Imagine a map. Imagine yourself folding the map.

Now imagine an economist who, seeing the crease, complains about the canyon you just dug in the middle of someone’s corn field.

The actual headline read “Shocking New Accounting Rules.” Published in The Economist (8/19/2010), which really should know better, it explains that IASB (the International Accounting Standards Board) and FASB (America’s Financial Accounting Standards Board) are re-thinking the rules for booking operating leases, treating them much more like capital leases.

Imagine Pacioli took a different tack.

You remember Pacioli. Italian guy. A friar. Invented modern accounting five centuries ago, give or take a few years. Ring a bell?

We still keep the books the Pacioli way. It’s why, when you buy a computer, you credit cash and debit tangible assets but when you train an employee you credit cash and debit training expenses.

Computers appear on the balance sheet. Employees don’t. Their skills, knowledge, judgment, loyalty and drive don’t appear as balance sheet assets.

Imagine they did