Business and Management

Accounting research seminars

Accounting research seminars take place on the following dates. Click on the seminar title for more information about each seminar and the speaker(s).

Upcoming seminars

No items are currently available.

Past seminars

Spring term 2018
7 February
The Actual and Potential Role of Accounting, Transparency, Accountability And Audit in Challenging Phenomena such as the Resource Curse: Reflecting on Two Approaches
Jim Haslam (University of Sheffield)

Abstract

The seminar is preceded by a brownbag workshop of Galina Goncharenko presenting a research paper entitled "Disciplining human rights organisations in Russia: Restricting foreign funding through an accounting regulation" (with Iqbal Khadaroo).

The presentation will reflect on two interdisciplinary projects I am currently engaged in. One is concerned to explore and give further support to the campaign of Publish What You Pay (PWYP) and its collaborators. This campaign has sought to improve transparency and accountability, including through accounting and auditing systems, with a view to enhancing socio-economic development. The concern has been focused on those countries that are relatively rich in natural resources but many of whose people continue to suffer relative poverty (indeed sometimes it appears or it is as if for these people it would be better not to have the resources – the resource curse). The concern (which has some parallels with the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, EITI) has been to get those companies engaged in the extractives industry to disclose the payments they make to governments worldwide. This renders more accountable the corporations themselves but it also places pressure and focus on the governments receiving the money. If these governments are receiving significant revenues why are many local people not benefiting? The campaign, mobilising support and through targeted interactions, has managed to influence in some ways corporations, accounting and stock exchange regulators and governments – even getting legal prescriptions on statute books. The research project is concerned to appraise what has been happening and then seek to strengthen positive impacts. The second project seeks to work towards similar aims by seeking to interact directly with the governments under focus. In this project, very good access to the government of Ghana in West Africa has been secured. The concern is to develop a model approach with the Ghanaian government to overcome the resource curse and actually benefit from having the natural resources (Ghana having discovered significant reserves of oil and gas just over ten years ago). In this project, emphasis has been placed on seeing things from a Ghanaian perspective. I outline the current status of this project and the current plans for it. It is suggested that the two approaches are both ways to further holistic socio-economic development.

16 March
Institutionalising (ant)agonism in a context of religious and political diversity: the case of the key players of the Lebanese association for certified public accountants
Greg Stoner (University of Glasgow)

Abstract

The maintenance of the Accounting Profession in Lebanon is, like the maintenance of Government and civil society in the country, a very complex affair. Drawing on the theories of Agonism (Mouffe, 2014) and Institutional Work (Lawrence & Suddaby, 2006) investigates the period after the Lebanese Association for Certified Public Accountants (LACPA) was awarded protected legal status. Utilising interview data from key players of the leadership of the LACPA and other archival data, this paper provides a nuanced understanding of the maintenance and leadership of accounting profession in the Lebanon The study reveals the nature and complexity of the interactions between the different groups within the organisation and elements of the accounting profession within the country, and exposes the need to look beyond the technical aspects of the accounting profession and practice towards other political and religious/sectarian considerations.

Bio

Dr Greg Stoner BSc (Hons) (Lancaster), PhD (Glasgow), FCA is based in the Adam Smith Business School of the University of Glasgow. The University of Glasgow, a member of the Russell Group, was founded in 1451 and is the fourth oldest university in the English-speaking world.
Greg has a PhD in accounting history and education from the University of Glasgow and is a Senior Lecturer in accounting and information systems, with primary research interests in the history of accounting and the accounting profession, accounting education and the impact and utilisation of information systems (and IT) in accounting practice and higher education. Greg has been an Associate Editor for Accounting Education and Issues in Accounting Education, and is Vice-Chair of the British Accounting and Finance Association’s Accounting Education Special interest Group.
Greg is programme director for the Adam Smith Business School’s Accounting PGT degree programmes and is the Professional Accreditation Officer, as well as Senior Advisor of Studies.

23 March
Ornamentalism and the construction of affinities: Accountancy in Imperial India from 1900 to 1932
Suki Sian (Queen Mary, University of London)

Abstract

The ‘Accountancy and Empire’ literature is replete with studies in which the salient recurring theme has been that of “otherness”. An alternative interpretation of the colonial encounter is offered in this study of the rise of professional accountancy in India whilst under British rule. The study draws on Cannadine’s conceptualisation of Ornamentalism (2001), which suggests that class and caste were equally as important as race when it came to contemplating the extra-metropolitan world. At the empirical level, the study draws on archival data to show how professionalization was facilitated in India and how Indians from the higher castes dominated the accounting profession. The study identifies key factors that facilitated the rise of professional accountancy in British India: the presence of an educated indigenous elite, the increasing need for accounting services and the inadequacies of relying upon training in the UK. In addition, it forwards the notion that British perceptions of Indians and Indian accountants were framed by the recognition of caste-class affinities, resulting in accountancy being considered to be a profession suitable for Indians of higher castes.

