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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 Therefore, the review focusses on published output only and does not discuss unpublished theses, conference proceedings nor working papers.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

Keywords

Open Access
Article
Publication date: 10 August 2021

Wenjun Wen

This paper aims to review the research on accounting professionalisation in China to develop insights into how the research is developing, offer a critique of the research…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to review the research on accounting professionalisation in China to develop insights into how the research is developing, offer a critique of the research to date and outline future research directions and opportunities.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper adopts a methodological approach of systematic literature review, as suggested by Tranfield et al. (2003) and Denyer and Tranfield (2009), to identify, select and analyse the extant literature on the Chinese public accounting profession. In total, 68 academic works were included in the review process.

Findings

This paper finds that the extant literature has produced fruitful insights into the processes and underlying motivation of accounting professionalisation in China, demonstrating that the Chinese experience has differed, to a large extent, from the hitherto mainly Anglo-American-dominated understandings of accounting professionalisation. However, due to the lack of common theoretical vernacular and an agreed upon focus, the extant literature illustrates a fragmented and contradictory picture, making attempts to accumulate prior knowledge in the field increasingly difficult.

Research limitations/implications

This paper focusses only on research published in English. Consequently, the scope of review has been limited as some works published in languages other than English may be excluded.

Originality/value

This paper provides one of the pioneering exercises to systematically review the research on accounting professionalisation in China. It explores significant issues arising from the analysis and provides several suggestions for furthering the research effort in this field.

Details

Journal of Accounting in Emerging Economies, vol. 12 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2042-1168

Keywords

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

Keywords

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…

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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

Keywords

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…

1250

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

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 17 September 2021

Daniel W. Richards, Sarath Lal Ukwatte Jalathge and Prem W. Senarath Yapa

This paper researches the professionalization of financial planning in Australia. The authors investigate how the institutional logic of major institutions inhibits this…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper researches the professionalization of financial planning in Australia. The authors investigate how the institutional logic of major institutions inhibits this occupation from moving toward a professional status.

Design/methodology/approach

The study uses documentary analysis of government inquiries into Australian financial services from 1997 to 2017 to ascertain the various institutional logics relating to the professionalization of financial planning. The method involves generating ideas from the data and applying an institutional logic framework to make sense of impediments to the professionalization of financial planning in Australia.

Findings

The regulator adopted a self-regulation logic that empowered financial institutions to govern financial advice. These financial institutions have a logic of profit maximization that creates conflicts of interest in financial planning. The financial planning professional bodies adopted a logic of attracting and retaining members due to a competitive professional environment. Thus, financial planners have not been defined as fiduciaries, professional standards have not increased and an ineffective disciplinary resolution system exists.

Research limitations/implications

This research illustrates the various institutional logics that need to be addressed to professionalize financial planning in Australia. However, the data used is limited to that drawn from the parliamentary inquiries.

Originality/value

Prior research on the emergence of professions such as accounting has shown that financial institutions are sites of professionalization. This research shows that financial institutions impede professionalization in financial planning. Also, where the state granted legitimacy to other professions, this research indicates that the state regulator's logic of self-regulation has not legitimized financial planning.

Details

Journal of Public Budgeting, Accounting & Financial Management, vol. 34 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1096-3367

Keywords

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…

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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

Keywords

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

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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.

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

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 27 July 2021

Prem W. Senarath Yapa

The purpose of this paper to systematically review and critique research on professional accounting development published in English during the last two-and-a-half…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper to systematically review and critique research on professional accounting development published in English during the last two-and-a-half decades. This paper focusses on developing countries (DCs) and suggests a future research agenda. In recent decades, many DCs have undergone reforms in the professionalisation of accounting (PA).

Design/methodology/approach

Extant research articles are selected from major accounting journals between 1995 and 2020 for the review. A conceptual analysis of the selected literature is presented to evaluate the focus and scope of existing work.

Findings

Previous empirical research on DCs has focused on the state and political ideology, religion and Sharia law, racial/class discrimination, colonialism and closure (e.g. the monopolisation of accounting work). Also, a complex set of globalisation, political, economic, and social contexts. In particular, a strong tradition of British accounting associations providing accounting qualifications in DCs is noted. Future research should aim to examine such issues as the politics of decolonisation, domination, neoliberalism, competition from Western professional associations, accounting in state-owned organisations, government accounting reforms, and social and environmental accounting issues.

Research limitations/implications

This paper covers only PA research in high-ranked English language accounting journals and chapters of a monograph. Accounting research published in other languages and lower-ranked journals could be imperative sources as well but not included in this study.

Originality/value

While PA has been explored in a variety of locations and from different perspectives in Western countries, a review in DCs was lacking.

Details

Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, vol. 35 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3574

Keywords

1 – 10 of over 3000