Journal of Finance and Accounting. 2014, 2(2), 19-33DOI:
Abstract: In the last 25 years, financial reporting of Heritage Assets has become a highly problematic issue for the public sector entities holding those assets. Based on the New Public Management (NPM) practices, these entities are required to report to stakeholders on a model disclosing the economic values for all assets under their control. Whilst there exists an extensive prior literature focused on how heritage assets might be accounted for and whether the heritage assets are sufficiently different to merit different treatment, there is little that addresses the reporting of Heritage Assets from an alternative, financial and non-financial perspective. The methodology used in the paper is critical analysis of relevant literature, including the promulgations of accounting standard-setting agencies and related organizations. The paper critically analyzes the doctrines and ideologies of the NPM model, challenging its assumptions that private sector financial reporting requirements based on GAAP are appropriate to account for heritage assets. Instead, the paper proposes APractical Reporting Model based on an alternative metric for the recognition and measurement of the heritage assets, centered on a framework that suggests a set of broad stakeholder-driven social, legal and cultural, rather than only economic values for reporting the Heritage Assets. The proposed practical accounting approach for heritage assets has been based on two sub-approaches: 1- Assets-Liabilities Matching Approach: Capitalize if the information on cost or value of heritage assets is available and heritage assets can be disposed, and hence they can be used to match the liabilities (Unrestricted Heritage Assets). According to this approach, heritage assets should be included in the statement of financial position and their revenues and costs should be included in the statement of financial performance. 2- Non- Assets-Liabilities Matching Approach: Not-Capitalize if the information on cost or value is not available or available but heritage assets cannot be disposed, and hence they cannot be used to match the liabilities (Restricted Heritage Assets). According to this approach, heritage assets should not be included in statement of financial position and should be treated as trust/agent assets. Therefore, each country should create a Trust/Agent Assets Statement where heritage assets stated in this statement in physical units not in financial values. So in order to account for the revenues and costs related to heritage assets, each county should create a Trust Fund (Agent Fund). This fund will include all the revenues and costs related to heritage assets in each country. The balance of the trust fund would be reported as either a liability or an asset in the balance sheet.