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Article
Publication date: 27 June 2019

Wai Fong Chua, Maria Cadiz Dyball and Helen Yee

The purpose of this paper is twofold: first, to assess the impact of the 1999 Special Issue on Professionalization in Asia in the Accounting, Auditing and Accountability

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is twofold: first, to assess the impact of the 1999 Special Issue on Professionalization in Asia in the Accounting, Auditing and Accountability Journal (AAAJ); and second, more generally to review research on this topic post-1999.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper starts with a discussion of the research articles of the Special Issue. It then identifies research that has cited papers in the Special Issue and which focusses on professionalization in Asia to identify relevant subsequent research. In addition, a literature search is conducted to locate post-1999 work that has not cited papers from the Special Issue but has investigated the same topic area. Analyzing both sets of work enables an integrated review of the field and aids the identification of future research opportunities. The study covers published research articles and books on professionalization projects in Asia from 1999 to 2018. In this paper, reference to Asia focusses on East Asia (including countries such as China and Japan), South Asia (including countries such as Bangladesh, India and Sri Lanka), and South East Asia (including countries such as Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines and Vietnam). Given the elapsed time of near 20 years, there has been sufficient time for research to be published. Therefore, the review focusses on published output only and does not discuss unpublished theses, conference proceedings nor working papers.

Findings

First, the Special Issue of AAAJ in 1999 generally adopted a critical lens and studied professionalization as projects of market closure and collective mobility. The corporatist framework of Puxty et al. (1987) provided a useful framing to analyze the influence of states, markets and communities on professionalization. Second, the Special Issue has helped to spur interest in understanding professionalization in the region. Post-1999, there are studies of countries not covered in the Special Issue. Third, the themes identified in the Special Issue continue to be relevant and are examined in post-1999 work: the active role of the state, the legacies of colonization, the activities of transnational accounting bodies; and to a lesser degree, the influence of transnational accounting firms. Finally, future research could usefully focus on: the distinctive and more expansive role of Asian state agencies; the conduct of deeper comparative research; the role of accounting firms in the region; and the impact of transnational agencies such as the International Federation of Accountants and the World Bank.

Research limitations/implications

There are three limitations. First, the review of literature omits unpublished research such as PhD theses and working papers. Second, it focusses only on research published in English. As a result, some work may be excluded. Third, it assesses the contribution of a single issue (i.e. the 1999 AAAJ Special Issue) and does not discuss work that preceded 1999.

Originality/value

This paper is aimed at assessing the impact of the 1999 Special Issue but also presents a wide-ranging analytical review of published research on accounting professionalization in Asia since 1999. The paper identifies several areas for future research and proposes a modified model of state-market-community-profession relations. In particular, the paper emphasizes the large and distinctive roles of Asian state agencies and the activities of transnational actors (both those within the profession as well as those that are external).

Details

Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, vol. 32 no. 8
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3574

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Article
Publication date: 9 June 2020

Delphine Gibassier, Sami El Omari and Philippe Naccache

Within the emergent professional field of carbon accounting, we analyse the institutional work that gives birth to a nascent profession in a multi-actor arena. We…

Abstract

Purpose

Within the emergent professional field of carbon accounting, we analyse the institutional work that gives birth to a nascent profession in a multi-actor arena. We therefore contribute to enhancing our understanding of the birth of professions – in their very first steps and infancy.

Design/methodology/approach

This study employs a qualitative approach. We collected data from 1999 to 2015 and conducted 15 semi-structured interviews. One of the researchers was active in the field for two years and participated in carbon accounting events in France as a “participant observer”.

Findings

Our research contributes to an understanding of the dynamic professionalization process in which the different actors mobilize both creative work and sabotage work. We further theorize how nascent professions structure their project around knowledge, identity and boundary work. At the same time, we develop the notion of sabotage work, which is comprised of two sub-categories of institutional work: counter-work and the absence of work.

Originality/value

To our knowledge, this is one of the first attempts to analyse the birth of an environmental accounting profession. We emphasize both creative work and sabotage work in the professionalization project. We conclude on further research that could be performed on environmental accounting professions.

