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Article
Publication date: 18 April 2017

Belinda Rachael Williams

The purpose of this paper is to determine the current state of play for workplace diversity disclosures, specifically disability by investigating the recently revised…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to determine the current state of play for workplace diversity disclosures, specifically disability by investigating the recently revised Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) Corporate Governance Principles and Recommendations.

Design/methodology/approach

Case study methodology using documentary analysis techniques.

Findings

With gender diversity recommendations introduced in 2010 based on the business case perspective, the process of revising the ASX Corporate Governance Principles and Recommendations provided an opportunity for the ASX to expand its diversity focus, with disability diversity specifically identified in the draft third edition. However, the key amendments were subsequently removed when the approved edition was released in 2014 with justification provided on the grounds that disability is a social issue, not a corporate governance issue. Through a widening of the corporate governance lens beyond the business case perspective, this paper calls for a re-imagining of corporate governance to incorporate an ethical viewpoint on diversity.

Social implications

Disability diversity disclosure is merely the first step towards reform in helping to bring about deep change within organisations. Without both administrative reform and institutional reform, any future revisitation of the disability disclosure recommendations may become little more than a “tick the box” approach.

Originality/value

The paper is unique in reviewing the ASX Corporate Governance developmental processes towards workplace disability in its recently revised edition.

Details

Equality, Diversity and Inclusion: An International Journal, vol. 36 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2040-7149

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 22 February 2021

Belinda Williams, Sumit Lodhia, Mitali Panchal Arora and Lisa McManus

With an increased focus on the need for higher levels of accountability and transparency in the public sector, this study aims to provide insights into non-financial…

Abstract

Purpose

With an increased focus on the need for higher levels of accountability and transparency in the public sector, this study aims to provide insights into non-financial reporting (NFR) practices as a mechanism in facilitating accountability. This study also aims to investigate the changing role of the public sector accountant in this process, specifically focusing on the Australian local government sector.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors used a mail survey across two time periods, 2009 and 2017, to analyse the role of accountants in NFR practices. Institutional theory provides a theoretical framing for the study.

Findings

The findings reveal an increase in the use of accountants across time in the preparation of voluntary information, being used in a variety of roles because of their financial abilities and analytical skills. The results also indicate a shift has occurred with more emphasis being placed on cross-departmental approaches to NFP incorporating the accountant. These results suggest a greater recognition of the role of accountants in NFR and a dilution of accountant’s boundaries in relation to their existing traditional focus.

Research limitations/implications

This study contributes to the academic NFR literature by providing evidence of an institutional shift that is occurring with the accountant’s role widening to a broader context beyond their traditional roles.

Practical implications

This longitudinal study provides practical evidence to management of the potential offered by accountants as the public sector seeks to achieve higher levels of accountability and transparency. Policy implications also arise in relation to the need for development of quality assurance guidelines and further education and training as the public sector embarks on the journey of NFR.

Originality/value

To the best of the authors’ knowledge, this study is the first that has explored the evolution of NFR over a period of time through its focus on the role of accountants.

Details

Managerial Auditing Journal, vol. 36 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0268-6902

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 3 July 2017

Sonia Shimeld, Belinda Williams and Justin Shimeld

The business case argument was used to underpin the inclusion of diversity disclosures within the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) Corporate Governance Principles and…

Abstract

Purpose

The business case argument was used to underpin the inclusion of diversity disclosures within the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) Corporate Governance Principles and Recommendations (2010). By adding a requirement for diversity disclosure, an increase in focus on diversity would be expected because of a heightened level of accountability. Whether this change in the Recommendations affected any change in the boardroom is questionable though. The purpose of this paper is to explore the effectiveness of these disclosure requirements.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors draw on data obtained from a random sample of 120 ASX-listed company annual reports across two time periods: 2009 and 2012 (before and after the change in the Recommendations).

Findings

Although findings indicate that there has been some change, especially in the more visible companies (ASX200), many of the changes appear to be largely superficial with a continued focus on the business case perspective.

Social implications

While the disclosure recommendations have the potential to be a driver in addressing gender inequity, the findings of this paper indicate that without deep change at the organisational level, requiring listed companies to disclose on gender diversity may have little impact, with the focus remaining on the business case and business as normal.

Originality/value

This paper contributes to the literature on gender diversity in the boardroom and the effect of disclosure. The empirical findings contribute to an understanding of the diversity Recommendations within the ASX Corporate Governance Principles and Recommendations, but in doing so, it calls for deeper organisational cultural change if real change is to take effect.

Details

Sustainability Accounting, Management and Policy Journal, vol. 8 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2040-8021

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 17 July 2015

Belinda Rachael Williams

The purpose of this paper is to provide an understanding of the role of communication in the sustainability reporting process within Australian local councils. The study…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to provide an understanding of the role of communication in the sustainability reporting process within Australian local councils. The study focuses on three areas; understanding and awareness levels of local councils towards sustainability, sustainability reporting methods and the importance of community engagement.

