The Entrepreneurial Advantages of Building Human Capital While Young.

While you were young, did you gain knowledge and learn skills that gave you the human capital necessary to become an entrepreneur or a small business owner? Human capital consists of the knowledge and habits developed as a youngster that form skillsets that later in life can be used in the business world. These skills are developed either through the family unit, culture, or regional location and determine the success or failure of entrepreneurial pursuits and performance. In the young, the development of skills and knowledge are applicable to future ventures in entrepreneurship or small business ownership.

Everything you learned from family dinner conversations and your culture served to build your human capital. Across the globe, the people of various regions cultivate certain skills that enable individuals to consider entrepreneurship as a viable choice of work. Some of you never had the social or family setting that gave you entrepreneurial insights. Some people get this while they are young, and some do not. Acquiring human capital at a certain age bolsters the chance of entering entrepreneurship or small business ownership. If human capital or business insights are not embedded culturally or acquired at a certain point, some individuals will never consider entrepreneurship or be successful at it.

We cannot all become successful entrepreneurs, especially if only a few of us come from a cultural background that rewards an ethic of hard work and related values versus a cultural background in which achieving entrepreneurial success is never even thought of.1 What is valued in the family unit and what is rewarded or praised contributes to our future entrepreneurial skills. Ludwig von Mises noted, “the inequality of men, which is due to differences both in their inborn qualities and in the vicissitudes of their lives, manifests itself.”2 The region of the world in which one lives and the context of the acquired human capital skills are equally vital to having an entrepreneurial skillset.

We hear from many entrepreneurs, and those who are not entrepreneurs per se, that much of their education occurred around the family dinner table, or that they lived in a place where small business activity was plentiful.3 Human capital that is based on family, culture, and regional differences has consequential effects for many considering entrepreneurship.

Cultural factors are critical in developing entrepreneurship. Often these cultural factors are overshadowed by the technical aspects of operating a business—the seen versus the unseen. Parents and the elderly pass on their values to their children, values such as taking risks, being independent, challenging uncertainty, etc. Children who are rewarded or not rewarded will either be encouraged or discouraged to pursue entrepreneurial activities in the marketplace. If a child is never taught to be independent, how is he or she able to systemically think of and identify potential profit opportunities and bring opportunities to fruition?

Habits form over time, and many are culturally based. In some cultures, some children spend up to twelve hours a day playing videogames and entertaining themselves on social media. In other cultures, children are expected to work long hours helping mom and dad with their business or studying to earn the best grade. These youths may work at an uncle’s garage learning all about vehicles or attend college to gain business knowledge. In either situation, these youths are learning about private property, e-commerce, revenues, profit and loss, bookkeeping, and so on—gaining skillsets and knowledge in order to run a business of their own in the future.

Generally, whatever is cultivated in the family unit and culture will manifest and have consequences in the marketplace. Children who acquire a work ethic and values related to entrepreneurial success will have an advantage over their peers who have not had the same experience. The children who have not learned these things will have a much later start or never acquire the skills and the know-how needed to pursue entrepreneurship or small business ownership.

Not everyone has an equal opportunity to become an entrepreneur, as some must acquire a collection of basic skills, knowledge, and habits that may take decades to develop. Taking risks, working longer hours, and making critical decisions require a certain upbringing. Entrepreneurs are not created overnight but over time. However, ten years of working with mom, dad, or an uncle as a youth, gaining practical knowledge, surely provides advantages later in life.

We cannot disregard the location and region in which we lived during the time of our early human capital acquisition. Being located in one region of the earth versus another can surely impact our ability to develop a predisposition or entrepreneurial insights needed for entrepreneurial behavior. Perhaps we live in an area where several industries exist. Being surrounded by these industries allows us to either work for or start a business in a vein that is familiar to us.

As with any location or local market, our human capital can be stymied in a region or location where a product or service is not valued or not supported although it might be highly valued in another market (i.e., if one has to take their product knowledge to another region where the consumers have higher subjective valuations of their productive goods or services).