Details

Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, vol. 33 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3574

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Article
Publication date: 14 September 2012

Dessalegn Getie Mihret, Kieran James and Joseph M. Mula

This study aims to examine accounting professionalization in Ethiopia focusing on how the state, occupational group struggle and transnational accountancy bodies influence…

Abstract

Purpose

This study aims to examine accounting professionalization in Ethiopia focusing on how the state, occupational group struggle and transnational accountancy bodies influence the realization of closure.

Design/methodology/approach

A qualitative research approach is employed. Data were collected using document review and oral history approaches.

Findings

Accounting professionalization in Ethiopia was initiated by the state to strengthen the country's financial system. Owing to a change of state ideology to communism in 1974, a strategy of developing accounting professionals as government‐employed experts was pursued. The return to a market‐oriented economy in 1991 has seen a trend towards a more autonomous accountancy profession. Inflow of UK capital in the early twentieth century and activities of the UK‐based Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) in recent decades have influenced Ethiopia's accountancy. Its professional and financial power has enabled ACCA to make arrangements with Ethiopian Professional Association of Accountants and Auditors (EPAAA) and consolidate its position in Ethiopia's accountancy by controlling EPAAA's member training and certification.

Originality/value

The literature on accounting professional projects in developing countries has focused on imperialistic influence in former British colonies. The present study extends this literature by illustrating how British influence has continued to extend beyond Britain's former colonial possessions. This enables an understanding of the dynamics of accounting professional projects in the developing world with analytical dimensions building on the hitherto dominant lens of “formal” colonial connection.

Details

Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, vol. 25 no. 7
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3574

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Article
Publication date: 17 December 2018

Paul D. Ahn and Kerry Jacobs

The purpose of this paper is to explore how an accounting association and its key members define, control, and claim their knowledge; adopt a closure and/or openness…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore how an accounting association and its key members define, control, and claim their knowledge; adopt a closure and/or openness policy to enhance their status/influence; and respond to structural/institutional forces from international organisations and/or the state in a particular historical context, such as a globalised/neo-liberalised setting.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors draw on Pierre Bourdieu’s theoretical tools (field, capital, habitus, and doxa) to understand how public sector accrual accounting was defined, and how the Korean Association for Government Accounting was formed and represented as a group with public sector accounting expertise. The research context was the implementation of accrual accounting in South Korea between 1997/1998, when the Asian financial crisis broke out, and 2006/2007, when accrual accounting was enforced by legislation. The authors interviewed social actors recognised as public sector accounting experts, in addition to examining related documents such as articles in academic journals, newsletters, invitations, membership forms, newspaper articles, and curricula vitae.

Findings

The authors found that the key founders of KAGA included some public administration professors, who advocated public sector accrual accounting via civil society groups immediately after Korea applied to the International Monetary Fund for bailout loans and a new government was formed in 1997/1998. In conjunction with public servants, they defined and designed public sector accrual accounting as a measure of public sector reform and as a part of the broader government budget process, rather than as an accounting initiative. They also co-opted accounting professors and CPA-qualified accountants through their personal connections, based on shared educational backgrounds, to represent the association as a public sector accounting experts’ group.

Originality/value

These findings suggest that the study of the accounting profession cannot be restricted to a focus on professional accounting associations and that accounting knowledge can be acquired by non-accountants. Therefore, the authors argue that the relationship between accounting knowledge, institutional forms, and key actors’ strategies is rich and multifaceted.

Details

Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, vol. 32 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3574

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Article
Publication date: 25 November 2019

Olivier Boiral, Iñaki Heras-Saizarbitoria and Marie-Christine Brotherton

The purpose of this paper is to examine the professionalism and professionalization of sustainability assurance providers based on the experiences and perceptions of…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine the professionalism and professionalization of sustainability assurance providers based on the experiences and perceptions of auditors involved in this activity.

Design/methodology/approach

The empirical study was based on 38 semi-directed interviews conducted with assurance providers from accounting and consulting firms.

Findings

The findings highlight the division of this professional activity between accounting and consulting firms, each of which question the professionalism of the other. The main standards in this area tend to be used as legitimizing tools to enhance the credibility of the assurance process rather than effective guidelines to improve the quality of the verification process. Finally, the complex and multifaceted skills required to conduct sound sustainability assurance and the virtual absence of recognized and substantial training programs in this area undermine the professionalization of assurance providers.

Research limitations/implications

This work has important practical implications for standardization bodies, assurance providers and stakeholders concerned by the quality and the reliability of sustainability disclosure.

