4 Criteria


1. Competence 

Human beings, not market forces, as the true agents of economic development 

The management of the Enterprise is in the hands of a person or persons – 'the Entrepreneur(s)' – striving to understand associative economics in the manner contemplated by these Criteria. The minimum requirement is to have completed Steps 1 and 2.


2. Structure 

The importance of appropriate legal, financial, and management frameworks 

The enterprise is constituted and conducted so that:


1.   Its aim and existence are independent of both the providers of its finance and of the views and opinions of its management.



2.   Its capitalisation is designed to guarantee its long-term independence.


3.   Its management functions in a transparent manner and maintains a clear record of decisions taken.


3. Accounting

Transparent and open bookkeeping as a common language and key to responsible change


1.   The accounting of the Enterprise is open and transparent both internally and externally.



2.   Based on double-entry bookkeeping, it is structured in terms of a framework provided by the Association as the basis of a common financial language.



3.   Each Entrepreneur establishes a budget and maintains the bookkeeping and year-end forecasting for the Enterprise (or the part of the Enterprise) that s/he represents.


4.   In the event of an Enterprise having more than one Entrepreneur, the Entrepreneurs together establish a budget and maintain the bookkeeping and year-end forecasts for their Enterprise as a whole.


4. Meeting

Using accounting to work associatively rather than competitively


1.   Independently of any trading or financial relationships, the Entrepreneur of an Enterprise and the Entrepreneurs of at least two other Enterprises hold a meeting (‘the Meeting’) of constant composition and on a regular agreed frequency. The Meeting will be a real one; that is, the Entrepreneurs must be in the same room.



2.   The purpose of the Meeting is for the Entrepreneurs to share and comment on the economic situation of their respective Enterprises through the medium of budgets, management accounts, and year-end forecasts, as a basis for building a shared picture of their own and each other’s situations both individually and together.

3.  The year-end is the occasion of a similar Meeting, at which the aims and budgetary options of the Enterprises for the following year are likewise considered and made clear.