The Accounting, Finance and Economics group at Royal Holloway has an established and growing reputation for its distinctive high-quality and high-impact research and for the teaching of cutting-edge insights in comparative, cultural and social aspects of international accounting.
Research in accounting
Most of the members of the research group work in the field of accounting. Notably, members of the group have many publications in the last and present RAE/REF periods in Accounting, Organizations and Society (AOS)and in Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal (AAAJ), acknowledged as the world’s top journals in 'qualitative' accounting. Two members of the group are on the editorial board of AOS, and six are on the board of AAAJ (three as associate editors).
Members of the group have the following publications in leading international journals, from 2006:
- Abacus (Napier, 2006; Nobes, 2011)
- Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal (O’Dwyer/Unerman, 2006 (twice); Unerman/O’Dwyer, 2007; Davison, 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2011; Broadbent, 2008 (twice), 2010; Unerman, 2008; Agyemang, 2009 and 2010; Napier, 2012)
- Accounting and Business Research (Nobes, 2006, 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2013; Napier, 2009; O’Dwyer/Unerman, 2010)
- Accounting Forum (Unerman/O’Dwyer, 2007)
- Accounting, Organizations and Society (Napier, 2006 and 2010; McSweeney, 2009; Davison, 2010; O’Dwyer/Unerman, 2008 and 2011; Rinaldi, 2012)
- Behavioral Research in Accounting (van der Heijden, 2013)
- British Accounting Review (Unerman, 2008; Broadbent, 2009, 2010; van der Heijden, 2013)
- Contemporary Accounting Research (O’Dwyer, 2011)
- Critical Perspectives on Accounting (Broadbent, 2008; Davison, 2010; Agyemang, 2013)
- European Accounting Review (Nobes, 2006 and 2012)
- International Journal of Management Reviews (Davison, 2012)
- Journal of Accounting and Public Policy (Nobes, 2009)
- Management Accounting Research (Broadbent, 2009)
- Organization Studies (McSweeney, 2009)
» Full list of publications
The work of the group is widely disseminated, as evidenced by high citation statistics (100+ per Google Scholar) for the following:
- Broadbent, J. (1997) (withDietrich, M. and Roberts, J.) The end of the professions? Routledge.
- Broadbent, J. (2005) (with A.J. Berry and D.T. Otley) Managerial Control: Theories, Issues and Performance. Lavoisier.
- Broadbent, J. (1991) (with R C. Laughlin and S. Read) Recent financial and administrative changes in the NHS: A critical theory analysis. Critical Perspectives on Accounting (2:1), 1-29.
- Broadbent, J. (1992) (with J. Guthrie) Changes in the public sector: A review of recent ‘alternative’ accounting research. Accounting Auditing and Accountability Journal (5: 2), 3-31.
- Broadbent, J. (1995) (with A.J. Berry and D.T. Otley) A review of recent research in management control. British Journal of Management (6: Special Issue), S31-S44.
- Broadbent, J. (1996) (with M Dietrich and R Laughlin) The development of principal-agent, contracting and accountability relationships in the public sector: conceptual and cultural problems. Critical Perspectives on Accounting (7: 3), 259-284.
- Broadbent, J. (1999) (with R. Laughlin) The PFI: Clarification of a future research agenda. Financial Accountability and Management (15: 2), 95-114.
- Broadbent, J. (2003) (with R. Laughlin) Control and legitimation in government accountability processes: The private finance initiative in the UK. Critical Perspectives on Accounting (14: 1-2), 23-48.
- Broadbent, J. (2003) (with J. Gill and R. Laughlin) ‘The Private Finance Initiative in the National Health Service in the UK: Designing a Post-Project Evaluation System to judge Value for Money?’ Accounting, Auditing and Accountability Journal Vol.16, no.3, pp.422-445
- Broadbent, J. (2008) (with J. Guthrie) Public sector to public services: 20 years of ‘contextual’ accounting research Accounting, Auditing and Accountability Journal (21: 2), 129-169.
- McSweeney (2002). Hofstede’s model of national cultural differences and their consequences: A triumph of faith – a failure of analysis. Human Relations (55: 1), 89-118.
- Napier, C. (1996) (with G. Carnegie). Critical and interpretive histories: insights into accounting’s present and future through its past. Accounting, Auditing and Accountability Journal (9: 3), 7-39.
- Napier, C. (1993) (with P. Miller). Genealogies of calculation. Accounting, Organizations and Society (8: 7/8), 631-647.
- Napier, C. (2006). Accounts of change: 30 years of historical accounting research. Accounting, Organizations and Society (31: 4/5), 445-507.
- Nobes, C. (2006). The survival of international differences under IFRS: towards a research agenda. Accounting and Business Research (36: 3), 233-245.
- Nobes, C. (2008) (with R. H. Parker). Comparative International Accounting, Prentice Hall.