Originality/value

This study shows how practitioners in this area construct and legitimize their professional activity in terms of identity, standardization and competences. The work contributes to the literatures on the assurance of sustainability reports, self-regulation through standardization and professionalization.

Details

Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, vol. 33 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3574

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Article
Publication date: 19 April 2013

Michael G. Keenan

The purpose of this paper is to show how accounting technology transfers from the centre of the British Empire contributed to the early professionalisation of accounting

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to show how accounting technology transfers from the centre of the British Empire contributed to the early professionalisation of accounting and auditing practices in a New Zealand public utility company – the Auckland Gas Company – while it was operating in a colonial, pioneer, settler society.

Design/methodology/approach

An explanatory historical narrative links the company's inward transfers of accounting technology to the developing professionalisation of its accounting practices. Different analytical frameworks are used to combine the two components of the narrative: those of Jeremy for technology transfers, and Carnegie and Edwards for stages in the professionalisation process. The narrative is informed by archival research on the annual reports and financial statements of the company, and the minutes of its directors' meetings.

Findings

Accounting technology transfers are identified in the company's adoption of British accounting regulations, its appointment of skilled immigrants, and their adoption of contemporary English gas companies' accounting practices. Proto‐professional accounting, i.e. the earliest stage of accounting professionalisation as the practice changes from non‐professional to professional, is evidenced in the change in accountants' and auditors' work from unpaid to paid, and in their exercise of more specialised skills. Effects of technology transfer on the professionalisation of the company's accounting practices are traced through changes in its accounting methods, internal control systems, external reporting forms, and the auditing of its accounts.

Originality/value

The paper's focus on technology transfer in proto‐professional accounting in a New Zealand setting is an original contribution to the literature on accounting technology transfers between different countries in different periods.

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Article
Publication date: 17 September 2019

Gabriel Bamie Kaifala, Sonja Gallhofer, Margaret Milner and Catriona Paisey

The purpose of this paper is to explore perceptions and lived experiences of Sierra Leonean chartered and aspiring accountants, vis-à-vis their professional identity with…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore perceptions and lived experiences of Sierra Leonean chartered and aspiring accountants, vis-à-vis their professional identity with a particular focus on two elements of postcolonial theory, hybridity and diaspora.

Design/methodology/approach

A qualitative methodological framework was employed. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 18 participants about their perceptions of their professional identity and their professional experiences both within and outside Sierra Leone.

Findings

The current professionalisation process is conceptualised as a postcolonial third space where hybrid professional accountants are constructed. Professional hybridity blurs the local/global praxis being positioned as both local and global accountants. Participants experience difficulty “fitting into” the local accountancy context as a consequence of their hybridisation. As such, a diaspora effect is induced which often culminates in emigration to advanced countries. The paper concludes that although the current model engenders emancipatory social movements for individuals through hybridity and diaspora, it is nonetheless counterproductive for Sierra Leone’s economic development and the local profession in particular.

Research limitations/implications

This study has significant implications for understanding how the intervention of global professional bodies in developing countries shapes the professionalisation process as well as perceptions and lived experiences of chartered and aspiring accountants in these countries.

Originality/value

While extant literature implicates the legacies of colonialism/imperialism on the institutional development of accountancy (represented by recognised professional bodies), this paper employs the critical lens of postcolonial theory to conceptualise the lived experiences of individuals who are directly impacted by such institutional arrangements.

Details

Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, vol. 32 no. 7
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3574

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Article
Publication date: 15 February 2008

Stephen P. Walker

This paper seeks to review the accounting history content of Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal (AAAJ) over the last 20 years and to identify distinctive…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper seeks to review the accounting history content of Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal (AAAJ) over the last 20 years and to identify distinctive research themes therein. Observations and suggestions are offered in relation to future accounting history research.

Design/methodology/approach

The study comprises an analysis of the content of AAAJ and related literature.

Findings

Histories appearing in AAAJ have focused on technical issues, accounting in business organisations, cost and management accounting, accounting historiography, professionalisation, and socio‐cultural studies of accounting. The journal has been an important medium for the pursuit of interdisciplinarity, the promotion and practical application of new research methods, methodological pluralism, and searches for convergence in historical debates.

Research limitations/implications

The paper discusses the potential for advancing established research agendas in accounting history and identifies some new subjects for investigation by accounting historians.