Unfortunately, the opportunity to attain the same human capital at the same time and place that leads to entrepreneurship is not equally available to everyone. Without the requisite human capital, one can only dream of becoming a successful entrepreneur or business owner. Families and family cultures vary among peoples across the globe, and so does the dissemination of knowledge at the family dinner table. We all come from backgrounds that either reward or punish certain behaviors that later transform into predispositions and values that underpin our ability to, at a minimum, think like and be an entrepreneur. Ludwig von Mises said that entrepreneurs “owe their position exclusively to the fact that they are a better fit for the performance of the functions incumbent upon them than other people are.”4 An interpretation of Mises on this point is that the skills and knowledge develop over time that enable entrepreneurs to uniquely perform the production of products and services for the consumer.

  • 1.See Thomas Sowell’s The Quest for Cosmic Justice. In the section titled “Freedom versus Equality,” he discusses equal performance and social barriers.
  • 2.See Ludwig von Mises’ Planning for Freedom.
  • 3.See Ryan McMaken’s article “Three Economics Lessons I Learned from My Dad.” For example, three lessons that he learned were: lower the cost of doing business, politicians drive up the cost, and the world is always changing.
  • 4.See Ludwig von Mises’s Human Action on the Entrepreneurial Function.

Raushan Gross

Raushan Gross is an Associate Professor of Business Management at Pfeiffer University

54. Steve Mariotti: Teaching Entrepreneurship as the Universal Route to a Better Life.

Can entrepreneurship be learned? We’d like to believe it can, since entrepreneurs drive economic growth – creating tomorrow as Per Bylund puts it – and betterment for their individual customers and for society.

Key Takeaways and Actionable Insights

Emergent circumstances placed Steve Mariotti in the position of teaching entrepreneurship to boys and girls in the nation’s toughest high school. After some trial and error, here’s what he established.

There’s a universal desire for the fruits of entrepreneurship. Steve classified this desire as a drive to escape poverty.

You are restricted from ownership, and all the feelings of pride and fulfillment that come with it, when you are poor. Ownership – what economists call private property – is an exciting prospect. If entrepreneurship provides a route, people will take it.

Steve’s innovative entrepreneurship curriculum generated intense excitement.

He had difficulty in commanding attention for English and Math, but the same students who resisted conventional learning were stimulated and energized by the subject of entrepreneurship.

The open door to learning entrepreneurship is understanding market pricing.

Steve started the entrepreneurial journey for students with thinking about pricing of an everyday product – in his case, wristwatches. Why are there so many prices for wristwatches? Why are there so many kinds of wristwatches at different price points? Why is it that one person would pay a high price for one kind of wristwatch and another person would refuse, preferring an alternative at a different price? Just thinking about pricing in this way was a revelation.

Thinking about pricing can lead to an understanding of unit economics.

Entrepreneurs need to know two prices – the one the buyer will pay and the one that represents their cost. Steve quickly established that this knowledge is harder to establish. Is there a profit in the priced transaction for the entrepreneur once all costs – of time, money, effort and alternatives – are taken into account. This requires an understanding of sourcing and supply chains, wholesalers and vendors, direct and indirect costs and overhead, as well as personal preferences (do you really want to spend all the time and effort that the business will require of you?)

High schools are resistant to teaching entrepreneurship, and Steve’s students were constrained by regulation and authority.

“You may not talk about money in the classroom.” These and other restrictions were typical of the barriers Steve faced – and faced down. Entrepreneurship is one of the most relevant skills to impart to high schoolers, and yet the subject was viewed with disdain.

Steve emphasizes practicality as the critical foundation for teaching entrepreneurship.

He taught his kids unit economics, profit and loss, simple accounting and the practicalities of starting, growing and managing a business. No theory. Everyone in his class succeeded with a starter business. Many went on to greater entrepreneurial success.

Steve has taught entrepreneurship all over the world, and found that culture matters a great deal.

In post-communist Russia, young people could not grasp supply and demand, entrepreneurial profit and unit economics. The labor theory of value had been brainwashed into them.

