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Constructing accounting in the mirror of popular music

Kerry Jacobs (Research School of Business, Australian National University, Canberra, Australia)
Steve Evans (Flinders University, Adelaide, Australia)

Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal

ISSN: 0951-3574

Article publication date: 4 May 2012




This paper aims to explore how accounting is entwined in the cultural practice of popular music. Particular attention is paid to how the accountant is constricted by artists in art and the role(s) the accountant plays in the artistic narrative. In effect this explores the notion that there is a tension between the notion of the bourgeois world of “the accountant” and the world of “art for art's sake”.


This paper draws on the cultural theory of Pierre Bourdieu to understand how the character of the accountant is constructed and used by the artist. Particular attention is paid in this respect to the biography and lyrics of the Beatles.


Accounting and accountants play both the hero and the villain. By rejecting the “accountant villain”, the artist identifies with and reinforces artistic purity and credibility. However, in order to achieve the economic benefits and maintain the balance between the “art” and the “money”, the economic prudence of the bourgeois accountant is required (although it might be resented).

Research limitations/implications

The analysis focuses on a relatively small range of musicians and is dominated by the biography of the Beatles. A further range of musicians and artists would extend this work. Further research could also be constructed to more fully consider the consumption, rather than just the production, of art and cultural products and performances.


This paper is a novel consideration of how accounting stereotypes are constructed and used in the field of artistic creation



Jacobs, K. and Evans, S. (2012), "Constructing accounting in the mirror of popular music", Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, Vol. 25 No. 4, pp. 673-702.



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Copyright © 2012, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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