Bio

My research interests include accounting history, professionalisation and imperialism. I am the joint-editor of “Accountancy and Empire: The Legacy of British Professional Organisation” (Routledge). My research has focused on aspects of exclusion from professional accountancy on the basis of race, class and gender. I also have an interest in international accounting and have led international research projects on financial reporting by small businesses on behalf of both IFAC and UNCTAD. I am a member of the ICAEW and a member of the Academy of Accounting Historians.

18 April
Redefining community through accounting practices in the sharing economy
Jeremy Morales (Royal Holloway, University of London)

Abstract

This presentation will be based on a book chapter Penelope Van den Bussche and myself are writing for a coming Handbook on the Sharing Economy (Edward Elgar). It highlights how the sharing economy uses accounting and performance measures to turn the concept of ‘community’ into an individualizing, normalizing, and controlling technology.

Building on Foucault’s analyses of biopower and neoliberalism, we argue that the redefinition of community through accounting constitutes an advanced form of biopower turning individuals into entrepreneurs of the self. Drawing on data collected through interviews (both from users and salaried members of platforms) and netnographic analyses, we show that community and evaluation are closely linked.

Evaluations participate in the constitution of a sense of belonging and bring the community to life. The community, and the related redefinition of systematic evaluation as a ‘duty’, installs standards of behavior encouraging members to actively control each other and to produce quantified assessments of each other.

The use of accounting by sharing economy platforms further encourages individuals to see themselves and act as entrepreneurs making rational decisions in market-like situations. The platforms provide categories, frames, and metrics for users to draw upon in order to measure their self-worth and compete with each other to maximize their value.

The community and feeling of amateurism and authenticity then serve to encourage users to put to market and commodify their life itself and their intimacy. Platforms thus use accounting to constitute a market for entrepreneurs of the self, extending commodification and competition yet presenting them as a form of belonging.

This chapter will thus analyze how the sharing economy and its accounting practices contribute to a constant expansion of biopower to progressively reach all aspects of life.

Bio

I am a Senior Lecturer at Royal Holloway, University of London. I work in particular through case studies and discourse analyses on the financialisation of management accounting and control, the work of management accountants, the use of complex financial instruments to ‘manage’ European governments debts or fraud examination techniques and discourses.

Over the years I increasingly worked on nonprofit organisations, such as hospitals, NGOs, theatres, and the army. I also started a project on the so-called ‘sharing economy’. The overall aim of my projects is to link techniques (various performance indicators, derivatives, the fraud triangle), individuals (organisational members’ behaviour, their subjectivity, their morality), and broader macro-sociological trends (financialisation, neoliberalism, globalisation).

Autumn term 2017
27 September
Accounting signifiers, political discourse, popular resistance and legal identity
Trevor Hopper (University of Sussex)

Abstract

Using the privatization of Pakistan Steel Mills (PSM) as an empirical site and drawing on Laclau and Mouffe’s (1985) discourse theory, this paper traces the discursive struggle between two discourses on the valuation and privatization of PSM. Specific signifiers were articulated and re-articulated into different chains of equivalence to create an appeal for each discourse surrounding the steel mill’s valuation. The anti-privatization discourse’s ‘success’ derived from its ‘interdiscursivity’ i.e. drawing on disparate signifiers from different meta-discourses; accounting, nationalism, state corruption and ‘informal’ signifiers such as ‘family silver’, ‘market value’ and ‘throw away price’.

In contrast, the pro-privatization discourse drew on a homogenous (financial) economics discourse using more formal and technical signifiers such as ‘going concern’ and ‘sensitivity-adjusted discounted cash flow value’. The anti-privatization discourse, with its diverse and informal (accounting) signifiers gained ‘empirical validity’, ‘narrative fidelity’, ‘and experiential commensurability’, appealed more to the masses, the media, and the judiciary. It convinced them selling PSM was a grave injustice, which must be prevented. Hence the Supreme Court reversed the privatization decision, which soured executive-judiciary relations, and led the military government to suspend the Chief Justice, and later the judiciary, media outlets, and the Constitution, which precipitated a successful social movement for an independent judiciary and the restoration of democracy. Events were shaped by the various interests of parties concerned and created new identities for them. The paper concludes by reflecting on how the findings contribute to, and add new issues for accounting research using discourse analysis.

Bio

http://www.sussex.ac.uk/profiles/251220

25 October
Student-Doctoral Education Fit: Factors affecting Accounting Doctoral Timely, Untimely and Non-Completion
Anne-Marie Ward (Ulster University)

Abstract

There is a shortage of accounting doctoral graduates and an increasing demand for this resource. The shortage can be examined from two viewpoints, barriers to entry and retention. Examined through the lens of fit theory, which predicts superior performance when there is student-doctoral education fit, our study provides insights on retention. In particular, it identifies fit factors that cause doctoral-studies under-performance (untimely completion or withdrawal).

