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Accounting in the Absence of Numbers

Chapter

Abstract

This chapter rests upon Badiou’s Number Theory to question management accounting’s alleged mathematical roots and tools. It is shown that long-expressed academic concerns about the failure of financial reports to capture the performance of the entities they claim to portray have gained practical and political significance over years. Allegations were made not only that financial reports did not portray financial realities, but also that they actually contributed to the crisis. This chapter demonstrates that the accounting numbers contained in management accounting reports in their present form can never capture the economic activity they purport to portray, because they do not have the mathematical properties of numbers. This understanding of numbers highlights the significance of this for the future of management accounting.

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© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Grenoble École de ManagementGrenobleFrance

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