Accounting or accountancy is the measurement and communication of financial information about economic entities such as businesses and corporations. The modern field was established by the Italian mathematician Luca Pacioli in 1494. Accounting, called the "language of business", measures the results of an organization's economic activities and conveys this information to a variety of users, including investors, creditors and regulators. Practitioners of accounting are known as accountants; the terms "accounting" and "financial reporting" are used as synonyms. Accounting can be divided into several fields including financial accounting, management accounting, external auditing, tax accounting and cost accounting. Accounting information systems are designed to support related activities. Financial accounting focuses on the reporting of an organization's financial information, including the preparation of financial statements, to the external users of the information, such as investors and suppliers.
The recording of financial transactions, so that summaries of the financials may be presented in financial reports, is known as bookkeeping, of which double-entry bookkeeping is the most common system. Accounting is facilitated by accounting organizations such as standard-setters, accounting firms and professional bodies. Financial statements are audited by accounting firms, are prepared in accordance with accepted accounting principles. GAAP is set by various standard-setting organizations such as the Financial Accounting Standards Board in the United States and the Financial Reporting Council in the United Kingdom; as of 2012, "all major economies" have plans to converge towards or adopt the International Financial Reporting Standards. The history of accounting is thousands of years old and can be traced to ancient civilizations; the early development of accounting dates back to ancient Mesopotamia, is related to developments in writing and money. By the time of Emperor Augustus, the Roman government had access to detailed financial information.
Double-entry bookkeeping was pioneered in the Jewish community of the early-medieval Middle East and was further refined in medieval Europe. With the development of joint-stock companies, accounting split into financial accounting and management accounting; the first work on a double-entry bookkeeping system was published by Luca Pacioli. Accounting began to transition into an organized profession in the nineteenth century, with local professional bodies in England merging to form the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales in 1880. Both the words accounting and accountancy were in use in Great Britain by the mid-1800s, are derived from the words accompting and accountantship used in the 18th century. In Middle English the verb "to account" had the form accounten, derived from the Old French word aconter, in turn related to the Vulgar Latin word computare, meaning "to reckon"; the base of computare is putare, which "variously meant to prune, to purify, to correct an account, hence, to count or calculate, as well as to think."The word "accountant" is derived from the French word compter, derived from the Italian and Latin word computare.
The word was written in English as "accomptant", but in process of time the word, always pronounced by dropping the "p", became changed both in pronunciation and in orthography to its present form. Accounting has variously been defined as the keeping or preparation of the financial records of an entity, the analysis and reporting of such records and "the principles and procedures of accounting". Accountancy refers to the occupation or profession of an accountant in British English. Accounting has several subfields or subject areas, including financial accounting, management accounting, auditing and accounting information systems. Financial accounting focuses on the reporting of an organization's financial information to external users of the information, such as investors, potential investors and creditors, it calculates and records business transactions and prepares financial statements for the external users in accordance with accepted accounting principles. GAAP, in turn, arises from the wide agreement between accounting theory and practice, change over time to meet the needs of decision-makers.
Financial accounting produces past-oriented reports—for example the financial statements prepared in 2006 reports on performance in 2005—on an annual or quarterly basis about the organization as a whole. This branch of accounting is studied as part of the board exams for qualifying as an actuary; these two types of professionals and actuaries, have created a culture of being archrivals. Management accounting focuses on the measurement and reporting of information that can help managers in making decisions to fulfill the goals of an organization. In management accounting, internal measures and reports are based on cost-benefit analysis, are not required to follow the accepted accounting principle. In 2014 CIMA created the Global Management Accounting Principles; the result of research from across 20 countries in five continents, the principles aim to guide best practice in the d
In marketing, brand management is the analysis and planning on how a brand is perceived in the market. Developing a good relationship with the target market is essential for brand management. Tangible elements of brand management include the product itself; the intangible elements are the experiences that the consumers share with the brand, the relationships they have with the brand. A brand manager would oversee all aspects of the consumer's brand association as well as relationships with members of the supply chain. In 2001, Hislop defined branding as "the process of creating a relationship or a connection between a company's product and emotional perception of the customer for the purpose of generating segregation among competition and building loyalty among customers." In 2004 and 2008, Kapferer and Keller defined it as a fulfillment in customer expectations and consistent customer satisfaction. Brand management is a function of marketing that uses special techniques in order to increase the perceived value of a product.
