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The system of double entry bookkeeping is dated to the year 1494. It is actually older, because in that year, only a book is published in Florence, has described the accounting of Venetian merchants. There arises the question of whether and how the system of double entry bookkeeping of 1494 can be replaced by a new system after at least 520 years, that combines the principles of proper accounting according to Sect 238 of German Commercial Code with the current technical possibilities.

For this reason Prof. Dr. Werner Müller was given the approval for the exemption for the realisation of a special research project by his teaching and exam obligations for the winter semester in 2014/15 with unanimously decision of the faculty council of Faculty of Economics of University of Applied Sciences in Mainz from the 9th of April, 2014 due to Sect. 53 paragraph 1 HSchG-RLP (university law – Rhineland-Palatinate). The title of his research project is: 

Accounting without accountant 
Organisation of the accountancy of virtually acting enterprises


The research question is:
Can the processes related to the bookkeeping and accounting of virtual operating enterprises described so completely in an opinion ref. Sect. 6 No. 1 German Law on Tax Advisory (StBerG) that the accounting can be reduced to purely mechanical operations due to Sect. 6 No. 3 StBerG and then maybe even done by macros automatically?

The question may be interesting in particular for sales platforms in the Internet. For example a holiday apartment is becoming more common booked in the Internet or a pizza is ordered there. According to the "Wirtschaftswoche" (Andreas Dornfelder, pizza brokers increase commissions, 31.08.2013, http: www.wiwo.de/unternehmen/dienstleister/lieferdienste-pizzavermittler-erhoehenprovisionen/8720426.html) the three largest online brokers for pizza delivery services, Lieferando.de, Pizza.de and Lieferheld.de together have 95% market share. They have exploited this dominant position in the summer of 2013, dramatically increasing their commissions and the delivery of services to bring in economic difficulties.


There are other reports, see:
http://www.golem.de/news/online-lieferdienste-mehr-provision-pro-pizza-1309-101309.html
http://www.internetworld.de/Heftarchiv/2013/Ausgabe-19-2013/Satte-Preiserhoehung
http://www.geektown.de/online-lieferanbieter-fordern-hohere-provisionen-von-bringdiensten

Due to the increasing importance of the Internet in the acquisition of orders from private individuals the described event can also be repeated in other sectors. A strategy against this could be, if an industry organised their own sales platform themselves, for example, via a cooperative.

As scenario of the research project should be assumed, that private bed & Breakfast with such a construction in the Internet will be offered in a ski resort. The profits from the arrangement would then distributed via a sales refund to the members of the cooperative. This company would work virtually, i.e. without their own staff and their own rooms. It would then but are faced with the problem that according to Sect. 1 par. 2 No. 2 StBerG "assistance in the management of accounts and records, as well as the composition of financial statements, which are for the taxation of importance..." may be done only by tax advisors. Thus would make the administrative costs of this virtual companies very expensive.

The solution might be seen in Sect. 6 StBerG, stating that according to no. 1 "the scientifically reasoned opinion" and no. 3 "the implementation of mechanical operations in the books and record keeping, which are for the taxation of importance" are excluded from the prohibition of unauthorized assistance in tax matters. In establishing a distribution platform could in an opinion after no. 1 with attached files accounting as far as possible before be structured and the directors or Managing Director of the virtual working company fill only data and then run only mechanical operations after no. 3 would be, who should assume also an Office-Operations-Service.

In the present research project, exclusively the question of this detail is to be clarified, but is building a virtual operating company of central importance. This question can be answered using the scientific method of the experiment and clarified, how to organize these processes in detail. This should be taken broadly as follows:

1. it is to define a fictional virtual company and its market environment.
2. the master data organization (chart of accounts, cost center) are to set
3. In the context of the market environment, the business transactions are to define completely.
4. for the regular business transactions finishes the data sets generated from the sales platform and the positions of the bank statements into the spreadsheet developed, are from the records produced with the booking entries for financial accounting (accounting).
5 for monthly and quarterly financial statements, in particular periodisation, are generated in the spreadsheet summaries and recorded automatically into a range of accounts not taken in the financial statements.
6 tables are designed for the valuation of assets and liabilities in the context of the conclusion of the year in which the directors or managing directors enter their reviews. Depreciation (probably only in relation to relevant software) can be developed from the acquisition cost, provided that no impairment losses are required. From these entries, produced records with the booking entries for the accounting.
7. the necessary operating steps in the ERP software, in particular for the printing of journals, accounts and reports, are recorded in detailed work instructions, that can be reproduced by
unskilled.
8. There are approaches for internal accounting to describe. Because this is not regulated by the StBerG, the individual steps to are not closely as a mechanical operation to describe.

The progress of the project should be reported at the site
http://prof-dr-mueller.jimdo.com/forschungsprojekt/.

More than 11 years ago Prof. Müller was made a fully-fledged accounting software for teaching and research purposes by a medium-sized software house available. A preliminary version was already a company in operation, whose management he had heard 25 years ago. It has in particular a flexible standard interface, of any kind can be read by booking rates. This tool would be appropriate to initiate an almost complete automation of accounting. The research question could be with a simple but plausible and complete sample positive answer, this would be a template for the possible extension to other sectors (with their own staff and rooms) with relatively simple situation. In the medium term raised the question would whether or how the system of double entry of 1494 after at least 520 years can be replaced by a new system that combines the principles of proper accounting with the current technical possibilities. At least as alternative procedures for small and medium-sized enterprises it could be a useful solution. This question only raised, can be answered in one research semester but not substantiated.

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