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Article
Publication date: 3 April 2018

Vida Botes and Ahmed Saadeh

Large-scale financial scandals in business have increased public awareness of fraud and the need for forensic accounting (FA) services. Despite a steadily growing body of…

Abstract

Purpose

Large-scale financial scandals in business have increased public awareness of fraud and the need for forensic accounting (FA) services. Despite a steadily growing body of knowledge of FA, Huber (2012) argued that the term FA is ill defined. This paper aims to support the development of a nomenclature for FA by gathering evidence on the prevalence of the term in the Southern Hemisphere. Hence the authors ask how, when, where and in which context the term FA appears. In analysing the evidence gathered, the authors also aim to identify changes to the use of the term. Finally, they intend to make suggestions for future development and research relating to the term to advance knowledge. The authors also aim to suggest a definition for the term FA.

Design/methodology/approach

To obtain evidence to support the development of an accepted definition for FA, a rigorous search of the literature is performed, using a structured review framework.

Findings

The findings of this paper demonstrate the prevalence of the term FA in publications in Australia, New Zealand and South Africa, but that limited publications from SA create opportunities for researchers from emerging economies to publish in the FA field. This meta-analysis shows among others a strong focus on the role of FA in fraud prevention and increased reliance on websites (in contrast to reliance on academic literature) for information on FA. This research identifies changes to the use of the term and concludes that the narrow definition of FA prevails. Delivering on the third objective of this paper, the authors provide insights into future developments in FA and find that a need exists to explore FA in a much wider context.

Research limitations/implications

The research is limited to Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. Limitations exist in that the authors focused particularly on high-quality journals and excluded other journals from our search. As they were specifically searching for the use of the term “forensic accounting”, they excluded any other term, e.g. fraud auditing, from the research. Future research may well expand the search terminology.

Practical implications

Without an established definition of the commonly used term forensic accounting, the general public will be confused about the services that can be expected from forensic accountants. To date, FA definitions have been formulated mostly intuitively; however, if FA is to grow as a field, an accepted definition needs to be formulated.

Social implications

FA offers a new area of growth in the accounting field. Clarification of exactly what is meant by the term has implications for future careers in the field of accounting.

Originality/value

To date, no study of this nature has been undertaken anywhere in the world.

Details

Pacific Accounting Review, vol. 30 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0114-0582

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 8 August 2018

Matteo La Torre, Vida L. Botes, John Dumay, Michele Antonio Rea and Elza Odendaal

As Big Data is creating new underpinnings for organisations’ intellectual capital (IC) and knowledge management, this paper aims to analyse the implications of Big Data…

Abstract

Purpose

As Big Data is creating new underpinnings for organisations’ intellectual capital (IC) and knowledge management, this paper aims to analyse the implications of Big Data for IC accounting to provide new conceptual and practical insights about the future of IC accounting.

Design/methodology/approach

Based on a conceptual framework informed by decision science theory, the authors explain the factors supporting Big Data’s value and review the academic literature and practical evidence to analyse the implications of Big Data for IC accounting.

Findings

In reflecting on Big Data’s ability to supply a new value for IC and its implications for IC accounting, the authors conclude that Big Data represents a new IC asset, and this represents a rationale for a renewed wave of interest in IC accounting. IC accounting can contribute to understand the determinants of Big Data’s value, such as data quality, security and privacy issues, data visualisation and users’ interaction. In doing so, IC measurement, reporting and auditing need to keep focusing on how human capital and organisational and technical processes (structural capital) can unlock or even obstruct Big Data’s value for IC.

Research limitations/implications

The topic of Big Data in IC and accounting research is in its infancy; therefore, this paper acts at a normative level. While this represents a research limitation of the study, it is also a call for future empirical studies.

Practical implications

Once again, practitioners and researchers need to face the challenge of avoiding the trap of IC accountingisation to make IC accounting relevant for the Big Data revolution. Within the euphoric and utopian views of the Big Data revolution, this paper contributes to enriching awareness about the practical factors underpinning Big Data’s value for IC and foster the cognitive and behavioural dynamic between data, IC information and user interaction.

Social implications

The paper is relevant to prepares, users and auditors of financial statements.

Originality/value

This paper aims to instill a novel debate on Big Data into IC accounting research by providing new avenues for future research.

Details

Meditari Accountancy Research, vol. 26 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2049-372X

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 18 September 2019

Matteo La Torre, Vida Lucia Botes, John Dumay and Elza Odendaal

Privacy concerns and data security are changing the risks for businesses and organisations. This indicates that the accountability of all governance participants changes…

Abstract

Purpose

Privacy concerns and data security are changing the risks for businesses and organisations. This indicates that the accountability of all governance participants changes. This paper aims to investigate the role of external auditors within data protection practices and how their role is evolving due to the current digital ecosystem.

