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Article
Publication date: 19 June 2020

Silvia Pilonato

The paper aims to explore the links between corruption and accounting in the public procurement setting. In particular, it investigates how accounting can fight or…

Abstract

Purpose

The paper aims to explore the links between corruption and accounting in the public procurement setting. In particular, it investigates how accounting can fight or facilitate corruption

Design/methodology/approach

The study takes a qualitative approach, analyzing one of the worst recent Italian cases of corruption, the “MOSE” trial. Documents produced during the trial are analyzed.

Findings

The findings contribute to our understanding of how the (mis)use of accounting can help to build a “sustainable” corruption network, and be used to create, maintain and share corruptive cash flows. Participating actors can use accounting tools to coordinate their actions and organize their misconduct. Accounting may also reveal the existence of such networks, however, by enabling the fiscal police to discover tax fraud, and by reconstructing how a corruption network functions from records kept to manage internal cash flows and the provision of other benefits.

Practical implications

Because corruption is a worldwide phenomenon, a better understanding of how it functions may lead (among other things) to the identification of more effective prevention measures. Particular attention should be paid to events that favor corruption, such as extraordinary occurrences, huge amounts of public resources and new institutional structure without appropriate control and balance tools.

Originality/value

Given the specific features of episodes of corruption, qualitative studies on this topic are scarce. Little is known about corruption processes, and even less about the part that accounting can play in them. The MOSE case offers some intriguing insight, showing how accounting can be used to build a “sustainable” corruption network by collecting slush funds and facilitating benefit-sharing among individuals.

Details

Journal of Public Budgeting, Accounting & Financial Management, vol. 34 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1096-3367

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Article
Publication date: 9 September 2013

Antonella Cugini, Giovanna Michelon and Silvia Pilonato

– The purpose of this paper is to present and discuss an accounting innovation in the cost measurement system of rail transport companies.

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2775

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to present and discuss an accounting innovation in the cost measurement system of rail transport companies.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors identify the distinctive features that cost accounting systems should have in order to capture the particular structure of the production process of rail transport companies and develop an innovative accounting practice that addresses the specific features of railway services, particularly the high fixed costs associated with the infrastructure. This accounting innovation is applied to Trentino Trasporti, a medium-sized, privately owned passenger railway company operating in the Trentino Alto Adige region of Italy.

Findings

Evidence suggests that the new accounting practice facilitates the operational connection between the company's resources and their consumption during the provision of transport services.

Practical implications

This connection enables companies to identify new opportunities for improvement and cost optimisation by finding the real origins of cost consumption in the provision of rail transport services.

Originality/value

The case analysed also shows the necessity of integrating activity-based costing (ABC) with an accounting innovation that can represent the resources consumed by the various elements of the infrastructure that support the provision of services. This innovation has important managerial outcomes for all service companies that operate with an infrastructure network, including transport, service, and utility companies, and useful implications for the accounting profession that deals with cost systems in networked-based companies.

Details

Journal of Applied Accounting Research, vol. 14 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0967-5426

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Article
Publication date: 7 March 2016

Giovanna Michelon, Silvia Pilonato, Federica Ricceri and Robin W Roberts

The purpose of this paper is threefold. First, it examines nuances that specific camouflaging perspectives provide to enhance traditional and widely adopted theories in…

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1612

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is threefold. First, it examines nuances that specific camouflaging perspectives provide to enhance traditional and widely adopted theories in social and environmental accounting. Second, within research on camouflaging, the paper stimulates multidisciplinarity and cross-fertilization by presenting recent developments in organizational theory that hold promise for enhancing our understanding of camouflaging. Finally, it discusses how the research contributions published in this special issue help advance the notion of corporate camouflaging.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper makes use of an extensive literature review and discusses research implications related with the choice of theoretical framework.

Findings

The idea of camouflaging may provide narrower and more refined perspective(s) that can help researchers delve deeper into their topic of interest and thereby support potentially substantive contributions to the field.

Originality/value

The paper offers suggestions for future social and environmental accounting research that adopts the concepts of organized hypocrisy, organizational façades and functional stupidity into the study of organizations.

Details

Sustainability Accounting, Management and Policy Journal, vol. 7 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2040-8021

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Book part
Publication date: 27 November 2014

Abstract

Details

Accountability and Social Accounting for Social and Non-Profit Organizations
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78441-004-9

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Article
Publication date: 6 May 2014

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237

Abstract

Details

Sustainability Accounting, Management and Policy Journal, vol. 5 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2040-8021

Content available
Article
Publication date: 20 February 2017

Abstract

Details

Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, vol. 30 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3574

Content available
Article
Publication date: 6 June 2019

Carol A. Adams

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735

Abstract

Details

Sustainability Accounting, Management and Policy Journal, vol. 10 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2040-8021

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Article
Publication date: 21 May 2018

Emilio Passetti, Lino Cinquini and Andrea Tenucci

The purpose of this paper is to investigate to what extent the implementation of internal environmental management and voluntary environmental information is related to…

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2293

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to investigate to what extent the implementation of internal environmental management and voluntary environmental information is related to organisational change.

