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Article
Publication date: 21 August 2017

Robert Ochoki Nyamori, Abu Shiraz Abdul-Rahaman and Grant Samkin

The purpose of this paper is to discuss developments in governance in Africa and the opportunities this offers to accounting, auditing and accountability researchers. The…

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Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to discuss developments in governance in Africa and the opportunities this offers to accounting, auditing and accountability researchers. The paper also provides an overview of the other contributions in this accounting, auditing and accountability special issue.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper provides a contemporary literature review on governance and accountability in Africa, identifying the key developments in public sector reform and the research gaps that still need to be filled. While the paper focuses on Sub-Saharan Africa, the authors draw on examples from Ghana, Kenya, and South Africa – geographically representing east, west, and south of the continent.

Findings

The paper finds that governance has emerged as a crucial issue that has a significant effect on the economic development of African countries. This has been associated with a myriad of reforms which range from anti-corruption measures to public financial management reforms. The authors find that the implementation and effects of these reforms have not been adequately researched by accounting scholars.

Research limitations/implications

This is a review of a limited literature. Empirical research and a more comprehensive review of the literature from public administration and other disciplines might provide other new insights for research on governance in Africa. A further limitation is that the study has focused on a review of the most recent reforms while earlier reforms should be of particular interest to accounting historians.

Originality/value

This paper and other contributions to this special issue of AAAJ provide a basis and an agenda for accounting scholars seeking to undertake interdisciplinary research on Africa.

Details

Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, vol. 30 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3574

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 2 October 2009

Abu Shiraz Rahaman

The purpose of this paper is to explore the increasing role of financial auditing in the fight against government sector fraud and financial mismanagement in Ghana…

2359

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore the increasing role of financial auditing in the fight against government sector fraud and financial mismanagement in Ghana, Africa. Using a Foucauldian‐inspired theoretical framing, the paper explores the growing cases of fraud in the Ghanaian public sector and the technologies of government that have been enlisted to combat it. The paper also discusses the particular interests that are likely served by the push for financial audits as the preferred weapon for fighting government sector fraud in the country.

Design/methodology/approach

The approach of the paper is qualitative involving the use of a variety of archival material and interviews with employees of the Ghana Audit Service, the Controller and Accountant‐General's Department, and global agencies like the World Bank and United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

Findings

The paper finds that contrary to the view of “auditing as an alien phenomenon in most parts of the Third World, certainly Africa,” financial auditing is the preferred approach to fighting government sector fraud in Ghana. The paper also shows that financial auditing is privileged over other technologies of government, in this context, largely because it reinforces the hegemony of international development agencies like the World Bank and the imperialism of the big four accounting firms.

Originality/value

The paper adds insight into the increasing role of financial auditing in the fight against government sector fraud and financial mismanagement in Ghana.

Details

Qualitative Research in Accounting & Management, vol. 6 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1176-6093

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 20 September 2011

Monir Zaman Mir and Abu Shiraz Rahaman

This paper aims to provide a stakeholder analysis of the environmental management strategies and a two‐dimensional (economic and environmental) performance of an…

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Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to provide a stakeholder analysis of the environmental management strategies and a two‐dimensional (economic and environmental) performance of an Australian energy company that seeks environmental excellence. Unlike the dominant largely positivistic studies which seek an association between environmental and financial performance, the paper aims to use the richness of a case study methodology to gain a deeper understanding of how environmental concerns are handled and what outcomes in terms of environmental and economic performance are achieved.

Design/methodology/approach

An in‐depth case study approach involving interviews, archival material and site visits is used in this paper. It starts with a brief engagement with the largely positivistic literature, highlighting the major deficiencies of this scholarship and then presents a more interpretive empirical analysis using an Australian energy company.

Findings

The paper finds that there are socio‐political processes that are enlisted to control, monitor, and instil discipline in the organization's pursuit of its social initiatives, which help to improve both its financial and environmental performance.

Practical implications

The paper provides evidence that environmental and economic performance are not always mutually exclusive, and corporate entities can excel in both simultaneously. The paper also provides evidence that the environmental strategies may be overt attempts at pushing the socio‐political agenda of the dominant stakeholder group. What seems like a win‐win situation may only represent a political‐ethical attempt to promote environmentalism in the Australian energy sector.

