Paola Richter Londero
Doctorate – Recognition, measurement and evidence of the economic and social returns generated by agricultural cooperative societies to their members
Advisor: Prof. Dr. Ariovaldo dos Santos
Comission: Profs. Drs. Eliseu Martins, Flavio Leonel de Carvalho and Maurício Ribeiro do Valle
Class: 217, FEA-5
Upon joining a cooperative, the new member acquires property rights, consisting of the right to control, the right to obtain the return and the right to be a user of the organization’s structure. The performance of the cooperative member as a user allows other return strategies, other than business waste, to be used, such as: price and assistance strategies. However, the understanding of different return strategies considering the members perspective as users not always clear, since accounting uses mercantile logic in the accounting process offered to economic and social returns, reflecting the theory of the firm, where business waste is the only synonym for return and business success. Thus, the research aims to analyze the accounting treatment used in the economic and social returns generated by agricultural cooperatives, discuss its consequences and limitations, as well as propose suggestions for treatment alternatives. Based on the analysis of the financial statements published by 55 cooperatives present in the list of 400 companies in the agribusiness branch of Revista Exame - Melhores e Maiores 2016, This revealed that few cooperatives inform return strategies via price and assistance, low use of the interest on equity strategy, and the need to standardize accounting procedures. Also, contributions on accounting treatment, consequences, limitations and suggestions were raised through 45 interviews with representatives of the cooperative movement: accountants and presidents / directors of cooperatives, tax advisors, auditors and researchers of the movement. The results show that the cooperative members tend to require strategies via price, consistent with their short-term orientation and competition imposed by the market, but at the same time, they have difficulty perceiving the price differential as a direct return and also measuring this return. On the other hand, managers choose strategies via corporate waste, such as leftovers, depending on their role as market regulator, need for investment and market pressures and the results of the cooperative themselves, which makes it difficult to apply the “Zero’s theory” and causes a process of isomorphism in which the cooperatives tend to perform seeking recognition or reputation.. Regarding the accounting process to recognition economic and social returns, it is possible to verify the traditional accounting limits recognition of return strategies via price and assistance. Therefore, limits their use and understanding by members. The inclusion of a return distribution statement to the member as part of the cooperative's management report would be a solution for the traditional accounting limitations. Finally, there is evidence of the need for cooperative education and accounting training for members, enabling the understanding of accounting information and stimulating effective participation in accountability, in a way the accounting and financial information could serve its purpose and would be used in decision-making process of the members.
*Abstract provided by the author