Using the most available literature, this viewpoint takes and supports the argument that public cultural, heritage and scientific collections of not-for-profit cultural heritage or arts institutions are non-financial resources, expressly in the specific organisational and social contexts in which they are held, for preservation, conversation and protection into perpetuity. These collections are, therefore, not “assets” or “heritage assets” for recognition in statement of financial position.
To clarify and augment the literature in developing better understanding of how the monetary valuation of public cultural, heritage and scientific collections for general purpose financial reporting purposes is both not fit-for-purpose in these contexts and at least potentially misleading to stakeholders.
The evaluation of this public sector financial reporting issue portrays to be fit-for-purpose in its social and organisational contexts in which public, non-profit collecting institutions operate. Accounting's role is not the change contexts in the public sector into settings which they are, in substance, not.
To contribute to the overcoming of controversy by illuminating to both accounting professionals and heritage professionals the vexed issues involved in its ongoing discussion and debate. It is argued that there is no need for any accounting standard to be issued on this topic, which would lead to financial values being placed on non-financial cultural, heritage and scientific collections resources in statements of financial position, thereby misrepresenting these collections.
The authors are grateful to the anonomyous reviewers for their helpful and constructive comments on earlier iterations of this viewpoint.
Carnegie, G.D. and Kudo, E. (2023), "Whither monetary values of public cultural, heritage and scientific collections for financial reporting purposes", Journal of Public Budgeting, Accounting & Financial Management, Vol. 35 No. 2, pp. 192-197. https://doi.org/10.1108/JPBAFM-05-2022-0092
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