Stop accounting myopia: – think globally: a polemic

Trevor Hopper (Business and Management, University of Sussex, Brighton, UK)

Journal of Accounting & Organizational Change

ISSN: 1832-5912

Publication date: 3 April 2019



The purpose of this paper is to cover issues raised in the author’s plenary address to the Journal of Accounting and Organizational Network Conference held in Melbourne in November 2017. This called for accountants, whether professionals in practice or in academia, to broaden their vision of accounting and accountability beyond the financial accountability of organisations, and serving corporate and capital market interests, to consider how it can help achieve sustainable development goals.


The discussion is based on personal experience, cognate literature and policies of major global institutions.


Whilst the need for financial reporting will remain, there is a pressing need for reporting to measure, monitor and make accountable organisations’ obligations to help achieve sustainable development goals established by global institutions such as the United Nations. Areas of importance discussed are accounting for human rights, mitigation of climate change, securing decent work, increasing accountability – especially civil society democratic participation – and a greater and more equal partnership with stakeholders and developing countries to address their needs.

Research limitations/implications

The paper is a personal polemic intended to provoke reflection and reform amongst accountants.

Practical implications

The paper outlines the areas where accounting could and has addressed human rights and sustainability issues.

Social implications

The social implications are vast, for they extend to major issues concerning the preserving the planet, its species, humankind and enhanced democratic processes for civil society and developing countries.


The paper reinforces the need for policy reforms advocated by social and environmental accounting researchers.



Hopper, T. (2019), "Stop accounting myopia: – think globally: a polemic", Journal of Accounting & Organizational Change, Vol. 15 No. 1, pp. 87-99.

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