- Nobes, C. (1998). Towards a general model of the reasons for international differences. Abacus (34: 2), 162-87.
- Nobes. C. (1983). A judgmental classification of financial reporting practices. Journal of Business Finance and Accounting (10: 1), 1-19.
- Unerman, J. (2000). Methodological issues: reflections on quantification in corporate social accounting content analysis. Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal (13: 5), 667-681.
- Unerman, J. (2004) (with M. Bennett). Increased stakeholder dialogue and the internet: towards greater corporate accountability or reinforcing capitalist hegemony? Accounting, Organizations and Society (29: 7), 685-707.
Brendan McSweeney’s Human Relations article is the 18th most cited papers ever from that journal (founded in 1947) and it has been the top downloaded paper every year since 2002.
Christopher Nobes was the joint winner of the 2011 best manuscript award of the journal Abacus. In 2006, he was named as the most productive European author in leading accounting journals between 1991 and 2002 (Chan et al., Accounting and Business Research, 2006).
Further activities include the editing of journal special issues, such as:
- The Roles of Accounting in Advancing Sustainability (2013) for Accounting, Organizations and Society (J. Unerman with C. Chapman)
- Exploring the Visual in Organizations and Management (2012) for Qualitative Research in Organizations and Management (J. Davison, with C. McLean and S. Warren)
- Visual perspectives on accounting and accountability for Accounting, Auditing and Accountability Journal (2009) (J. Davison, with S. Warren)
- NGO Accounting and Accountability for Accounting, Auditing and Accountability Journal (2009) (J. Unerman and B. O’Dwyer)
- Revisiting Gender and Accounting (2008) for Accounting, Auditing and Accountability Journal (Jane Broadbent with Linda Kirkham)
- Shareholder Value for Accounting Forum (2007) (B. McSweeney)
and the editing of books, such as:
- The Routledge Companion to Accounting Communication (2013) (L. Jack, J. Davison and R. Craig)
- Accounting for Sustainability: Practical Insights (2010) (J. Unerman ,with A. Hopwood and J. Fries)
- Islamic Accounting, Edward Elgar Publishing (2010) (C. Napier, with R. Haniffa)
- Remaking Management: Beyond Local and Global, Cambridge University Press (2008) (B. McSweeney, with C. Smith and R. Fitzgerald)
- International Financial Reporting Standards: Context, Analysis and Comment, Routledge (2008) (C. W. Nobes, with D. Alexander)
- Sustainability Accounting and Accountability, Routledge (2007) (J. Unerman and B. O’Dwyer, with J. Bebbington)
Members of the group serve on a number of journal editorial boards, including Abacus; Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal; Accounting and Business Research; Australian Accounting Review; Accounting History Review (formerly Accounting, Business & Financial History); Accounting Forum; Accounting History; Accounting Organizations and Society; British Accounting Review; Contemporary Accounting Research; Critical Perspectives on International Business; Journal of Islamic Accounting & Business Research; Revista de Contabilidad y Direcciòn (Spain); Revista Contabilidade & Finanças (Brazil). Jane Broadbent is editor of Public Money and Management.
Christopher Napier was co-editor of Accounting Historians Journal (2009-11). Jeffrey Unerman is co-editor of Social and Environmental Accountability Journal.
Distinctions and grants
Jane Broadbent was granted the British Accounting Association’s Distinguished Academic Award in 2008 and was admitted as an Academician of the Academy of Social Sciences in 2012.
Jane Davison is a founding member of the ESRC-funded international research network inVisio [International Network for Visual Studies in Organisations], http://in-visio.org/. She is associate director of the newly founded Centre for Impression Management in Accounting Communication at Bangor University, http://cimac.bangor.ac.uk. She is a member of the Italian RAE panel 2012 and of the ESRC peer review college.
Brendan McSweeney was responsible for the establishment of the research board of the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants; in 2000 he was elected a fellow of the Royal Society of Arts; he is the founding member of an advisory board to the Europe, Middle East & Africa division of a large globally located Japanese company.
Christopher Napier was a member of the Council of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (1996-1999), and a member of the Institute’s Financial Reporting Committee (1997-2004). He was one of the invited keynote speakers at the Institute’s Information for Better Markets conference (the main forum for practitioners and academics in the UK) on Accounting for Pensions in December 2008.
Christopher Nobes received the ‘Outstanding International Accounting Educator’ Award of the American Accounting Association in 2002. He was a member of the Board of the International Accounting Standards Committee (1993-2001). He is now a member of the Financial Reporting Committee of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales, and a member of the Academic Panel of the UK’s Accounting Standards Council. He is vice-chair of the accounting group of the Fédération des Experts Comptables Européens.
Jeffrey Unerman is President of the British Accounting and Finance Association, the UK learned society for accounting and finance academics. He served on the ACCA Research Committee from 2005 to 2011 and is now a member of the ACCA Futures Academy, and has been leader of the Integrated Reporting Academic Network. He received honorary membership of CPA Australia in 2009.