Design/methodology/approach

By surveying the literature, the authors embrace a practice-oriented perspective to explain how data protection practices emerge, exist and occur and examine the auditors’ position within data protection.

Findings

Auditors need to align their tasks to the purpose of data protection practices. Accordingly, in accessing and using data, auditors are required to engage moral judgements and follow ethical principles that go beyond their legal responsibility. Simultaneously, their accountability extends to data protection ends for instilling confidence that security risks are properly managed. Due to the changing technological conditions under, which auditors operate, the traditional auditors’ task of hearing and verifying extend to new phenomena that create risks for businesses. Thus, within data protection practices, auditors have the accountability to keep interested parties informed about data security and privacy risks, continue to transmit signals to users and instill confidence in businesses.

Research limitations/implications

The normative level of the study is a research limitation, which calls for future empirical research on how Big Data and data protection is reshaping accounting and auditing practices.

Practical implications

This paper provides auditing standard setters and practitioners with insights into the redefinitions of auditing practices in the era of Big Data.

Social implications

Recent privacy concerns at Facebook have sent warning signals across the world about the risks posed by in Big Data systems in terms of privacy, to those charged with governance of organisations. Auditors need to understand these privacy issues to better serve their clients.

Originality/value

This paper contributes to triggering discussions and future research on data protection and privacy in accounting and auditing research, which is an emerging, yet unresearched topic.

Details

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

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 6 February 2017

Vida Lucia Botes and Umesh Sharma

The aim of this paper is to gain insights into the gap that persists between management accounting education (MAE) and practice.

Abstract

Purpose

The aim of this paper is to gain insights into the gap that persists between management accounting education (MAE) and practice.

Design/methodology/approach

MAE is examined from four perspectives of the balanced scorecard (BSC), in terms of what is being taught at tertiary level: customer satisfaction, learning and growth, internal business and financial. A survey questionnaire was sent to management accountants selected randomly from a list of practicing management accountants identified by the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants in South Africa.

Findings

The study finds support for allegations that a gap exists between MAE and practice and indicates that to address this gap, a holistic focus using the four perspectives of the BSC would be useful to investigate the gap.

Research limitations/implications

Previous studies in relation to the gap in management education have focused on the lack of skills provided by tertiary education. As one of the few studies to focus on the overall performance of MAE, this study identifies that the gap is not limited to the provision of adequate skills. The findings show that the gap is significant in terms of customer perspective but is not significant in relation to the internal business, learning and growth and financial perspectives of the BSC. The study provides deeper insights into the gap and will help tertiary education providers to improve their performance.

Practical implications

As one of the few studies on gaps between MAE and practice, the study provides insights to the potential gaps. The findings serve as a basis for further empirical and theoretical enquiries.

Originality/value

The study contributes to the management accounting literature by focusing on the gap in MAE using a BSC approach. Rather than single out the lack of skills provided by MAE as a reason for the gap, this paper provides information on the four areas of the BSC as ways to identify the gap.

Details

Pacific Accounting Review, vol. 29 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0114-0582

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 14 September 2012

Vida Botes

The aim is to portray the role that accounts play in society through representation in colour.

Abstract

Purpose

The aim is to portray the role that accounts play in society through representation in colour.

Design/methodology/approach

This is a fictional poem.

Findings

The author uses an existing poem by playwright William Shakespeare and adapts it to reflect the role of accountants in society.

Originality/value

Using poetic rhyme, this paper represents a unique attempt to write about the different roles of accountants in modern society.

Details

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

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 15 June 2012

Vida Botes

The purpose of this paper is to portray the Code of Ethics in digital format, by using a markup language like C#. to formulate code. Digitally executed, this should reduce…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to portray the Code of Ethics in digital format, by using a markup language like C#. to formulate code. Digitally executed, this should reduce in the audit expectation gap.

Design/methodology/approach

Using wordplay the design consists of the technical formulation of a piece of hybrid code written in the language C# but sourced from the Code of Ethics.

Findings

The programmer constructs the Revised Code of Ethics released by the International Ethics Standards Board for Accountants (IESBA) of the International Federation of Accountants (IFAC) in July 2009, in “code”, to ensure that it is free from errors.