Fit is examined using a multi-dimensional model of student-doctoral environment fit (including student-organisation fit, student-private environment fit and student-people fit), student-vocation fit (including student-motivation fit and student-learning environment fit) and student-doctoral culture fit (student-learning identity fit, student-writing fit and student-personal characteristics fit). We surveyed 36 doctoral students using an in-depth 39-question survey instrument.

We find that the most influential factors causing divergence from fit emanate from students’ private environment, including external workload, family commitments, other commitments and ill health. Personal characteristics also contributed to a loss of fit, with students identifying difficulties with time management and project management as having a negative influence on timely completion.

This research has policy implications. Our findings suggest that doctoral education provision does not sufficiently alter fit and thus cause student misfit. Doctoral programme administrators need to investigate ways of equipping doctoral students to manage their private environments and focus more attention on time management and project management support.

Bio

Anne Marie Ward is Professor of Accounting at Ulster University. Her research to date has centered on issues affecting non-profit financial institutions, including performance, development, management models, volunteering, subsidization, regulatory compliance, sector growth, gender leadership and the role of institutions and political elites. Anne Marie has over 80 publications, including four textbooks, chapters in textbooks, published case studies, technical publications for the profession, professional articles, research reports and peer reviewed academic articles. She has published across a wide range of journals including the Journal of Business, Finance and Accounting, the Journal of Business Ethics, Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, the British Accounting Review and Financial Accountability and Management.

1 November
Dual seminar:
1. Genesis of the double account system: A case study of the Independent Gas Light and Coke Company at the beginning of the 19th Century - Mitsunori Kasukabe (Hokkaido University)
2. A Study on Conceptual Framework about Quality Costing: Is there a trade-off relationship necessary? Masatoshi Kosugi (Hirosake University)

Abstract

Genesis of the double account system: A case study of the Independent Gas Light and Coke Company at the beginning of the 19th Century - Mitsunori Kasukabe

The objective of this paper is to investigate the double account system employed in a UK gas company at the beginning of the 19th century. The double account system refers to a form of preparing accounts that emphasises an approach of distinguishing capital expenditure from revenue expenditure. The previous research on this system included the study of Edwards (1985), which focused on UK railway companies, in which he states that the accounts prepared for the first half of 1838 by the London and Birmingham Railway Company (LBR) is the earliest example of the adoption of the double account system. However, the Independent Gas Light and Coke Company (IGLC) prepared accounts using the double account system in 1824. This is more than 10 years before the example cited by Edwards. The accounts of the IGLC at that time can be seen as an attempt to distinguish capital expenditure from revenue expenditure. In addition, Edwards (1985) argued that the introduction of accrual basis accounting was essential to the establishment of the double account system, but a transition from cash basis accounting to accrual basis accounting is observed in the IGLC’s accounts.

A Study on Conceptual Framework about Quality Costing: Is there a trade-off relationship necessary? Masatoshi Kosugi

This study traces the history of the conceptual framework about Quality Costing. In the transition, the cost of quality greatly expanded the scope of application. Initially, local operation in the quality control department was a prerequisite. However, from the economic and social background, the importance of quality expanded. As a result, Quality Costing was to be applied company-wide and long-term. In this transition, the trade-off relationship included in the PAF approach clearly showed the cost-effectiveness of quality control activities. To show the cost-effectiveness of quality control activities is to recognize quality control activities at cost. Although the PAF approach can show the overall trend of the effect of quality control activities, it cannot demonstrate concrete quality improvement measures. The PAF approach, although useful for top management, is not effective at the field level. The process cost model, which appeared in the U.K. and where practical cases are also seen, may compensate for this drawback.

22 November
Effectiveness of government regulatory control at firm level: A contingency perspective of performance measurement
Minmin Xi (Coventry University London)

Abstract

This paper explores the consequences of indirect government influences on the decision making of State-Owned Enterprises (SOEs). This indirect influence occurs through the mechanisms of governmental regulatory control of firms, including performance measures, directors, executives, and incentives, to maintain, increase, and maximize the value of state-owned assets. It has been proposed that firm value can be created by pursuing a customer-focused strategy and using non-financial performance measures. Grounded in contingency theory and using a survey sample of 247 senior managers in the Chinese manufacturing industry at the firm level, this paper examines the association of governmental regulatory control of firms with a customer satisfaction driven strategy, the (use of performance measurement system (PMS), and performance in order. The empirical evidence suggests that governmental regulatory control of firms explains the difference in outcome, where SOEs and non-SOEs use PMS to manage the strategic uncertainties of a strategy driven by customer satisfaction.