Based on the aims of the established marketing strategy, brand management enables the price of products to grow and builds loyal customers through positive associations and images or a strong awareness of the brand. Brand management is the process of identifying the core value of a particular brand and reflecting the core value among the targeted customers. In modern terms, brand could be corporate, service, or person. Brand management build brand credibility and credible brands only can build brand loyalty, bounce back from circumstantial crisis, can benefit from price-sensitive customers; the earliest origins of branding can be traced to pre-historic times. The practice may have first begun with the branding of farm animals in the middle East in the neolithic period. Stone Age and Bronze Age cave paintings depict images of branded cattle. Egyptian funerary artwork depicts branded animals. Over time, the practice was extended to marking personal property such as pottery or tools, some type of brand or insignia was attached to goods intended for trade.
Around 4,000 years ago, producers began by attaching simple stone seals to products which, over time, were transformed into clay seals bearing impressed images associated with the producer's personal identity thus giving the product a personality. Bevan and Wengrow have argued that branding became necessary following the urban revolution in ancient Mesopotamia in the 4th century BCE, when large-scale economies started mass-producing commodities such as alcoholic drinks and textiles; these ancient societies imposed strict forms of quality control over commodities, needed to convey value to the consumer through branding. Diana Twede has argued that the "consumer packaging functions of protection and communication have been necessary whenever packages were the object of transactions", she has shown that amphorae used in Mediterranean trade between 1500 and 500 BCE exhibited a wide variety of shapes and markings, which provided information for purchasers during exchange. Systematic use of stamped labels dates appears to date from around the fourth century BCE.
In a pre-literate society, the shape of the amphora and its pictorial markings functioned as a brand, conveying information about the contents, region of origin and the identity of the producer which were understood to convey information about product quality. A number of archaeological research studies have found extensive evidence of branding and labelling in antiquity. Archaeologists have identified some 1,000 different Roman potters' marks of the early Roman Empire, suggesting that branding was a widespread practice. In Pompeii, Umbricius Scauras, a manufacturer of fish sauce was branding his amphora which travelled across the entire Mediterranean. Mosaic patterns in the atrium of his house were decorated with images of amphora bearing his personal brand and quality claims; the mosaic comprises four different amphora, one at each corner of the atrium, bearing labels as follows: 1. G F SCO/ SCAURI/ EX OFFI/NA SCAU/RI Translated as "The flower of garum, made of the mackerel, a product of Scaurus, from the shop of Scaurus" 2.
LIQU/ FLOS Translated as: "The flower of Liquamen" 3. G F SCOM/ SCAURI Translated as: "The flower of garum, made of the mackerel, a product of Scaurus" 4. LIQUAMEN/ OPTIMUM/ EX OFFICI/A SCAURI Translated as: "The best liquamen, from the shop of Scaurus"Scauras' fish sauce was known to be of high quality across the Mediterranean and its reputation travelled as far away as modern France. Curtis has described this mosaic as a "an advertisement... and a rare, unequivocal example of a motif inspired by a patron, rather than by the artist."In Pompeii and nearby Herculaneum, archaeological evidence points to evidence of branding and labelling in common use. Wine jars, for example, were stamped with names, such as "Lassius" and "L. Eumachius. Carbonized loaves of bread, found at Herculaneum, indicate that some bakers stamped their bread with the producer's name and other information including the use, price or intended recipient; these markings demonstrate the public's need for product information in an complex market-place.
In the East, evidence of branding dates to an early period. Recent research suggests that Chinese merchants made extensive use of branding, packaging and retail signage. From as early as 200 BCE, Chinese packaging and branding was used to signal family, place names and product quality, the use of government imposed product branding was used betw
A brand is an overall experience of a customer that distinguishes an organization or product from its rivals in the eyes of the customer. Brands are used in business and advertising. Name brands are sometimes distinguished from generic or store brands; the practice of branding is thought to have begun with the ancient Egyptians, who were known to have engaged in livestock branding as early as 2,700 BCE. Branding was used to differentiate one person’s cattle from another's by means of a distinctive symbol burned into the animal’s skin with a hot branding iron. If a person stole any of the cattle, anyone else who saw the symbol could deduce the actual owner. However, the term has been extended to mean a strategic personality for a product or company, so that ‘brand’ now suggests the values and promises that a consumer may perceive and buy into. Over time, the practice of branding objects extended to a broader range of packaging and goods offered for sale including oil, wine and fish sauce. Branding in terms of painting a cow with symbols or colors at flea markets was considered to be one of the oldest forms of the practice.