Originality/value

It is suggested that, while methodological innovation and plurality are to be applauded, the sustained application of new approaches should also receive greater encouragement. Searches for rapprochement in accounting history debate run the risk of stultifying historical controversy. It is argued that histories of management accounting, gender, class, professionalisation are far from “complete” and should be reignited through the adoption of broader theoretical, temporal and spatial parameters. An emphasis on the performative aspects of accounting in socio‐cultural histories is encouraged, as is clearer recognition of the significance of contemporary understandings of the boundaries of accounting. Also emphasised is the desirability of more indigenously sensitised histories of the profession, greater engagement with the “literary turn”, and a renewed commitment to interdisciplinarity.

Details

Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, vol. 21 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3574

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Article
Publication date: 31 July 2014

Anna Samsonova-Taddei and Christopher Humphrey

The accounting regulation literature has recently devoted a significant degree of attention to delineating the roles of accounting firms as key professional actors in the…

Abstract

Purpose

The accounting regulation literature has recently devoted a significant degree of attention to delineating the roles of accounting firms as key professional actors in the transnational policy arena. Such a heightened level of scholarly engagement with firms seems to have shifted the focus away from the roles of the national professional institutes. The purpose of this paper is to demonstrate the importance of not losing sight of the national professional bodies as important players on the transnational governance scene.

Design/methodology/approach

The accounting regulation literature has recently devoted a significant degree of attention to delineating the roles of accounting firms as key professional actors in the transnational policy arena. Such a heightened level of scholarly engagement with firms seems to have shifted the focus away from the roles of the national professional institutes. The aim with this paper is to demonstrate the importance of not losing sight of the national professional bodies as important players on the transnational governance scene.

Findings

The paper provides empirical illustrations and discussion of the transforming agendas and strategies of influence pursued by various national professional bodies as they attempt to reinvent themselves to face up to the challenges of the changing regulatory landscape. Specifically, the paper analyses a range of activities where such bodies are seen to be competing with each other as well as partaking in a variety of collaborative initiatives in their quest to gain/maintain the status of a global/regional professional thought leader.

Practical implications

The paper is designed to encourage renewed academic debate on the roles and strategies of national professional institutes and highlight opportunities and venues for future research. The paper is also suggestive of the need to refine conceptual perspectives on professionalization processes operational in transnational settings.

Originality/value

The accounting literature is lacking in terms of contemporary study of national professional bodies as active institutions with global ambition and strategies of influence. This paper addresses such a shortcoming by analysing the strategic intent and actions of a range of such bodies (revealing, in the process, a quite fascinating complex of activity, competition and cooperation) and calling for a renewed focus on national professional bodies as a way of enhancing contemporary understanding of the workings of the “global accounting profession”.

Details

Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, vol. 27 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3574

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Article
Publication date: 16 January 2007

P.W. Senarath Yapa and Zhen Ping Hao

With the introduction of open door policy in 1978 and recent entrance to the World Trade Organisation (WTO), there seems to be a continuous growth of world business…

Abstract

Purpose

With the introduction of open door policy in 1978 and recent entrance to the World Trade Organisation (WTO), there seems to be a continuous growth of world business between China and the rest of the world. The purpose of this article is to make a comparison between Chinese professionalisation of accounting with other Western countries focusing on three professional themes: profession and the state, entry qualification to the profession and the relationship between higher education and the profession.

Design/methodology/approach

This study uses a qualitative method and it is based on using unstructured interviews with Chinese Institute of Certified Public Accountants (CICPA) (Beijing office), CPA Australia (Beijing Representative Office) and National Accounting Institute (NAI) (Beijing office) – all conducted in March 2005. Further information about the current accounting development in China is collected through secondary sources.

Findings

The results show that current accounting professionalisation project in China has been derailed mainly due to lack of coordination among accounting educational institutions. It seems that the CICPA purposely exert control over the supply of accountants by limiting the membership only to those who complete its own examinations mainly to maintain the “local status” of its members.

Originality/value

The professional accounting project should be closely linked with China's entrance to the WTO and the World Bank initiatives on accounting development. The results indicate that the accounting profession in China has so far been failed to take appropriate measures to align the professional accounting development with that of parallel professions as found in Western countries.

Details

Asian Review of Accounting, vol. 15 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1321-7348

Keywords

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