We look back on a very special IRSPM Conference 2019 in Wellington, New Zealand. As in previous years, the Special Interest Group (SIG) on Accounting & Accountability hosted one of the conference’s largest panels. With 22 sumbissions echoing the overarching theme of “Accounting for Stewardship and Innovation – Accountability for Impact”, scholars have covered a wide variety of questions and research designs, ranging from issues of performance accountability to accounting in public value management, to international comparative studies regarding accounting standardization and harmonization.
The panel participants discussed new ideas, conceptual lenses that allow exploring if and how accounting accounts for, but also impacts on, issues of wider societal relevance. In particular, the following questions have been addressed:
- How can public value in the spectrum of innovative public service delivery arrangements (e.g. co-production, social innovation and social entrepreneurship) and their impact in society be measured, and how can it be accounted for, by whom as well as to whom? How can users and lay actors be held to account?
- How can accounting and reporting tools and techniques, including, among others, social accounting and integrated reporting, contribute to making the public value more or less visible, and shape conceptions of what public value and the public sphere are?
- How does accounting interact with other disciplines to address the practical and scholarly challenges posed by changing conceptions of the public sector towards an emphasis on ‘publicness’?
- How can accounting support accountability, decision making and control processes in the new public service delivery arrangements? How can it assist in solving the challenges of cooperation, collaboration, and co-production?
- How can accountants embrace their role as stewards of public funds across the budgeting cycle? How can they prevent and control activities and events in value destruction (i.e. fraud, corruption), particularly in arrangements that open up, blur, and go beyond organizational boundaries?
- How can accounting support accountability relationships in innovation? What are the uses (and abuses) of accounting information by politicians, managers, citizens, and their consequences for organizations, policies, and the society?
The Panel Chairs: Suresh Cuganesan, University of Sydney, AUS; Sanja Korac, Alpen-Adria-Universität Klagenfurt, AT; J.F.A. (Tom) Overmans, University of Utrecht, NL; Iris Saliterer, Albert-Ludwigs University Freiburg, GER; Ileana Steccolini, Newcastle University London, UK.
Special thanks to Adina Dudau, Universtiy of Glasgow, UK, a great Session Chair and long-time pillar of strength of the SIG.