Branding is a set of marketing and communication methods that help to distinguish a company or products from competitors, aiming to create a lasting impression in the minds of customers. The key components that form a brand's toolbox include a brand’s identity, brand communication, brand awareness, brand loyalty, various branding strategies. Many companies believe that there is little to differentiate between several types of products in the 21st century, therefore branding is one of a few remaining forms of product differentiation. Brand equity is the measurable totality of a brand's worth and is validated by assessing the effectiveness of these branding components; as markets become dynamic and fluctuating, brand equity is a marketing technique to increase customer satisfaction and customer loyalty, with side effects like reduced price sensitivity. A brand is, in essence, a promise to its customers of what they can expect from products and may include emotional as well as functional benefits.
When a customer is familiar with a brand, or favours it incomparably to its competitors, this is when a corporation has reached a high level of brand equity. Special accounting standards have been devised to assess brand equity. In accounting, a brand defined as an intangible asset, is the most valuable asset on a corporation’s balance sheet. Brand owners manage their brands to create shareholder value, brand valuation is an important management technique that ascribes a monetary value to a brand, allows marketing investment to be managed to maximize shareholder value. Although only acquired brands appear on a company's balance sheet, the notion of putting a value on a brand forces marketing leaders to be focused on long term stewardship of the brand and managing for value; the word ‘brand’ is used as a metonym referring to the company, identified with a brand. Marque or make are used to denote a brand of motor vehicle, which may be distinguished from a car model. A concept brand is a brand, associated with an abstract concept, like breast cancer awareness or environmentalism, rather than a specific product, service, or business.
A commodity brand is a brand associated with a commodity. The word, derives from its original and current meaning as a firebrand, a burning piece of wood; that word comes from the Old High German and Old English byrnan and brinnan via Middle English as birnan and brond. Torches were used to indelibly mark items such as furniture and pottery, to permanently burn identifying marks into the skin of slaves and livestock; the firebrands were replaced with branding irons. The marks themselves took on the term and came to be associated with craftsmen's products. Through that association, the term acquired its current meaning. Branding and labelling have an ancient history. Branding began with the practice of branding livestock in order to deter theft. Images of the branding of cattle occur in ancient Egyptian tombs dating to around 2,700 BCE. Over time, purchasers realised that the brand provided information about origin as well as about ownership, could serve as a guide to quality. Branding was adapted by farmers and traders for use on other types of goods such as pottery and ceramics.
Forms of branding or proto-branding emerged spontaneously and independently throughout Africa and Europe at different times, depending on local conditions. Seals, which acted as quasi-brands, have been found on early Chinese products of the Qin Dynasty. Identity marks, such as stamps on ceramics, were used in ancient Egypt. Diana Twede has argued that the "consumer packaging functions of protection and communication have been necessary whenever packages were the object of transactions", she has shown that amphorae used in Mediterranean trade between 1,500 and 500 BCE exhibited a wide variety of shapes and markings, which consumers used to glean information about the type of goods and the quality. Systematic use of stamped labels dates from around the fourth century BCE. In a pre-literate society, the shape of the amphora and its pictorial markings conveyed information about the contents, region of o
A trademark, trade mark, or trade-mark is a recognizable sign, design, or expression which identifies products or services of a particular source from those of others, although trademarks used to identify services are called service marks. The trademark owner can be business organization, or any legal entity. A trademark may be located on a label, a voucher, or on the product itself. For the sake of corporate identity, trademarks are displayed on company buildings; the first legislative act concerning trademarks was passed in 1266 under the reign of Henry III, requiring all bakers to use a distinctive mark for the bread they sold. The first modern trademark laws emerged in the late 19th century. In France the first comprehensive trademark system in the world was passed into law in 1857; the Trade Marks Act 1938 of the United Kingdom changed the system, permitting registration based on "intent-to-use”, creating an examination based process, creating an application publication system. The 1938 Act, which served as a model for similar legislation elsewhere, contained other novel concepts such as "associated trademarks", a consent to use system, a defensive mark system, non claiming right system.
The symbols ™ and ® can be used to indicate trademarks. A trademark identifies the brand owner of a particular service. Trademarks can be used by others under licensing agreements; the unauthorized usage of trademarks by producing and trading counterfeit consumer goods is known as brand piracy. The owner of a trademark may pursue legal action against trademark infringement. Most countries require formal registration of a trademark as a precondition for pursuing this type of action; the United States and other countries recognize common law trademark rights, which means action can be taken to protect an unregistered trademark if it is in use. Still, common law trademarks offer the holder, in general, less legal protection than registered trademarks. A trademark may be designated by the following symbols: ™ ℠ ® A trademark is a name, phrase, symbol, image, or a combination of these elements. There is a range of non-conventional trademarks comprising marks which do not fall into these standard categories, such as those based on colour, smell, or sound.