In post-communist Vietnam, in contrast, people thronged to his teaching and eagerly pursued all the behavioral changes he advocated, both at the entrepreneurial level and the government administrative level (like adopting low, simple tax schemes). Theirs was a more receptive culture.

Items Mentioned In This Episode

Steve’s Book Goodbye Homeboy –  Click Here
Steve’s Book Entrepreneurship: Starting and Operating A Small BusinessClick Here
Austrian Entrepreneur’s Journey Course – Click Here

Free Downloads & Extras

The Role of Knowledge In Entrepreneurship: Our Free E4E Knowledge Graphic
Understanding The Mind of The Customer: Our Free E-Book

Start Your Own Entrepreneurial Journey

Ready to put Austrian Economics knowledge from the podcast to work for your business? Start your own entrepreneurial journey.

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53. The Entrepreneurial Ethic: What Drives Entrepreneurs to Create the Future?

Non-one has thought more deeply about the entrepreneurial ethic than Per Bylund. The subject is critical for understanding the source of energy in the free market system, the sources of economic growth, the creation of value, the making of a just and moral society, and the success of individuals and firms who make the commitment to entrepreneurship.

This week on Episode #53 of the Economics for Entrepreneurs Podcast, I talked to Per about these deeply important subjects.

Key Takeaways And Actionable Insights

The role of the entrepreneur is vital to economic growth, individual well-being and social cohesion. But individual entrepreneurs are not trying to grow the economy or promote a better society. Their goals are individual – to serve one customer by improving their lives with better service and innovation directed at meeting their needs and wants.

Entrepreneurs create the future…

Tomorrow will be different. Tomorrow is created by entrepreneurs. From the high street store owner introducing new inventory to the high tech founder introducing new features, entrepreneurs actively participate in changing the future to the way they want it to be.

…and thereby change the world.

Real change happens through value exchange in the marketplace, facilitated by real entrepreneurs. Changing the world is a matter of responding to customer dissatisfactions, and not false impulses like so-called “social entrepreneurship”.

The Entrepreneurial Ethic Infographic Sample

Click on the image to download the Full PDF Infographic.

To create tomorrow, follow the entrepreneurial ethic.

The entrepreneurial ethic is the belief in taking action to deliver an experience of value to the customer. Customers always feel that things could be better in some aspect of their lives. Entrepreneurs are people who bring that betterment. They do so voluntarily, without fraud or coercion, or deception. Their ethic is to improve the lives of one customer at a time, and then eventually a whole segment of customers, and ultimately of all customers. One entrepreneur serving one customer leaves resources available for another entrepreneur to help another customer. It all rolls up to a better society.

The mechanism of the entrepreneurial ethic is customer betterment.

Entrepreneurs decide on principles for their business – how are they going to facilitate value – and then seek mechanisms to implement their principles. They put theory into practice, operationalizing the Austrian economics idea of the economy as a process for getting to customer satisfaction. For example, they apply Austrian Capital Theory by always making sure that any investment they make in their business contributes to customer betterment. If it’s not important for the customer, they don’t make the investment. If it is, they do. Customer sovereignty is the theory; always asking what the customer will think of any action the entrepreneur takes is the practice.

Betterment is decided by the customer.

The entrepreneurial ethic is that the customer is the boss. The entrepreneur seeks to understand the need for betterment. It is a feeling on the customer’s part, sometimes inarticulate. Customers can’t tell entrepreneurs exactly what they want, but they can express dissatisfaction with the status quo. The entrepreneur gives form to the customer’s dissatisfaction by developing a new value proposition for a new service or product. Do they always get it right? No. The customer’s inarticulateness makes accuracy difficult, and the customer dynamic is continuous change, always rebalancing preferences. The entrepreneur submits to the customer’s decision.

The entrepreneur solves uncertainty, for themselves and society.