Originality/value

This paper uses a two‐stage investigation process to extend one's understanding of the relationship between corporate environmental and financial performance. First, evidence of improving environmental and financial performance of an energy company is provided, and then the paper explores why and how this relationship exists in the second stage of the analysis. The mainstream and critical accounting literature is bridged by focusing on issues that are largely the domain of one sub‐literature with a differentiated case study that is largely encouraged in the other.

Details

Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, vol. 24 no. 7
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3574

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 1 December 2005

Monir Zaman Mir and Abu Shiraz Rahaman

This paper seeks to evaluate the recent decision of the Bangladeshi Government and accounting profession to adopt international accounting standards (IASs).

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Abstract

Purpose

This paper seeks to evaluate the recent decision of the Bangladeshi Government and accounting profession to adopt international accounting standards (IASs).

Design/methodology/approach

The paper uses a variety of archival data and interviews with key actors, including preparers and users of annual reports, members of the Securities and Exchange Commission, and members of the professional accounting bodies: ICAB and ICMAB.

Findings

The paper finds that institutional legitimisation is a major factor that drives the decision to adopt IASs because of the pressure exerted by key international donor/lending institutions on the Bangladeshi Government and professional accounting bodies. Such pressure results from not only the need to provide credibility to foreign investors but also the need for strong accountability arrangements with lending/donor agencies. However, the perceived undemocratic nature of the adoption process appears to be creating and enhancing conflict among various constituencies, resulting in very low compliance with these standards.

Originality/value

The paper contributes to the understanding of the diffusion of International Accounting Standards and the role of global agencies, such as the World Bank, within this process.

Details

Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, vol. 18 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3574

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 18 September 2007

Abu Shiraz Rahaman, Jeff Everett and Dean Neu

Using the recent attempts by the Ghanaian Government to privatize its urban water services, this paper seeks to understand the role and functioning of accounting within…

3601

Abstract

Purpose

Using the recent attempts by the Ghanaian Government to privatize its urban water services, this paper seeks to understand the role and functioning of accounting within the global move to “reinvent government.”

Design/methodology/approach

Unlike the attempts made in other African countries such as Kenya and Tanzania, the case of Ghana is interesting because of the vociferousness and length of the debate that has been going on. Using Bourdieu's notion of field and capital and Foucault's idea of governmentality, and relying on a variety of archival documents and interviews with 27 key participants, the study examines the positioning of accounting practices, vocabulary and experts in this debate.

Findings

The study shows how accounting is enlisted at an almost sub‐conscious level, how its use can engender significant resistance and how accounting can be used to position the debate in various terms, including “profitability” “affordability” and “accountability.”

Research limitations/implications

The paper shows that within new democracies such as Ghana policy‐making requires the enlistment of technologies of government – including accounting – to articulate and justify divergent policy options.

Practical implications

The findings of the paper have implications for regional policy‐makers and their various development partners.

Originality/value

Researchers and practitioners working in the area of public sector management and reforms should find significant value in the paper.

Details

Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, vol. 20 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3574

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 24 April 2007

Monir Zaman Mir and Abu Shiraz Rahaman

The purpose of this research is to explore the role of accounting in the reform process of a continuously evolving governmental agency in the Australian state of New South Wales.

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Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this research is to explore the role of accounting in the reform process of a continuously evolving governmental agency in the Australian state of New South Wales.

Design/methodology/approach

Drawing on two complementary organizational change models, the paper investigates how the shifting objectives of the Department of Public Works and Services (DPWS) rendered its financial management and accountability systems inadequate and how “new” accounting technologies introduced to anchor the reform process clashed with bureaucratic procedures to create a very challenging context for the organization's management. The paper uses multiple research methods including interviews, archival material and observation to understand the reform process at the DPWS and its implications for public sector accounting and public sector management.

Findings

The paper finds that the unique history and continuously evolving nature of the DPWS makes it an important context for re‐examining the dynamics of change processes and the contribution of accounting technologies within that context. Since the late 1980s, the DPWS has transformed itself from a budget‐dependent bureaucratic governmental agency to a business‐oriented commercialized agency operating in a competitive environment.

Research limitations/implications

Future research could be directed at understanding how cultural fragmentations are mended in this extremely challenging reform process. Further case studies employing the two organizational change models could provide additional insights in this area.