Design/methodology/approach

A qualitative semi-structured interview approach was adopted for this investigation. In total, 18 semi-structured interviews were conducted with senior managers across 13 local councils.

Findings

Findings indicate that sustainability reporting is very much an emerging field in local government in Australia with varying levels of understanding and awareness of sustainability amongst councils. A lack of consistency in the current communication message being produced was found along with a lack of community engagement by most councils in the reporting process. Without clarity in the communication process, sustainability reporting in the local government context will continue to falter without a clear focus.

Practical implications

The paper suggests the need for the local government sector to carefully consider the role of communication in an effort to provide direction on how best to discharge their sustainability accountabilities.

Originality/value

Little attention has been given to the role of communication in accounting. The findings contribute to an understanding surrounding communication process issues in an effort to advance the sustainability reporting agenda within local government.

Details

Asian Review of Accounting, vol. 23 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1321-7348

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 5 May 2015

Belinda Williams

This paper aims to focus on the local government accountants’ perspective towards their current and potential role in the sustainability reporting process and to explore…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to focus on the local government accountants’ perspective towards their current and potential role in the sustainability reporting process and to explore potential factors influencing the further development of their role.

Design/methodology/approach

A mail survey approach was adopted across local government organisations with a deeper analysis provided through semi-structured interviews.

Findings

Findings indicate that accountants are supportive of involvement in sustainability reporting, but their actual level differs significantly from the level of involvement they believe they should have, pointing to the existence of an execution gap. Potential factors are investigated, highlighting the limited integration of sustainability beyond the organisational level, the lack of understanding of sustainability by accountants and the current need for further up-skilling by accountants.

Research limitations/implications

The study enhances understanding of the accountant’s perception towards sustainability reporting practices within the public sector, with particular focus on local government.

Originality/value

This is an exploratory study examining an area of accounting in local government in which there are few others. It seeks to contribute to the literature by exploring and examining the accountant’s perception towards sustainable development and their current and future prospects in the reporting process in the local government sector in Australia.

Details

Sustainability Accounting, Management and Policy Journal, vol. 6 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2040-8021

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 3 August 2015

Belinda Rachael Williams and Gary O'Donovan

This paper aims to explore the accountants’ perspective towards their role and function as business advisors in assisting with the adoption of sustainable business…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to explore the accountants’ perspective towards their role and function as business advisors in assisting with the adoption of sustainable business practices (SBPs) in small and medium enterprises (SMEs).

Design/methodology/approach

A questionnaire-based study was conducted on members from one of Australia’s leading professional accounting organizations.

Findings

Key findings from this research highlighted deficiencies in the effectiveness of the accounting profession in assisting SMEs in implementing SBPs despite a desire from clients for accountants to provide this advice and a belief that accountants are best placed to do so. Further, an expectations gap is evident between the level of involvement accountants believe they should be having in assisting SMEs and the level of involvement that is currently occurring.

Research limitations/implications

This finding has implications for the accounting profession, with accountants needing to examine their current business approaches in an effort to close this gap. If this does not occur, SMEs will most likely seek this much-needed advice and support from outside the profession.

Originality/value

Little attention has been given to the accountant’s role in respect of sustainability from an accountant’s perspective. The findings contribute to understanding the accountant’s importance in advancing their involvement in assisting SMEs in the uptake of SBPs.

Details

Social Responsibility Journal, vol. 11 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1747-1117

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Article
Publication date: 5 May 2015

Belinda Rachael Williams, Simone Bingham and Sonia Shimeld

The purpose of this study is to understand how board composition and independent non-executive director (INED) disclosures have changed in light of the global financial…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this study is to understand how board composition and independent non-executive director (INED) disclosures have changed in light of the global financial crisis (GFC) from an accountability perspective.

Design/methodology/approach

Content analysis techniques were undertaken on a random sample of 75 publicly listed companies across two time periods, 2005 and 2010.

Findings

The findings highlighted increased INED board membership and increased skill and experience disclosure across all board positions, with the most significant increase being the INED position. The results support the notion that firms are attempting to restore their accountability relationships post-GFC through more transparent mechanisms of governance. However, concerns are also raised in the way individual companies are meeting the ASX Corporate Governance independence requirements.

Research limitations/implications

The results raise questions as to whether firms have implemented these changes to ensure effective governance and accountability responsibilities, or simply to give the appearance of good governance.

Originality/value

Little attention has been given in the literature to the characteristics of INEDs and whether board changes have been made in the wake of corporate and financial crises. The findings from this study contribute to an understanding of board composition and disclosures pre- and post-GFC.

Details

Managerial Auditing Journal, vol. 30 no. 4/5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0268-6902

Keywords

Content available
Article
Publication date: 24 October 2008

Abstract

Details

Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, vol. 21 no. 8
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3574

Content available
Article
Publication date: 19 September 2008

Abstract

Details

Pacific Accounting Review, vol. 20 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0114-0582

Content available
Article
Publication date: 3 October 2008

Abstract

Details

Qualitative Research in Accounting & Management, vol. 5 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1176-6093

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