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CAMERAL ACCOUNTING- A NEW PATH OF ACCOUNING

ITRODUCTION-

Ijiri (1967) focuses on two other dimensions of the double-entry bookkeeping method
than the dual result presentation (via the payment and activity sides): the essence of
double-entry is that every increment is causally related to a decrement, and the significant
contribution of double-entry over single-entry is that the present financial status of a firm
is fully accounted for by past events. At a given date, the assets and liabilities describe the
present position of an enterprise, and the capital accounts, including income
(performance result), can be seen as a summary of past events. If past events have been
properly accounted for, then the cumulative past should equal the present. In single-entry
bookkeeping the present status is represented by a list of assets and liabilities, but double-
entry compels an accounting of the present by an appropriate set of capital accounts that
captures the past events that led to the present position. Thus, according to Kam
accountability is the essence of double-entry.

Historical development of cameral accounting

Walb points out that the development of cameral accounting can be divided into four
different phases, and in general terms he argues that the development of cameral
accounting parallels that of commercial accounting, namely the development of a control
instrument, the preparation of accounting information for statistical purposes and the
preparation of an income statement, showing the performance result.

The first phase referred to as simple cameral bookkeeping, consists of showing


balance sheet changes for money and moveable property and possibly also an overview
of fixed property, as well as a grouping of the revenues and expenditures according to
their sources . According to Wysocki (1965) one has presumably been satisfied with
showing the money revenues and money expenditures in a daybook, where the revenues
and expenditures were reported chronologically, without taking into account their
different characters. According to Johns (1951) it was possible gradually to extend this
chronological bookkeeping in the daybook to a systematic bookkeeping in the ledger,
although systematic use of the accounts were lacking. Attempts to introduce the
merchant's double-entry bookkeeping method (commercial accounting) in the
governmental sector, however, failed.

In the second phase introduction of current due accounting, a strong link between
bookkeeping of the cash transactions in the chronologically kept daybook and the
systematic bookkeeping in the ledger was introduced. Moreover, within the systematic
bookkeeping, one developed any typical form of the cameral ledger accounts, which later
came to determine the cameral bookkeeping method (Wysocki, 1965). The point of
departure for the considerations in this phase was the attempt not only to include already
realized revenues and expenditures (cash or «actuals» accounting), but also the future
revenues and expenditures . The ledger prepared in this way already contained important
parts for the preparation of a balance sheet containing claims and obligations as well as
an income statement (profit and loss statement), showing a performance result (Wysocki,
1965). When it is a matter of the application areas of cameral accounting, Wysocki
points out that it may be maintained that the cameralist's single-entry bookkeeping
method is far better than the merchant's double-entry bookkeeping method with regard to
adjusting to changes, because the latter method is based upon a very strict procedure for
bookkeeping the transactions and for closing the accounts. It is therefore understandable
that the shaping of cameral accounts is manifold compared to the commercial accounts
(Wysocki, 1965, p. 1 Enterprise cameralistics has developed the systematic single-entry
bookkeeping method of commercial accounting. As pointed out earlier in the article, the
latter method allows for the preparation of the performance result via the payment side
(balance sheet), and therefore forms the basis of modified financial accounts with an
element of a performance result. When using the former method, however, which I refer
to as the systematic single-entry bookkeeping method of enterprise cameralistics, the
performance result is not only reported via the payment side (balance sheet). It also
appears via the activity side (the profit and loss account), like it does when using the
merchant's double entry-bookkeeping method. Therefore, the systematic single-entry
bookkeeping method of enterprise cameralistics forms the basis of modified financial
accounts/performance accounts.

Administrative and enterprise cameralistics


Today there exist two main groups of cameral accounting, which both use the cameral
account . Historically (first phase from ca. 1500), cameral accounting was developed for
the governmental core administration (administrative cameralistics), and the main
objective of this form is to contribute to the control of public (tax) revenues within the
financial limits of a politically adopted budget (budgetary control). Moreover, controlling
that no money is received or paid without a previous payment instruction is also an
important objective of administrative cameralistics (payment control). Later, from about
1910 (fourth phase), administrative cameralistics was developed to enterprise
cameralistics for use in governmental enterprises. The purpose of the latter form is to
provide precisely the same type of information as the one prepared by using the
merchant's double-entry bookkeeping method and the merchant's double-sided accounts
(debit and credit sides), namely the preparation of performance accounts in the form an
income statement (profit and loss account) and an integrated comprehensive balance
sheet (balance account).

Administrative cameralistics has developed the single-entry bookkeeping method of


commercial accounting. While the latter method forms the basis of financial accounts
(see Figure 1), showing immediate cash inflows and outflows, the former method, which
I refer to as the single-entry bookkeeping method of administrative cameralistics, forms
the basis of financial accounts (see Figure 2), showing total revenues and expenditures
(i.e., immediate cash inflows and outflows and later cash inflows (accounts receivable)
and later cash outflows (liabilities)).

Using cameral accounting in governmental organizations, if one wants primarily to focus


on the financial effect of the revenues and expenditures. This is due to the fact that the
cameralist's bookkeeping methods use the principle of single-entry bookkeeping, which is
a principle forming the basis of financial accounts. On the other hand, if it turns out that
the primary focus in governmental organizations should be the performance effect of the
revenues and expenditures, one should consider using commercial accounting in the
governmental sector. The reason for this argument is the fact that commercial accounting,
using the merchant's double-entry bookkeeping method, forms the basis of performance
accounts.

ReferencesLee, T.A. (1986), Towards a Theory and Practice of Cash Flow Accounting.
New York and London: Garland Publishing, Inc.

Monsen, N. and Wallace, W.A. (1995), "Evolving Financial Reporting Practices: A


Comparative Study of the Nordic Countries' Harmonization Efforts", Contemporary
Accounting Research, 11 (2), pp. 973-997.

Chan, J.L. (2003), "Government Accounting: An Assessment of Theory, Purposes and


Standards", Public Money and Management.

Johns, R. (1951), Kameralistik. Grundlagen einer erwerbswirtschaftlichen Rechnung im


Kameralstil. Wiesbaden: Betriebswirtschaftlicher Verlag Dr. Th. Gabeler.
Walb, E. (1926), Die Erfolgsrechnung privater und öffentlicher Betriebe. Eine
Grundlegung. Berlin: Industriverlag Spaeth & Linde

CHINMOY GHOSH
LECTURER, ACCOUNTING AND FINANCE
KOLKATA, W.B.