problematisation of an emerging
Accounting Department, AUT University, Auckland, New Zealand
Purpose – The paper aims to analyse accounting rationalities and practices which lie behind
biodiversity offsetting. The way in which accounting functions as a technology of government
through the practice of biodiversity offsetting is to be considered and its effects examined.
Design/methodology/approach – Governmentality is drawn upon to examine ways in which
power and authority are exercised in a single case study setting. Data analysed comprise corporate
and industry websites and documents, corporate reports, public documentation and interviews. The
arena concept is utilised to highlight contestation in the case, and signal concerns regarding the wider
impact of the use of particular accounting rationalities and technologies in the context of biodiversity
Findings – The paper provides empirical insights into how accounting for biodiversity offsetting
rationales and practices constitute an attempt to reproduce power relations in favour of particular
parties and foster disciplinary effects. The practice of biodiversity offsetting is problematised through
critiquing accounting’s governing role in the areas of biodiversity quantification and biodiversity
trading. Questions are raised as to whether biodiversity offsetting enabled by accounting techniques is
leading to greater accountability and ultimately protection of biodiversity, or whether it represents a
mechanism through which particular species and habitat destruction can be justified, or at least
hidden in its accounting.
Originality/value – While biodiversity offsetting research is not uncommon within science and law,
the analysis of how accounting functions as a technology of government within biodiversity offsetting
is believed to be unique.
Keywords Biodiversity offsetting, Accounting for biodiversity, Governmentality, Problematization,
Sustainable development, Conservat
Comparing the research-practice
gap in management accounting
A view from professional accounting bodies
in Australia and Germany
Basil P. Tucker
School of Commerce, University of South Australia, Adelaide, Australia, and
Centre for Sustainability Management (CSM),
Leuphana University Lueneburg, Lueneburg, Germany
Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to compare and contrast perceptions about the research-practice
“gap” as it may apply within management accounting, from the perspective of professional accounting
bodies in Australia and Germany.
Design/methodology/approach – The findings reported in this paper is based on the collection and
analysis of data from interviews with 19 senior representatives from four Australian Professional
bodies and 14 representatives of German Professional accounting bodies.
Findings – In Australia and Germany, there exist common as well as unique barriers preventing a more
effective engagement of academic research with practice. Common to both countries is the perception that
the communication of research represents a major barrier. In Australia, practitioner access to academic
research is seen to be a principal obstacle; in Germany, the relevance of topics researched by academics is
perceived to represent a significant barrier to academic research informing practice.
Research limitations/implications – This paper directly engages with, and extends recent
empirically based research into the extent to which academic research may “speak” to management
accounting practice. It extricates both common and specific barriers contributing to the oft-quoted
“research-practice gap” in management accounting, and points to the pivotal nature of an intermediary
to act as a conduit between academics and practice.
Originality/value – By investigating this issue in two quite different cultural, educational, academic
and practice contexts, this paper provides much-needed empirical evidence about the nature, extent
and pervasiveness of the perceived research-practice gap in management accounting, and provides a
basis for further investigation of this important topic.
Keywords Management accounting research, Rigour, Relevance, Research-practice gap
Paper type Research paper
New insights into underreporting
of time: the audit partner context
Itsaso Barrainkua and Marcela Espinosa-Pike
Department of Financial Economics,
University of the Basque Country, Bilbao, Spain
Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to provide evidence on underreporting of time (URT) by audit
partners and the factors that drive URT at their level. In particular the study tests the relationship
between URT and the following variables: pressures perceived by auditors related to audit budgets,
the ethical acceptability of URT, the influence of peers and superiors on the resolution of ethical
conflicts, and organisational ethical culture. A deeper analysis of URT practices is necessary, as failing
to correctly report the total hours worked by audit partners poses a threat to audit quality, and can
have a detrimental effect on individual auditors, audit firms, and even the auditing profession itself.
Design/methodology/approach – A multiple regression data analysis was conducted, based on
۸۴ responses from Spanish audit partners working in small- and medium-sized audit firms.
Findings – The results reveal that URT is affected by the pressures perceived by auditors related to
audit budgets, the ethical acceptability of URT, and the influence of peers and superiors on the
resolution of ethical conflicts.
Originality/value – This study contributes to international literature on the organisational context of
audit firms by analysing URT from the perspective of audit partners. It also has practical implications,
as it focuses on understanding the beliefs and behavioural patterns of audit partners, which is critical
to proposing mechanisms for avoiding dysfunctional behaviour at all levels of audit firms.
Keywords Audit partners, Audit quality, Ethical acceptability, Organizational ethical culture,
Pressures, Underreporting of time
Illusio and overwork: playing the
game in the accounting field
Ioana Lupu and Laura Empson
Management Department, Cass Business School, London, UK
Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to understand: how and why do experienced professionals,
who perceive themselves as autonomous, comply with organizational pressures to overwork? Unlike
previous studies of professionals and overwork, the authors focus on experienced professionals who
have achieved relatively high status within their firms and the considerable economic rewards that go
with it. Drawing on the little used Bourdieusian concept of illusio, which describes the phenomenon
whereby individuals are “taken in and by the game” (Bourdieu and Wacquant, 1992), the authors help
to explain the “autonomy paradox” in professional service firms.
Design/methodology/approach – This research is based on 36 semi-structured interviews
primarily with experienced male and female accounting professionals in France.
Findings – The authors find that, in spite of their levels of experience, success, and seniority, these
professionals describe themselves as feeling helpless and trapped, and experience bodily subjugation.
The authors explain this in terms of individuals enhancing their social status, adopting the
breadwinner role, and obtaining and retaining recognition. The authors suggest that this combination
of factors cause professionals to be attracted to and captivated by the rewards that success within the
accounting profession can confer.
Originality/value – As well as providing fresh insights into the autonomy paradox the authors seek
to make four contributions to Bourdieusian scholarship in the professional field. First, the authors
highlight the strong bodily component of overwork. Second, the authors raise questions about previous
work on cynical distancing in this context. Third, the authors emphasize the significance of the pursuit
of symbolic as well as economic capital. Finally, the authors argue that, while actors’ habitus may be in
a state of “permanent mutation”, that mutability is in itself a sign that individuals are subject to illusio.
Keywords Habitus, Compliance, Accounting firms, Illusio, Overwork, Pierre Bourdieu
Paper type Research paper
accounting: potential implications
for a developing economy
Manchester Business School, University of Manchester, Manchester, UK
Purpose – The paper seeks to respond to calls by Jones for more studies exploring the possibility of
operationalising accounting for biodiversity.
Design/methodology/approach – Archival data are used to produce a natural inventory report for
the Sundarbans, the world’s largest mangrove forest declared as a World Heritage site by UNESCO in
Findings – The study extends prior research on biodiversity accounting by exploring the
applicability of Jones’ natural inventory model in the context of Bangladesh. The results indicate that
application of Jones’ natural inventory model is feasible in the context of developing countries such as
Bangladesh. It is also recognised that the socio-economic and political environment prevailing in
developing economies may lead to the emergence of important stakeholder groups including local civil
society bodies, international donor agencies and foreign governments. Biodiversity accounting may
provide a legitimate basis for the government in allaying concerns regarding environmental
stewardship and assist in negotiations with powerful stakeholder groups on important issues such as
financial assistance after natural disasters and claims to the global climate change fund.
Originality/value – This is one of the early attempts to operationalise biodiversity accounting in the
context of a developing economy.
Keywords Biodiversity accounting, Climate change, Developing economy, Environmental disclosures,
Sustainable development, Bangladesh, Developing countries, Economic development
Paper type Research paper