Burchell et al's [1985] historical analysis of value added in the UK attributes its rise and fall to societal circumstances which initially encouraged the voluntary disclosure of the Value Added Statement (VAS) by companies and then, following societal change, influenced its disappearance. This paper supplements Burchell et al's thesis by arguing that a fuller explanation for the disappearance of the VAS can be found by also considering the contents of the statement itself. An empirical study of the information in the VASs of UK companies shows that they were unlikely to give support to the economic interests of the employee user group who had been promoted as an important beneficiary of the VAS. The study demonstrates that the social and economic nature of accounting means that change analyses which take account of both aspects of the discipline's character are likely to be more convincing than those which focus solely on one or the other.

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