AAAJ Literature and Insights 36.2 Editorial

Steve Evans (School of Humanities and Creative Arts, Flinders University, Adelaide, Australia)

Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal

ISSN: 0951-3574

Article publication date: 27 March 2023

Issue publication date: 27 March 2023



Evans, S. (2023), "AAAJ Literature and Insights 36.2 Editorial", Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, Vol. 36 No. 2, pp. 764-765.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2023, Emerald Publishing Limited

Lost your voice?

Many topics can seem trivial these days next to the biggies like the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID) pandemic, world hunger, deliberate or neglectful ecological devastation, global conflict, plus global warming and its crash course in environmental collapse. Let us add the contributing inaction of governments (our representatives) and the seemingly blind pursuit by major corporations of profit for investor reward in the near term. Perhaps we should just talk about sport instead.

I know that my comment about sport might be considered cheap, even inflammatory, and that in real life it is not an either/or situation but sometimes I feel I am tinkering around, relatively helpless in the face of great and threatening forces. Since we are the ones largely responsible for them in the first place, we at least have an obligation to act. Doing so wisely and effectively relies on having the best information, and in a timely manner (and hoping that people pay it heed), and that raises a broad issue about disseminating the right information.

Valuable data and their related analyses need to be available in a timely manner; however, often what we would find most useful in this regard can be tucked out of sight for too long. Attempts to foster dialogue can hit roadworks, so to speak. It can feel as if vital research work is denied a voice if it is only slowly reviewed before being brought to its intended audience. Where is the balance?

There is an issue of quality, of course. In an era of so-called alternative truths and of denialism, we need the rigour of objective assessment more than ever. It takes time. That hit home again this morning when my daughter sent me a photo of herself with a big bunch of irises, a beaming smile and the news that she had just submitted her PhD thesis. I was loathing to tell her how long it might take to learn its fate.

We know that there are ongoing debates about peer review. Quite recently, some work published under a Nobel Prize winner’s name was found to have been plagiarised. The question of his reputation loomed but, as one would expect, there was also the matter of how that situation went undetected for so long.

Management accountants are expected to combine many skills – they scrutinise, evaluate, report and do so in wide-ranging fields of interest. They are expected to act objectively and accurately, and to employ the right information. What they have to report will have its maximum impact if it is distributed as soon as possible. Delays caused by peer reviewing can be frustrating but it is the price we pay for public trust. When careers in the profession also depend on the results, there is an extra layer of concern. Recognition and advancements might be held back.

Still, there are abiding questions. Who reviews the reviewers? Who reviews the whole peer review system? Who is going to review any article resulting from such an academic enquiry?

I write reviews in another context. Because I am intrigued about how others do this, I have a project simmering that considers the nature of reviewing such widely ranging endeavours as acting, film making, restaurants, holiday accommodation, motor vehicles, etc. Fundamentally, it looks at criticism and the voice of the critic; its platform and purpose and style. You could say that I intend to critique the critics’ work to form an opinion on the art of criticism. I guess that someone might then critique my own view. In the end, it might all not be so different from peer reviewing of management accounting articles.

In this issue, we have two creative pieces that address timeliness and peer review. Basil Tucker’s “Vanishing down the black hole of reviewing delays” deals with exactly what it says on the tin. Many will have been in the situation where a submission to a journal is followed by a terribly enduring silence. We can thank Lee Parker and Christos Begkos for their entertaining piece, “The Editor and the Board Member: In a Beautiful Pea Green Boat”. It is very likely to ring a bell for a number of our readers.

Your own creative contributions can be submitted via ScholarOne (see below), and your email correspondence is always welcome, of course, at:

Literary editor

Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal (AAAJ) welcomes submissions of both research papers and creative writing. Creative writing in the form of poetry and short prose pieces is edited for the Literature and Insights Section only and does not undergo the refereeing procedures required for all research papers published in the main body of AAAJ.

Author guidelines for contributions to this section of the journal can be found at:

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