Trademarks which are considered offensive are rejected according to a nation's trademark law. The term trademark is used informally to refer to any distinguishing attribute by which an individual is identified, such as the well-known characteristics of celebrities; when a trademark is used in relation to services rather than products, it may sometimes be called a service mark in the United States. The essential function of a trademark is to identify the commercial source or origin of products or services, so a trademark, properly called, indicates source or serves as a badge of origin. In other words, trademarks serve to identify a particular business as the source of goods or services; the use of a trademark in this way is known as trademark use. Certain exclusive rights attach to a registered mark. Trademark rights arise out of the use of, or to maintain exclusive rights over, that sign in relation to certain products or services, assuming there are no other trademark objections. Different goods and services have been classified by the International Classification of Goods and Services into 45 Trademark Classes.
The idea behind this system is to specify and limit the extension of the intellectual property right by determining which goods or services are covered by the mark, to unify classification systems around the world. In trademark treatises it is reported that blacksmiths who made swords in the Roman Empire are thought of as being the first users of trademarks. Other notable trademarks that have been used for a long time include Löwenbräu, which claims use of its lion mark since 1383; the first trademark legislation was passed by the Parliament of England under the reign of King Henry III in 1266, which required all bakers to use a distinctive mark for the bread they sold. The first modern trademark laws emerged in the late 19th century. In France the first comprehensive trademark system in the world was passed into law in 1857 with the "Manufacture and Goods Mark Act". In Britain, the Merchandise Marks Act 1862 made it a criminal offence to imitate another's trade mark'with intent to defraud or to enable another to defraud'.
In 1875, the Trade Marks Registration Act was passed which allowed formal registration of trade marks at the UK Patent Office for the first time. Registration was considered to comprise prima facie evidence of ownership of a trade mark and registration of marks began on 1 January 1876; the 1875 Act defined a registrable trade mark as'a device, or mark, or name of an individual or firm printed in some particular and distinctive manner. In the United States, Congress first atte
International Organization for Standardization
The International Organization for Standardization is an international standard-setting body composed of representatives from various national standards organizations. Founded on 23 February 1947, the organization promotes worldwide proprietary and commercial standards, it is headquartered in Geneva and works in 164 countries. It was one of the first organizations granted general consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council; the International Organization for Standardization is an independent, non-governmental organization, the members of which are the standards organizations of the 164 member countries. It is the world's largest developer of voluntary international standards and facilitates world trade by providing common standards between nations. Over twenty thousand standards have been set covering everything from manufactured products and technology to food safety and healthcare. Use of the standards aids in the creation of products and services that are safe, reliable and of good quality.
The standards help businesses increase productivity while minimizing errors and waste. By enabling products from different markets to be directly compared, they facilitate companies in entering new markets and assist in the development of global trade on a fair basis; the standards serve to safeguard consumers and the end-users of products and services, ensuring that certified products conform to the minimum standards set internationally. The three official languages of the ISO are English and Russian; the name of the organization in French is Organisation internationale de normalisation, in Russian, Международная организация по стандартизации. ISO is not an acronym; the organization adopted ISO as its abbreviated name in reference to the Greek word isos, as its name in the three official languages would have different acronyms. During the founding meetings of the new organization, the Greek word explanation was not invoked, so this meaning may have been made public later. ISO gives this explanation of the name: "Because'International Organization for Standardization' would have different acronyms in different languages, our founders decided to give it the short form ISO.
ISO is derived from the Greek isos, meaning equal. Whatever the country, whatever the language, the short form of our name is always ISO."Both the name ISO and the ISO logo are registered trademarks, their use is restricted. The organization today known as ISO began in 1928 as the International Federation of the National Standardizing Associations, it was suspended in 1942 during World War II, but after the war ISA was approached by the formed United Nations Standards Coordinating Committee with a proposal to form a new global standards body. In October 1946, ISA and UNSCC delegates from 25 countries met in London and agreed to join forces to create the new International Organization for Standardization. ISO is a voluntary organization whose members are recognized authorities on standards, each one representing one country. Members meet annually at a General Assembly to discuss ISO's strategic objectives; the organization is coordinated by a Central Secretariat based in Geneva. A Council with a rotating membership of 20 member bodies provides guidance and governance, including setting the Central Secretariat's annual budget.
