Sunday, March 30, 2008

The need for Social Benefit Accountancy

Dear Colleagues

Double entry accountancy goes back several centuries and proved a very powerful tool for establishing control over economic enterprise. Some of the same concepts can be used to gain a better understanding of the socio-economic situation in the society at large. This use of accountancy concepts can be called Social Benefit Accountancy.

Though science and technology have given us the capacity to do computations at lightning fast speed, growing complexity of society and the economic organizations makes it less and less easy to understand the dynamics, and more and more there is a powerful capacity for internal corporate performance analysis while society as a whole gets to have less and less meaningful information about the impact on society.

When organizations were small, their economic footprint were not so important and the fact of missing information about societal impact did not matter much. Now that more and more sectors are dominated by a few global business entities, a systemic approach to understand the social benefit impact is important.

Over the past few years there have been a growing number of initiatives to encourage organizations to share more of their internal information, and especially to report on issues like corporate social responsibility. The framework for Social Benefit Accountancy being developed by Tr-Ac-Net builds on these efforts as well as on the well tried underlying principles of accountancy. In addition, an attempt has been made to make the best possible use of technology so that the system for Social Benefit Accountancy can be universally used everywhere in the world.

Social Benefit Accountancy is needed to help explain the perverse way that the global economy seems to work ... to explain, for instance, why it is that such amazing technical and scientific progress only produces rather modest improvements in standard of living ... and why, for example, Africa, a continent with such enormous natural resources, has such poverty. This system is needed to help understand and differentiate between initiatives that seem to be very good in theory, but do not work in practice. The system is needed so that people overall have much more access to important information about the society we live in.

The initiative is important ... we hope it will be successful

Peter Burgess

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