Future uncertainty can sound like a burden or a barrier. Entrepreneurs solve this problem. Firstly, they recognize uncertainty. It exists: no-one can know the future. Entrepreneurs break down uncertainty by process. Step-by-step, they set out a pathway to their goal of bettering customer’s lives, knowing that there will be changes along the route as customers change and competitors bring even more change. The mechanism here is learning. Each step reveals new knowledge about whether the entrepreneur has imagined the goal and the path accurately. There will be lots of pivots before reaching the market. The earlier and more frequently the customer value learning can be incorporated, the more accurate the pivots. Entrepreneurs are reflective about every step.

When one individual benefits, there are no losers.

When an exchange does take place, and the world changes as a result, there are two beneficiaries – the customer, who experiences value and the entrepreneur who facilitated it. But no-one loses. There is a false anti-business meme that the success of an entrepreneur can somehow be interpreted as a loss for society. Especially if that entrepreneur becomes a billionaire by helping an especially large number of customers. It’s just not logical. A gain by one individual can not be a loss for society.

The entrepreneur experiences their own kind of value.

A few entrepreneurs become billionaires. Most don’t. They may or may not make more income than they would if they took a corporate job. But the experience of value for the entrepreneur is subjective, just as it is for the customer. They may be pursuing a feeling of self-reliance or a sense of achievement. Importantly, entrepreneurial goals are long-term, often intergenerational. Many individuals start businesses that they can pass on to their children or generate the funds for their children to attend college and become doctors or lawyers or economic professors – positions that the entrepreneurial effort of the parents made possible. Other entrepreneurs set up charitable foundations that can deliver benefits for decades.

Items Mentioned In This Episode

Mises For Business: Mises Institute Economics For Entrepreneurs Podcast Archive –  Click Here
Our Austrian Entrepreneur’s Journey Course – Click Here
Per Bylund on Twitter – Click Here
E4E searchable archive of podcasts and free tools – Click Here

Free Downloads & Extras

The Entrepreneurial Ethic: Our Free E4E Knowledge Graphic
Understanding The Mind of The Customer: Our Free E-Book

Start Your Own Entrepreneurial Journey

Ready to put Austrian Economics knowledge from the podcast to work for your business? Start your own entrepreneurial journey.

Enjoying The Podcast? Review, Subscribe & Listen On Your Favorite Platform:

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Why Do Entrepreneurs Miss Market Opportunities?

In his salient book, Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy, Joseph A. Schumpeter explained that introducing new methods of production and new commodities to the market is inconceivable under perfect competition. But the reality of real-world competition is that some individuals capture opportunity and others miss it. Some entrepreneurs have more knowledge about market conditions, and others have less knowledge. Some react and move quickly, and others react slowly. Businesses do not just fail—they miss entrepreneurial opportunities in the market, failing to react just in time to consumer changes.

Because Austrians conceive of the market as a process and competition as inspired by market participants, entrepreneurial innovation is the only way for a firm to survive. The notion of missed opportunities is rooted in Friedrich Hayek’s focus on knowledge and Israel Kirzner’s interaction between the nature of the market and discovery. The fact is, you don’t know what you don’t know, until you do know. Then what do you do with the new knowledge?

In an era of constant change in consumer preferences —from conventional retail to omnichannel retail, for example -many firms will undoubtedly miss entrepreneurial market opportunities because they are not learning from market signals. The question is: What did you learn, and when did you learn it,  after conventional consumers turned into omnichannel consumers and you realized what they want most?

Many businesses do not just fizzle out—they do not learn the Austrian view of market, competition, and knowledge and, therefore, miss market opportunities. Chains and established firms used old methods in a new competitive market and disregarded the metamorphosis of consumers from conventional to omnichannel—from ones who go to a brick and mortar to ones who access multiple sites (i.e., website, social media, your brick and mortar via phone, desktop, etc.) to purchase what they want. These businesses did not learn from past experience how to improve their market position. They did not heed the market signals the consumer gave them to cater to their newly emerging preferences.

We are now living in the Schumpeterian era of innovation and quick-to-market activity, which is the consequence of omnichannel consumerism. For entrepreneurs who are not on this innovation wave, providing goods and services at the time and in the manner the consumer wants them, it is an era of missed opportunities.

