting methods that show a true representation of the firm's performance. Within this perspective,[4] it is stated by numerous authors that accounting practices adopted by firms are often...

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