The Technical Management Board is responsible for over 250 technical committees, who develop the ISO standards. ISO has formed two joint committees with the International Electrotechnical Commission to develop standards and terminology in the areas of electrical and electronic related technologies. ISO/IEC Joint Technical Committee 1 was created in 1987 to "evelop, maintain and facilitate IT standards", where IT refers to information technology. ISO/IEC Joint Technical Committee 2 was created in 2009 for the purpose of "tandardization in the field of energy efficiency and renewable energy sources". ISO has 163 national members. ISO has three membership categories: Member bodies are national bodies considered the most representative standards body in each country; these are the only members of ISO. Correspondent members are countries; these members do not participate in standards promulgation. Subscriber members are countries with small economies, they can follow the development of standards. Participating members are called "P" members, as opposed to observing members, who are called "O" members.
ISO is funded by a combination of: Organizations that manage the specific projects or loan experts to participate in the technical work. Subscriptions from member bodies; these subscriptions are in proportion to each country's gross national trade figures. Sale of standards. ISO's main products are international standards. ISO publishes technical reports, technical specifications, publicly available specifications, technical corrigenda, guides. International standards These are designated using the format ISO nnnnn: Title, where nnnnn is the number of the standard, p is an optional part number, yyyy is the year published, Title describes the subject. IEC for International Electrotechnical Commission is included if the standard results from the work of ISO/IEC JTC1. ASTM is used for standards developed in cooperation with ASTM International. Yyyy and IS are not used for an incomplete or unpublished standard and may under some
Financial statements are formal records of the financial activities and position of a business, person, or other entity. Relevant financial information is presented in a structured manner and in a form, easy to understand, they include four basic financial statements accompanied by a management discussion and analysis: A balance sheet or statement of financial position, reports on a company's assets and owners equity at a given point in time. An income statement—or profit and loss report, or statement of comprehensive income, or statement of revenue & expense—reports on a company's income and profits over a stated period of time. A profit and loss statement provides information on the operation of the enterprise; these include the various expenses incurred during the stated period. A statement of changes in equity or equity statement, or statement of retained earnings, reports on the changes in equity of the company over a stated period of time. A cash flow statement reports on a company's cash flow activities its operating and financing activities over a stated period of time.
For large corporations, these statements may be complex and may include an extensive set of footnotes to the financial statements and management discussion and analysis. The notes describe each item on the balance sheet, income statement and cash flow statement in further detail. Notes to financial statements are considered an integral part of the financial statements. "The objective of financial statements is to provide information about the financial position and changes in financial position of an enterprise, useful to a wide range of users in making economic decisions." Financial statements should be understandable, relevant and comparable. Reported assets, equity and expenses are directly related to an organization's financial position. Financial statements are intended to be understandable by readers who have "a reasonable knowledge of business and economic activities and accounting and who are willing to study the information diligently." Financial statements may be used by users for different purposes: Owners and managers require financial statements to make important business decisions that affect its continued operations.
Financial analysis is performed on these statements to provide management with a more detailed understanding of the figures. These statements are used as part of management's annual report to the stockholders. Employees need these reports in making collective bargaining agreements with the management, in the case of labor unions or for individuals in discussing their compensation and rankings. Prospective investors make use of financial statements to assess the viability of investing in a business. Financial analyses are used by investors and are prepared by professionals, thus providing them with the basis for making investment decisions. Financial institutions use them to decide whether to grant a company with fresh working capital or extend debt securities to finance expansion and other significant expenditures. Consolidated financial statements are defined as "Financial statements of a group in which the assets, equity, income and cash flows of the parent and its subsidiaries are presented as those of a single economic entity", according to International Accounting Standard 27 "Consolidated and separate financial statements", International Financial Reporting Standard 10 "Consolidated financial statements".
The rules for the recording and presentation of government financial statements may be different from those required for business and for non-profit organizations. They may use either of two accounting methods: accrual accounting, or cost accounting, or a combination of the two. A complete set of chart of accounts is used, different from the chart of a profit-oriented business. Personal financial statements may be required from persons applying for a personal loan or financial aid. A personal financial statement consists of a single form for reporting held assets and liabilities, or personal sources of income and expenses, or both; the form to be filled out is determined by the organization supplying the aid. Although laws differ from country to country, an audit of the financial statements of a public company is required for investment and tax purposes; these are performed by independent accountants or auditing firms. Results of the audit are summarized in an audit report that either provide an unqualified opinion on the financial statements or qualifications as to its fairness and accuracy.