What is the real function of the entrepreneur in a market economy? Schumpeter raised a significant point in this context that needs revisiting. The function of the entrepreneur is to be the disruptor–innovator. When has this been forgotten or misconstrued? Schumpeter made it very clear that entrepreneurs have a vital function in the market economy. Their market actions are to find new methods and novel ways of combining and recombining resources to meet the subjective valuation of the consumer—omnichannel or otherwise. Schumpeter said,

…the function of entrepreneurs is to reform or revolutionize the pattern of production by exploiting an invention or, more generally, an untried technological possibility for producing a new commodity or producing an old one in a new way, by opening up a new source of supply of materials or a new outlet for products, by reorganizing an industry and so on.

Ludwig von Mises, Kirzner, and Schumpeter agreed that market adjustments are based on consumers’ perceptions, taste, and preferences. These changes might account for why many firms close their doors and discontinue their services. What does this mean for existing market players who may otherwise miss opportunities during these rapid market adjustments? The panacea for many is to follow the market changes so that you do not miss entrepreneurial market opportunities.

Market distortions and economic interventionist policies made by the government can make these market opportunity signals foggy and unclear, which is why you must consider following the adjustments created by consumer valuations. To receive the right signal and eliminate the fog, consider the following reasons why entrepreneurial leaders miss market opportunities:

  1. Entrepreneurs fail to see what consumers want.
  2. Entrepreneurs do not co-create with their consumers.
  3. Entrepreneurs do not foresee the consumer transition (from conventional to omnichannel).
  4. Entrepreneurs have not developed feedback loops between themselves and their customers (i.e., business to consumer or business to business).
  5. Entrepreneurs have not learned from previous experience new ways of product/service bundling in new market conditions.
  6. Entrepreneurs do not combine and recombine resources just in time.
  7. Entrepreneurs cease searching for discoveries within and between new or existing markets.
  8. Entrepreneurs have not acknowledged that entrepreneurs and consumers have incomplete and sometimes error-prone knowledge.
  9. Entrepreneurs remain sticky about what works and neglect consumer-oriented just-in-time opportunities.
  10. Entrepreneurs miss relationships with consumers; they do not ask questions, learn, and respond appropriately.

The correct timing of innovation is never clearly signaled. Entrepreneurs do not know the future of the market  so they can’t act  “just-in-time”. Why? Because, according to Kirzner, other entrepreneurs are consistently making entrepreneurial errors as they pursuevarious ends, consequently changing others’ plans. That is, every market participant has error-prone knowledge and is subject to missed innovations and opportunities.

How can entrepreneurs rid themselves of knowledge that contains errors and avoid foggy market signals? Little bits of knowledge are scattered everywhere, making it possible for some entrepreneurs to get it right and adjust. Successful entrepreneurs judge the market correctly, as Kirzner reminded us. But numerous others judge the market wrong. They do not correctly or clearly anticipate what was going on through the fog. It is errors in judgment, fogginess, and inability to see what is ahead that leads to missed entrepreneurial market opportunity.

That knowledge is prone to error and that market sends distorted signals to entrepreneurs (through no fault of their own) are not the result of market failure but a result of market adjustments that result in missed market opportunities. The idea of missed market opportunities in not the same as opportunity costs. Missed market opportunities occur after learning something new, adjusting to consumer valuations and applying the new knowledge. The omnichannel consumer is changing the market. Entrepreneurs—the disruptors/innovators—must alter their market approach. Those who lag behind market changes will miss market opportunities. Remember, the consumer is entrepreneurial, too!

Entrepreneurs, in the Austrian sense of the term, must find the innovative wave and jump in just in time to reap the benefits of market activity from missed market opportunities based on previous consumer interactions. Market–oriented entrepreneurs realize that they have a small window to adjust, employ innovations, and capture conventional consumer valuation while simultaneously reaching the omnichannel consumer—just in time.




52. Mark Schaefer: The Future of Marketing Is Austrian – How Human-Centered Marketing Can Fix A Business Function That Has Lost Its Way.

This week I spoke with Mark Schaefer about his iconoclastic and deeply insightful book Marketing Rebellion, in which he expounds the solution to modern marketing’s failures, via an approach he calls Human-Centered Marketing.