Practical implications

The paper argues that the cultural fragmentation that is introduced by the reform of the Public Works Department and the diverse and often conflicting obligations of the sector have added to the complexities of managing the organization. Perhaps a transformational leadership‐style might be appropriate for managing such a challenging context.

Originality/value

This paper would be of value to researchers and practitioners with an interest in public sector reform and management.

Details

Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, vol. 20 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3574

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 1 February 1997

Abu Shiraz Abdul‐Rahaman, Sonja Gallhofer, Jim Haslam and Stewart Lawrence

The resurgence of interest in public sector accounting has been evident in the significant growth of the literature concerning both developed and developing countries…

Abstract

The resurgence of interest in public sector accounting has been evident in the significant growth of the literature concerning both developed and developing countries. Literature reviews in the area, however, have only focused on the former thus leaving a gap which has been overlooked for some time. This paper begins to respond to this lack in the literature by critically assessing research on public sector accounting and financial management in developing countries. The paper elaborates the various views expressed by writers in the field and also identifies omissions in terms of themes, methodologies, and methods. In particular, we argue that most of the mainly non‐empirical studies in the literature have been influenced to a very large extent by development economics thinking (including theories the relevance of which have been significantly questioned in that discipline). We conclude by offering some suggestions for future research in the area.

Details

Asian Review of Accounting, vol. 5 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1321-7348

Article
Publication date: 1 May 2003

Monir Zaman Mir and Abu Shiraz Rahaman

Recent writings have demonstrated how accounting provides a facilitating or conflict‐resolving role in organisations and society. However, some studies have argued that…

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Abstract

Recent writings have demonstrated how accounting provides a facilitating or conflict‐resolving role in organisations and society. However, some studies have argued that conflict‐creating and conflict‐enhancing roles of accounting are equally prominent and in some cases may overshadow accounting’s facilitating roles. This paper provides evidence supporting the latter thesis within an enterprise bargaining context. Using the University of New England, as a case study, the paper highlights how opposing parties engage similar accounting technologies to support their positions in the bargaining process. The paper draws on the 1992 union heterogeneity and employer equivocality model of Amernic and Craig to argue that the perceived facilitating roles of accounting not only disappear, but accounting also becomes largely obstructive in reaching a settlement.

Details

Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, vol. 16 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3574

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 24 July 2009

Monir Zaman Mir, Bikram Chatterjee and Abu Shiraz Rahaman

The purpose of this paper is to explore the cultural underpinnings of accounting practices through a comparative analysis of India and New Zealand, using the chairperson's…

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Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore the cultural underpinnings of accounting practices through a comparative analysis of India and New Zealand, using the chairperson's report, which is increasingly becoming one of the most important segments of the corporate annual report.

Design/methodology/approach

The annual reports of Indian and New Zealand companies from 2001 to 2005 were selected to investigate the extent and nature of information disclosure in their chairperson's report. “Content analysis” is the main methodological orientation of the paper.

Findings

The paper argues that, contrary to propositions based on Hofstede's cultural framework, Indian companies provide more disclosure in their chairperson's report than their New Zealand counterparts. This leads to the conclusion that voluntary disclosure, more generally, is a complex phenomenon and cultural variables alone may not be sufficient predictors of the voluntary disclosure practices of a country.

Originality/value

Using India and New Zealand, two countries with significant cultural differences, according to Hofstede's typology, the paper extends the literature by focusing on the chairperson's report, a more recent accounting phenomenon which is gaining popularity across the globe.

Details

Managerial Auditing Journal, vol. 24 no. 7
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0268-6902

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 1 May 2001

Abu Shiraz Rahaman and Stewart Lawrence

Just over two decades ago, Hopwood criticised accounting researchers for how little they knew of the actual functioning of accounting in organisational contexts. Recently…

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Abstract

Just over two decades ago, Hopwood criticised accounting researchers for how little they knew of the actual functioning of accounting in organisational contexts. Recently, Parker and Roffey reminded us that this is still the case. A new wave of critical and interpretive researchers have not been able to ground their theorising in the actual practice of accounting. This paper attempts to explicate the negotiated order perspective as a social theory that may help to better understand accounting in its organisational context. The paper not only presents the theoretical constructs of the negotiated order perspective but also a case (Volta River Authority) illustration of how the perspective could help in appreciating accounting practice within organisations and society.

Details

Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, vol. 14 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3574

Keywords

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