The audit opinion on the financial statements is included in the annual report. There has been much legal debate over. Since audit reports tend to be addressed to the current shareholders, it is thought that they owe a legal duty of care to them, but this may not be the case as determined by common law precedent. In Canada, auditors are liable only to investors using a prospectus to buy shares in the primary market. In the United Kingdom, they have been held liable to potential investors when the auditor was aware of the potential investor and how they would use the information in the financial statements. Nowadays auditors tend to include in their report liability restrict
Transparency, as used in science, business, the humanities and in other social contexts, is operating in such a way that it is easy for others to see what actions are performed. Transparency implies openness and accountability. Transparency is practiced in companies, organizations and communities. For example, a cashier making change after a point of sale transaction by offering a record of the items purchased as well as counting out the customer's change on the counter demonstrates one type of transparency; the term transparency has a different meaning in information security where it is used to describe security mechanisms that are intentionally in-detectable or hidden from view. Examples include hiding utilities and tools which the user does not need to know in order to do their job, like keeping the remote re-authentication operations of Challenge Handshake Authentication Protocol hidden from the user. In Norway and in Sweden, tax authorities annually release the "skatteliste" or "tax list".
Regulations in Hong Kong require banks to list their top earners – without naming them – by pay band. In 2009, the Spanish government for the first time released information on how much each cabinet member is worth, but data on ordinary citizens is private. Radical transparency is a management method where nearly all decision making is carried out publicly. All draft documents, all arguments for and against a proposal, all final decisions, the decision making process itself are made public and remain publicly archived; this approach has grown in popularity with the rise of the Internet. Two examples of organizations utilizing this style are Indymedia. Corporate transparency, a form of radical transparency, is the concept of removing all barriers to —and the facilitating of— free and easy public access to corporate information and the laws, social connivance and processes that facilitate and protect those individuals and corporations that join and improve the process. Accountability and transparency are of high relevance for non-governmental organisations.
In view of their responsibilities to stakeholders, including donors, programme beneficiaries, staff and the public, they are considered to be of greater importance to them than to commercial undertakings. Yet these same values are found to be lacking in NGOs; the International NGO Accountability Charter, linked to the Global Reporting Initiative, documents the commitment of its members international NGOs to accountability and transparency, requiring them to submit an annual report, among others. Signed in 2006 by 11 NGOs active in the area of humanitarian rights, the INGO Accountability Charter has been referred to as the “first global accountability charter for the non-profit sector”. In 1997, the One World Trust created an NGO Charter, a code of conduct comprising commitment to accountability and transparency. Media transparency is the concept of determining how and why information is conveyed through various means. If the media and the public knows everything that happens in all authorities and county administrations there will be a lot of questions and suggestions coming from media and the public.
People who are interested in a certain issue will try to influence the decisions. Transparency creates an everyday participation in the political processes by the public. One tool used to increase everyday participation in political processes is freedom of information legislation and requests. Modern democracy builds on such participation of the media. There are, for anybody, interested, many ways to influence the decisions at all levels in society; the right and the means to examine the process of decision making is known as transparency. In politics, transparency is used as a means of holding public officials accountable and fighting corruption; when a government's meetings are open to the press and the public, its budgets may be reviewed by anyone, its laws and decisions are open to discussion, it is seen as transparent. It is not clear however if this provides less opportunity for the authorities to abuse the system for their own interests; when military authorities classify their plans as secret, transparency is absent.
This can be seen as either negative. While a liberal democracy can be a plutocracy, where decisions are made behind locked doors and the people have fewer possibilities to influence politics between the elections, a participative democracy is more connected to the will of the people. Participative democracy, built on transparency and everyday participation, has been used in northern Europe for decades. In the northern European country Sweden, public access to government documents became a law as early as 1766, it has been adopted as an ideal to strive for by the rest of EU, leading to measures like freedom of information laws and laws for lobby transparency. To promote transparency in politics, Hans Peter Martin, Paul van Buitenen and Ashley Mote decided to cooperate under the name Platform for Transparency in 2005. Similar organizations that promotes transparency are Transparency International and the Sunlight Foundation. A recent political movement to emerge in conjunction with the demands for transparency is the Pirate Party, a label for a number of political parties across different countries who advocate freedom of information, direct democracy, network neutrality, the free sharing of knowledge.
21st century culture affords a h