Bio

Minmin has a mixed background in both China and the UK for education and working experience. Her last education was at Cardiff for developing research skills through a project of ‘an exploratory study of effectiveness of performance measurement system in China’ and that has been her research focus. Grounding on contingency theory and using Chinese economy transformation context, she has examined and presented a way of how performance measurement systems use to be effective. Her further expectation is to explore institutional features of performance measurement systems ideographically and nomothetically. Her working experience has been accumulated through working at an international IT company Lenovo Beijing as a management accountant, and lecturing at Queens Belfast, West Scotland, and Coventry London.

Spring term 2017
26 April
Enacting the rhetorical potential of material objects through accounting: The Founder's Building at Royal Holloway
Christopher Napier (Royal Holloway, University of London)

Full title

Enacting the rhetorical potential of material objects through accounting: The Founder's Building at Royal Holloway, 1887-1897 - Co-author: Dr Elena Giovannoni

Abstract

Drawing on archival material concerning Royal Holloway College in the early years after its foundation, we investigate how accounting can be used, in connection with physical objects, to enact the ‘rhetorical potential’ of these objects, that is, their potential to persuade and thereby to produce effects or affordances for action. In particular, we explore how, under evolving circumstances, Royal Holloway College’s main building was given different meanings by internal and external parties, as a palace, a public school, a charity school, a building on a ‘lower scale’ than similar colleges, and even as non-existent, providing different ‘rhetorical re‑presentations’. The invention of different accountings followed these re‑presentations, offered their own accounting rhetorics and stimulated new meanings, feeding back into the rhetorical re‑presentations. This cycle of invention facilitated various rhetorical uses of the building, which were intended to persuade both internal and external parties to ‘view’ the building in particular ways at different times, and thus to achieve specific material effects and affordances for action. We demonstrate that rhetorical potential emerges from the physical form and presence of an object, but, through being enabled for different purposes, rhetorical potential can transcend physicality. Also, we show that accounting rhetoric is not just a matter of visual technical signs but is also related to the way in which accounting re-presentations are able to enact the rhetorical potential of the objects that they re‑present.

Bio

Christopher Napier is Professor of Management at Royal Holloway, University of London.

2 May
Risk management in local authorities: an application of Schatzki’s social site ontology
Carolyn Cordery (Aston University)

Abstract

The purpose of the study is to examine how risk management (RM) is organized and practiced within territorial local authorities (LAs). LAs operate in a complex and dynamic environment which gives rise to multiple and conflicting stakeholder demands. RM provides a potentially effective mechanism to handle these conflicts. We use Schatzki’s social site ontology to analyse RM practices organized by four elements: rules, understandings, teleo-affective structures and material arrangements.

We conducted in-depth interviews with managers across different levels, attended public meetings and analysed documents of two New Zealand LAs facing similar seismic events. The comparative analysis of data collected from these two LAs reveal that rules, understanding and teleo-affective structures interact with each other in constituting RM practices. While both LAs utilise similar RM rules, they vary significantly in organizing and managing risks, due to the ambiguities of the teleology and the differences in understandings.

These ambiguities and differences lead to the generation of two different RM (silo-based and collective-based) preferences and tendencies. This contextualizes the use of accounting controls to either legitimize the hierarchically allocated risk management tasks and processes or encourage discussions between people at different organizational levels to generate multiple interpretations on the meaning and management of risks. In these processes, accounting also helps generate and promote certain affections (feeling of mattering and fear of wrong decisions), which limits the functioning of systems and structures adopted by organizations for dealing with risks.

This study adds a constitutive and dynamic view to the contingent- and functionalist-theory based literature on risk management of organizations.

Bio

Carolyn Cordery joined Aston Business School in January 2017 from Victoria University in Wellington, New Zealand. Her research focuses on not for profit organisations' accounting and accountability, including charities and sports clubs. She is particularly interested in how these organisations are resourced (by donors/philanthropists, grants, contracts, volunteers, etc.) and the resource constraints that cause many of these organisations to be financially vulnerable. Currently she is Joint Editor of Third Sector Review (the Journal of on Australia and New Zealand Third Sector Research), on the editorial board of Accounting History and Accounting, Auditing and Accountability Journal. She was a member of the New Zealand Accounting Standards Board from 2011-2016 and New Zealand’s Lotteries Community Sector Research Committee for a similar period. Professionally, she is a Fellow of both Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand and CPA Australia.

She has undertaken a number of commissioned research projects, and publish work in relevant leading international journals such as: Accounting, Auditing and Accountability Journal, Accounting History, Financial Accountability and Management, Accounting & Finance and Public Money and Management.  My paper ‘Accounting History and Religion: a review of studies and a research agenda’ (Accounting History, 20(4) pp 430-463) won the 2015 Robert W. Gibson Manuscript Award.