Human resource accounting

An often-heard phrase in business is that a company’s employees are their most important asset. Nobel Prize-winner Gary Becker is quoted as saying, “the basic resource in any company is the people. The most successful companies … will be those that manage human capital in the most effective and efficient manner” (Brocaglia, 2006, p. 2). However, where in the financial statements do we account for this value? Employees are accounted for in terms of the cost of salaries and benefits. Even the financial ratios mentioned in the background materials measure mostly costs.

This discussion is broken into topics for Week 1 and Week 2. You must participate in both topics to get full credit.

Week 1: Does labeling employees as human resources make them more an investment in the future rather than a current cost? Are employees an asset or expense? How do you define the value of a company’s employees? What about the ethics of treating employees, who are, after all, responsible moral human beings, as costs? Does placing a value on human capital promote or demean human dignity?

 

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