Listeners to Economics For Entrepreneurs and aficionados of Austrian Economics will recognize the close overlap between Austrian Economics and Human-Centered Marketing.

Key Takeaways & Actionable Insights

Marketing has lost its way – in its current state, it’s no longer a useful business growth tool for entrepreneurs.

  • An obsession with technology has eclipsed the focus on people and human values.
  • A mania for measurement has obscured emotional connections with customers.
  • “Marketers hide behind their dashboards” and are not conducting conversations with customers.

The solution, says Mark Schaefer, lies in the principles of Human-Centered Marketing. Austrians can easily recognize these principles as our own.

Austrian Principles vs Human-Centered Marketing Principles

Click on the image to download the full PDF

The customer-sovereignty perspective yields actionable truths.

  • Customers don’t need ads – they don’t see them, they don’t hear them, they block them.
  • Customers are rebelling against the interrupt-and-annoy approach of marketers.
  • The customer is in charge.

What do customers want from marketers? The answer for Mark Schaefer lies in Core Human Truths – what Austrians call Highest Values.

  • They want to feel loved.
  • They want to be respected
  • They want to belong
  • They want you to advance their self-interest
  • They want proof that a firm or brand is contributing to their community

These are deep human needs that don’t change. Whatever the speed of change in market, these values are constant. Humanism lets marketers hold on to what is not changing, rather than being overwhelmed by change.

Marketing mantras like “loyalty” and “engagement” are false.

  • Customers don’t want to be loyal; they want freedom and choice – they like shopping around.
  • Engagement does not result from clicking on an e-mail and downloading a white paper or a coupon.
  • These are dashboard measurements, not human values.

Mark’s recommendations are grounded in humanism.

Customers respond to shared meaning and shared values – so long as the sharing is authentic. Businesses must be loyal to consumers, never let them down, always be consistent. Live on their island.

Seek trust. Marketers have burned through trust. The Edelman Trust Barometer shows trust in business and brands and advertising going down for 11 straight years. Now brands must transcend the public’s mistrust.

Flip your branding. A brand is not what you tell customers. A brand today is what customers say about you to their friends and peers. People trust other people.

Let customers create their own value. This is pure Austrian Economics: customer value is an experience that takes place entirely in their domain. Brands and businesses facilitate – but can’t create – the customer’s value experience. Customers hire your brand or business or product or service to help them create value.

Marketing is promise management.

  • Choose the promise you make to customers carefully – is it one they really want from you and will they trust you when you make it?
  • Ensure that you have the capabilities to deliver on the promise. Don’t over-promise.
  • Keep your promise every time, with no exceptions ever.

BONUS: Small and medium businesses have an advantage in human-centered marketing.

The larger the business, the harder it is to connect to customers on an individual, emotional level. Small business has an advantage in showing its face, demonstrating its personality and exhibiting trustworthiness.

Items Mentioned In This Episode

Mark Schaefer’s Human-Centered Marketing Manifesto is here. 
For comparison, our Menger’s Manifesto, from Principles Of Economics, is here. 
Find Mark’s book, Marketing Rebellion, here.
Mark’s website is 

Free Downloads & Extras

Accounting From An Austrian (Misesian) Perspective: Our Free E4E Knowledge Graphic
Understanding The Mind of The Customer: Our Free E-Book

Start Your Own Entrepreneurial Journey

Ready to put Austrian Economics knowledge from the podcast to work for your business? Start your own entrepreneurial journey.

Enjoying The Podcast? Review, Subscribe & Listen On Your Favorite Platform:

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51. David Rapp on Harnessing Accounting To Your Purpose

Accounting is a tool for entrepreneurs to achieve their business goals. There are plenty of options for you in how you use it to serve your purpose. In this episode, Dr. David Rapp, who teaches Accounting and Management Control in the elite Grandes Ecoles system in France, takes us inside the “purpose orientation” approach to accounting.