Design/methodology/approach

Organisational change literature provided a framework for the analysis of the materials which were collected through a mixed method. Data on internal environmental management were collected through a survey, while a quality disclosure index was used to assess the quality of the environmental voluntary disclosure. Interviews were used to enhance the quantitative results interpreted according to the four pathways proposed by Tilt (2006) and characterised by several levels of internal environmental management and voluntary disclosure.

Findings

The results indicated that companies implement more internal activities than external disclosure. Environmental planning and operational practices were the most important changes carried out. When environmental management accounting and environmental disclosure were also implemented, environmental aspects were more integrated within companies, thus revealing that a more structured integration of sustainability aspects within organisational values had taken place. The results underline the importance of primarily establishing a set of internal changes, driven by environmental planning, to promote organisational change.

Research limitations/implications

The study presents a larger empirical analysis of the organisational change pathways followed by companies, showing similarities and differences among the four pathways. The results underline the importance of both dimensions for studying organisational changes. The framework of Tilt has been enriched, considering a more precise explanation of the internal aspects and adding the concept of the quality of disclosure as proxy to assess organisational change.

Originality/value

Organisational change is investigated through an extensive analysis of internal and external aspects and collecting quantitative and qualitative evidence. The analysis complements previous sustainability accounting literature focussed on the analysis of internal environmental management and external disclosure.

Details

Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, vol. 31 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3574

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Article
Publication date: 14 May 2019

Mohamed Chelli, Sylvain Durocher and Anne Fortin

The purpose of this paper is to longitudinally explore the symbolic and substantive ideological strategies located in ENGIE’s environmental discourse while considering the…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to longitudinally explore the symbolic and substantive ideological strategies located in ENGIE’s environmental discourse while considering the specific negative media context surrounding the company’s environmental activities.

Design/methodology/approach

Thompson’s (2007) and Eagleton’s (2007) theorizations are used to build an extended ideological framework to analyze ENGIE’s environmental talk from 2001 to 2015.

Findings

ENGIE drew extensively on a combination of symbolic and substantive ideological strategies in its annual and sustainability reports while ignoring several major issues raised in the press. Its substantive ideological mode of operation included actions for the environment, innovation, partnerships and educating stakeholders/staff, while its symbolic ideological mode of operation used issue identification, legal compliance, rationalization, stakeholders’ responsibilization and unification. Both ideological modes of operation worked synergistically to cast a positive light on ENGIE’s environmental activities, sustaining the ideology of a company that reconciles the irreconcilable despite negative press coverage.

Originality/value

This paper develops the notion of environmentally friendly ideology to analyze the environmental discourse of a polluting company. It is the first to use both Thompson’s and Eagleton’s ideological frameworks to make sense of corporate environmental discourse. Linking corporate discourse with media coverage, it further contributes to the burgeoning literature that interpretively distinguishes between symbolic and substantive ideological strategies by highlighting the company’s progressive shift from symbolic to more substantive disclosure.

Details

Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, vol. 32 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3574

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Article
Publication date: 7 August 2018

Belen Fernandez-Feijoo, Silvia Romero and Silvia Ruiz Blanco

This paper uses institutional theory to analyze the structure of the sustainability assurance market (SAM) at a global level. The purpose of this paper is to determine if…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper uses institutional theory to analyze the structure of the sustainability assurance market (SAM) at a global level. The purpose of this paper is to determine if regional differences affect industry specialization in this market.

Design/methodology/approach

Using a sample of 3,657 sustainability reports (SRs) with assurance statements, the authors study the global and regional specialization of assurers by breaking down the sample into three main regions. The authors approach industry specialization using previous methodologies applied to the financial audit market, and explain differences statistically significant among regions.

Findings

The authors find different industry specialists depending on the geographical region in which the audit firm is located. The Europe, Middle Eastern and Africa region has the highest number of industry specialists and the Asia-Pacific region the lowest. Notwithstanding the global participation of Big 4 firms, assurance specialization depends on the country where the company is located.

Research limitations/implications

The paper reveals the need to include regional differences in the analysis of the SAM at the international level.

Practical implications

The study shows an in-depth study of the SAM that may be useful for assurers, to decide strategic actions in industries and countries and for regulators, to control the risk of monopolistic/oligopolistic markets.

Originality/value

The study presents a novel approach to the analysis of the assurance market for SRs, by studying it from the supply point of view. The analysis provides a measure of specialization that may help understand the structure of the SAM.

Details

Management Decision, vol. 57 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0025-1747

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