Originality/value

This paper, utilizing wordplay, represents a unique attempt to write the Code of Ethics in such a way that if executed by a computer it would be infallible to human judgement error, hence reducing the expectation gap of auditing and assertions.

Details

Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, vol. 25 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3574

Keywords

Content available
Article
Publication date: 3 May 2013

Vida Goosen-Botes

Abstract

Details

Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, vol. 26 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3574

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Article
Publication date: 11 February 2014

Vida Botes, Mary Low and James Chapman

This study aims to examine to what extent and how effective sustainability education has been at the tertiary accounting education level. The New Zealand (NZ…

Abstract

Purpose

This study aims to examine to what extent and how effective sustainability education has been at the tertiary accounting education level. The New Zealand (NZ) Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment identified that sustainability education, as part of university education, is important, though NZ universities currently perform poorly in this area. This study looks at the important issue of sustainability education in the context of the emerging field of ecological economics and new understanding in business role and function of society where accounting education represents the precondition in meeting the challenges successfully.

Design/methodology/approach

A mixed method approach was used for this investigation combining quantitative and qualitative research methods to provide more depth to the analysis. Both interviews and online surveys were conducted to determine the perceptions held by both academics and graduates, of the extent and adequacy of sustainability education with NZ university degrees. An extensive review of the literature and the overview of the web sites of the different universities formed the qualitative part of the mixed method research approach to the investigation to determine the state of sustainability education in accounting courses at NZ universities.

Findings

There were mixed views on the current state of sustainability education within NZ university accounting courses. Although there was a general consensus with both groups of participants that a start has been made, the integration is not wide enough and the sustainability education is not in sufficient depth. There were mixed feelings regarding the role that accountants should play in sustainability reporting; however, there was a general consensus around the fact that accountants do have a role to play. Both groups of participants indicated that it is important for sustainability education to be included in accounting courses at NZ universities. Based on the research findings, it appears that universities have to maintain or provide an optional higher undergraduate or post-graduate level paper in sustainability accounting. Evidence from lecturers' personal experience suggest that these courses better develop a student's knowledge of sustainability as they have time to take an interdisciplinary approach to teaching and take a look at “big issues” like how accounting can either support or hinder sustainability directions for businesses and society.

Originality/value

The role that accounting educators play in integrating sustainability education at universities has been a contentious issue with a seemingly large gap between what research has defined as best education practice and what is currently being taught around the world. Although sustainability has formed the subject of extensive research over a number of years, there has been no work performed on the current state of sustainability education in accounting courses at NZ universities. Given the future challenges that NZ managers (and accountants) will face, it is important that universities which form a vital part of NZ society, equip managers (and accountants) to meet these demands. This study on perceptions of different stakeholders in relation to education for sustainable development, therefore, provides really important arguments for why there has to be further developments in this crucial area. The findings indicate that sustainability education by accounting educators is on a very much ad hoc basis. Further research needs to be conducted to drive better educational directions in sustainable development in universities.

Details

Sustainability Accounting, Management and Policy Journal, vol. 5 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2040-8021

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 4 November 2013

Stewart Raymond Lawrence, Vida Botes, Eva Collins and Juliet Roper

The purpose of this paper is to argue that it is time for change in the way the paper teach, theories and practice accounting. Traditional accounting practice constructs…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to argue that it is time for change in the way the paper teach, theories and practice accounting. Traditional accounting practice constructs the identity of the accountable entity as purely self-interested. Yet, there is evidence that firms do engage in broader activities. This paper aims to explain and illustrate that there are groups of firms that engage in socially responsible activities, yet their accounting systems still assume autopoietic behavior. Accounting should resonate with social expectations, but at present it does not.

Design/methodology/approach

Literature concerning theories of biological autopoiesis and social equivalents are reviewed. They are related to accounting practices, and to concepts of open and closed systems. The theories are related to survey results of socially responsible activities practiced by firms. National surveys undertaken in New Zealand at three-year intervals are the basis of the empirical content of the paper.

Findings

There is evidence that firms behave socially and environmentally responsibly. Yet accounting practice does not encourage such behaviour. Accounting practice has to be able to construct the identity of the accountable entity so that it pursues more than its own self-interest, and resonate with societal expectations.

Research limitations/implications

The paper is unconventional. It challenges extant practice. Its theoretical content may not appeal to many traditional accountants.

Originality/value

The theory and empirics are original. The theory of autopoiesis is illustrated through survey evidence of business practices.

Details

Meditari Accountancy Research, vol. 21 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2049-372X

Keywords

Content available
Article
Publication date: 14 September 2012

Steve Evans

Abstract

Details

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

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