The success of the accounting section is also reflected in grants awarded, from 2007:
- ACCA 2011 ‘Environmental aspects of Sustainability: SMEs and the role of the accountant’ Gloria Agyemang and Leonardo Rinaldi (with Laura Spence of RHUL).
- ACCA 2011 ‘International variations in IFRS adoption and practice’.
- ESRC 2010 a Researcher Development Initiative, entitled ‘Advancing visual methodologies in business and management’, J. Davison (with S. Warren, Essex University and others from inVisio, International Network of Visual Studies in Organizations, http://in-visio.org). Web pages developed under this project are entitled 'inspire' and are newly and freely available at http://moodle.in-visio.org/.
- ESRC 2008 ‘Research Seminar Series on visual dimensions of business, management and organizations’, J. Davison (with S. Warren, Surrey University and others from inVisio).
- ACCA 2007 ‘Assessing the Functioning of NGO Accountability: The Impact on Effectiveness of Aid Delivery’ G. Agyemang, B. O’Dwyer and J. Unerman (with M. Awumbila, University of Ghana).
Further external links
Brendan McSweeney is a visiting professor at the Stockholm University School of Business. Christopher Nobes is also a professor at the University of Sydney and an adjunct professor at the Norwegian Business School, Oslo. Hans van der Heijden was an academic visitor at the University of Sydney each year in 2010 to 2012.
Members of the group have been advisors and consultants to a wide range of private and public sector organizations including: Albert Fisher; Allied-Domecq; Banking, Insurance & Finance Union; Carlsberg-Tetley; Corus/British Steel; Dubai Financial Services Authority; European Commission; Electricity Supply Board Officers Association; Fisons; Goldman Sachs; GPT; Hackney Enterprise Board; IBM; the Japanese Government; Jardine Pacific; Manor Bakeries; Midland Bank; Pfizer; PricewaterhouseCoopers; Ranks Hovis McDougall; Reed International; Saatchi & Saatchi/Cordiant; T&N; Transport & General Workers Union; and YKK.
Others have had long-standing connections with the examining activities of the ACCA (Association of Chartered Certified Accountants); CIMA (Chartered Institute of Management Accountants); and ICAEW (Institute of Chartered Accountants in England & Wales); and
A number of students are currently working towards PhDs in accounting, or have recently completed:
- John Ahwere-Bafo on IT as a developmental tool (with Catherine Liston-Heyes) successful completion 2008
- Aysha Al-Salih on Islamic finance (with Christopher Napier, Advisor Brendan McSweeney)
- Guotian Fu on accounting and the visual (with Jane Davison, Advisor Chris Nobes)
- Nor Asma Lode on pension accounting (with Christopher Napier, Advisor Jane Davison) successful completion 2009
- Zamri Osman on accountability in Muslim charitable organizations (with Gloria Agyemang and Jeffrey Unerman) (successful completion 2012)
- Neeta Shah on corporate governance (with Christopher Napier, Advisor Jane Davison)
- Christian Stadler on pension funding and accounting (with Chris Nobes, Advisor Catherine Liston-Heyes) (successful completion 2011)
- Andy Verlade on the management of disability equality in universities (with Gloria Agyemang and Jeffrey Unerman) (successful completion 2011)
- Na Zhao on sustainability (with Brendan O’Dwyer and Jeffrey Unerman) (successful completion 2011)
- Martin Persson on a priori accounting research 1950-70 (with Christopher Napier, Advisor Chris Nobes)
- Tulaya Tulardilok on corporate accountability (with Jeffrey Unerman and Leonardo Rinaldi)
- Charles Owusu Antwi on Faith-based NGOs and Accountability ( with Gloria Agyemang and advisor Jeffrey Unerman)
- Edwin Orereo on Public/private partnerships and performance management (with Gloria Agyemang and advisor Jane Broadbent)
Masters in International Accounting
This successful and innovative programme, based on the research expertise of the group, was established in 2006. It was one of the first Accounting Masters Programmes created in response to the increasing recognition of the need to set the theory and practice of accounting in the context of its social, political, natural and cultural environments. It incorporates reflection on the broader setting and implications of accounting in addition to knowledge and understanding of contemporary financial and management accounting. Students take research methods courses, accounting courses and write a dissertation.
Accounting courses offered are currently as follows:
- International Financial Accounting (Prof. Brendan McSweeney)
- International Management Accounting (Dr. Gloria Agyemang)
- Comparative International Accounting (Prof. Chris Nobes)
- Communication Issues in Accounting (Prof. Jane Davison)
- Sustainability and Accounting (Dr Leonardo Rinaldi/Prof. Brendan O’Dwyer)
The programme is open to quality students from any discipline.
» MSc International Accounting.