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plan to attempt to base the charges for depreciation on the profits, as it is liable to result in either an excessive or an inadequate charge.
Some of our clients, for convenience in figuring monthly costs, use a rate for depreciation based on production. This distributes the cost more evenly between different plants and dull periods of the year, and does not show an excessive cost for product made when any plants are only working part of the time. This rate, however, is uniform throughout the year and fixed at a rate which it is assumed will give approximately a correct total charge for depreciation for the year, based on the value of the plants and is not subject to change on the financial result of the year's operations.
WRIGHT, MENDENHALL & WRIGHT. Kansas City, Mo., November 13, 1914.
[The problem of depreciation is to distribute the aggregate loss from the exhaustion of the useful life over the term of that life as equitably as possible. There is wide room for argument as to whether the best measure for such distribution is time, use or possibly even profitable
Accountants generally advocate substantial accuracy modified by conservatism rather than exact adherence to abstract theory as a basis for treatment of this element. While, therefore, they would not sanction a charge smaller than that based on time or use on the ground that the operations to date had been less profitable than was to be expected in the future, they will approve a charge in a company's annual accounts greater than that based on time or use when profits are large and in such cases cannot in justice deny a corresponding relief in a later period when profits are less. As to the specific case of the United States Steel Corporation, it is generally understood that in some years its charges for depreciation were higher than were absolutely necessary and the auditors in their certificate as to operation for 1911 state that “having regard to the curtailment of operations during the year and to the amounts set aside in previous years, the provision made for depreciation and extinguishment is in our opinion fair and reasonable"-previous certificates having stated that the provision for depreciation and extinguishment was ample. A member of the firm which audits the United States Steel Corporation has expressed his views in a published work as follows;_"Conservative policy would, under these circumstances, aim at ample provision in years of good profits, while maintaining the estimated minimum in hard times; such a policy builds up ample reserves which will often be useful in tiding over long periods of depression, and generally conserving and strengthening the business against unforeseen contingencies which may easily bring less conservative concerns to disaster. While a greater approach to scientific accuracy in all such matters is much to be desired real safety lies rather in an ample provision than in a strictly accurate one."Editor, THE JOURNAL OF ACCOUNTANCY.)
A man giving the name of Hood has been canvassing in New York, Rome, Albany, Pittsburgh and Cleveland offering THE JOURNAL OF AcCOUNTANCY at $1.50 per annum together with certain books on accountancy. Since a notice to this effect was published in The JOURNAL OF ACCOUNTANCY the impostor has changed his name to William Byrnes and is now representing himself as an agent of New York University as well as a canvasser for THE JOURNAL OF ACCOUNTANCY. If readers receive information relative to the whereabouts of this man they will confer a kindness by notifying the publishing office of THE JOURNAL OF ACCOUNTANCY. Chicago accountants will probably receive a call from the impostor in the near future as he seems to be working his way in that direction.
The Incorporated Accountants' Year Book, issued by the council of the Society of Incorporated Accountants and Auditors, is published for 1914-1915. It contains the names of 2,170 members. Of these 2,086 are in England and Wales, 117 in Scotland, 66 in Ireland, and 441 in other British possessions and foreign countries. The society has district organizations in thirteen of the leading towns of the United Kingdom, and there are also branch societies of incorporated accountants in Scotland, Ireland, Australia, South Africa and Canada.
Clinton H. Scovell & Company, certified public accountants, announce the opening of branch offices at 293 Bridge Street, Springfield, Mass., under the management of Frank L. Willis, C. P. A.; in New York in combination with Wright, Schooley & Morse in the Woolworth Building, under the management of A. J. Moyer, C. P. A.; and in Chicago at 72 West Adams Street, under the management of Frederick S. Willett.
The partnership of Bird & Carlson, certified public accountants, Philadelphia, has been dissolved by mutual consent. Mr. Carlson has withdrawn from the firm and Mr. Bird will continue in practice at the old address, Land Title Building.
It is announced that the name of the firm of Leslie & Company, chartered accountants, of 128 Broadway, New York and Meigs Building, Bridgeport, Conn., has been changed and will hereafter be known as Leslie, Banks & Company.
Hubert Reade & Company, chartered accountants, announce that they have removed their offices from 12 Royal Bank Building to 407-408 Quebec Bank Building, Portage Avenue, Winnipeg, Manitoba.
Stratton & Ray announce that they have moved to new offices at 12 Hogan Street, Jacksonville, Fla.