What do accountants count?

10

 

 

We think we make rational economic decisions. We don’t. Our decisions are driven by intangible values of which we may not be aware, or about which we may not care.

‘Radical accountant’ Baruch Lev, along with others, is proposing that accepted GAAP accounting has to evolve to evaluate and incorporate intangibles in a company’s accounts.

Can accountants count intangibles like happiness? The Kingdom of Bhutan is famous for its invention of a Gross National Happiness (GNH) metric. In Bhutan,

The four pillars of GNH are the promotion of sustainable development, preservation and promotion of cultural values, conservation of the natural environment, and establishment of good governance. (Wikipedia)

A Brisbane company, reinvention, has mapped the GNH to what they call GCH – Gross Company Happiness. It looks like this:


Component Indicators of Bhutan’s Gross National Happiness Index

 

Corresponding Gross Company Happiness Indicators

Mental health index

=

Mindfulness and mental clarity

Emotional balance index

=

More positive than negative emotions

Spirituality index

=

Sense of meaning

Knowledge of tsechu and folktales

=

Knowledge of the company’s history and stories

# of days of participation in cultural festivals per year

=

Times spent in team engagement/team building activities

Ability to understand lozey exchange

=

Ability to understand how to get things done in the company

Values important in upbringing

=

Company values consistent with personal values

Hours free from labour per day

=

Work/life balance

Frequency of socializing with friends

=

Frequency of good connections with colleagues

Government performance index

=

Performance of the company’s administration

Human rights index

=

Sense of fairness and justice

Trust in institutions

=

Trust in the hierarchy

Help available in times of need

=

Help available in times of need

Safety from human harm when walking at night

=

Health and Safety

Family relationship index

=

Quality of close relationships

Percent of family members living in the same community

=

Access to a strong support network

Satisfaction with security of finances and livelihood

=

Security of employment

Annual household income

=

Remuneration

Household members to rooms ratio

=

Comfortable work environment

Ownership of house

=

Care for the company

River/air pollution/soil erosion as local problem

=

Environmental responsibility

Self-reported health status

=

Health and fitness

# of healthy days in the last month

=

# of healthy days in the last month

# of traditional arts and crafts known

=

Involvement in social activities with others

Satisfaction with quality of education

=

Access to learning and development

 

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