Key Takeaways & Actionable Insights

When we asked international technology entrepreneur Paul Tenney (episode #49) about the pre-requisites to entrepreneurial business success, he said, “Learn accounting”.

Accounting – or economic calculation – is one of the four pillars of entrepreneurship. And when it’s viewed through Austrian eyes, it becomes a more powerful business tool than, perhaps, you might have realized.

Whether we are talking about retrospective accounting (P&L accounting and financial reporting) or commercial pre-calculation to plan future actions (management accounting or cost accounting), how you use the tool makes a difference to the results you get.

Dr. David Rapp is an international leader in the field of Accounting And Management Control, a subject he teaches at one of Europe’s top business schools. Below are some key takeaways from the podcast, and we’ve also compiled a Free PDF Download of Dr. David Rapp’s technical analysis of accounting from an Austrian Economics viewpoint.

Accounting is a means to help you achieve your desired ends – apply judgment when using the tool.

Austrian economics teaches us to subjectively choose goals and then select the best means to achieve those goals. Accounting is just another tool to help the entrepreneur. There are plenty of explicit and implicit options in how to use it. David calls this attitude “purpose orientation” – one of the most important aspects in the field of accounting. Any computation should be shaped by its underlying purpose.

Financial reporting is subject to local rules – but there are always options in applying them.

If the purpose is to pay as little tax as possible, for example, a firm may apply depreciation or amortization rules in such a way as to reduce taxable profits. If the purpose is to present the firm in the best possible light to secure external funding, the same rules might be applied in a different way to display a different calculation of profit. There are options available for valuation of assets and of inventory that can materially affect the balance sheet.

Entrepreneurs should be rigorous in ensuring that their own managerial accounting does not mislead them.

Some modern finance theories and models are unrealistic – such as the standardized Capital Asset Pricing Model and the Weighted Average Cost Of Capital approach. The entrepreneur’s task is to apply real world judgement in deciding on future actions. Austrian Economics guides us towards realism not models, and the insights from Austrian Economics are the best ones to integrate into managerial accounting.

Entrepreneurs should bear in mind core Austrian Economics principles to guide their options in accounting.

Dr. Rapp mentioned these principles:

  • Subjective value
  • The importance of opportunity costs
  • Distinguishing between value and price
  • Understanding that prices determine costs rather than vice versa,
  • Differentiating between uncertainty and risk

Does accounting send reliable signals of business health to the entrepreneur? Not necessarily. Entrepreneurs should be on their guard.

Dr. Rapp advises us that general guidance to the firm’s owners and management is not possible via accounting. Accounting is not neutral and not a perfect tool for measurement or reporting.  Again, the choice of reports comes down to the goal the entrepreneur is pursuing.

If the goal is a sale to an external buyer, then an accounting focus on EBIT might be the best channel for the most relevant business health monitoring. If the goal is external financing from a bank, a more appropriate signal might be found in a solvency measure such as debt-to-equity ratio.

Can accounting accommodate the Austrian Economics mandate for dynamic flexibility – continuous adjustment to changing customer preferences in the marketplace?

Yes says Dr Rapp: by emphasizing the P&L to reflect the profit-and-loss outcomes of entrepreneurial actions and to reflect how well changing allocation of resources serves customers. Sub-dividing accounts into shorter time periods and different lines of business can more accurately reflect the dynamism of a business. And extensive use of notes to accounts in reports can provide a qualitative flexibility in reporting.

Accounting plays a primary and noble role in the advance of civilization.

Our complex market economy could not have evolved without accounting. It’s an important part of the system that allocated capital to its highest and most profitable use. Accounting is not boring, dry or dispensable. Rather, it’s a mainstay of human progress.

Free Downloads & Extras

Accounting From An Austrian (Misesian) Perspective: Download HERE
Understanding The Mind of The Customer: Our Free E-Book

Start Your Own Entrepreneurial Journey

Ready to put Austrian Economics knowledge from the podcast to work for your business? Start your own entrepreneurial journey.

Enjoying The Podcast? Review, Subscribe & Listen On Your Favorite Platform:

Apple Podcasts, Google Play, Stitcher, Spotify