Accounting, Auditing and Accountability Journal - AccountingEducation.com Members Offer
Free access for AccountingEducation.com members to select articles from Emerald's Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal!
Emerald is pleased to offer all users of Accounting Education free access to selected articles from its renowned Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal (AAAJ). The journal, in its 21st volume in 2008, published eight issues. One article from each issue will be freely accessible.
Below are the articles freely available to AccountingEducation.com community members from Issue 5 to 8.
The articles provided free are:
- "A privatization success story: accounting and narrative
expression over time" by Russell Craig and Joel Amernic (AAAJ - Vol. 21 Iss 8)
Purpose – This paper is the third in a trilogy of papers to explore the use of accounting as a fundamental element in senior management’s narrative regarding the privatization of a major transportation enterprise, Canadian National Railway (CN). The paper aims to examine how two accounting performance benchmarks (the operating ratio, and free cash flow) were deployed to help sustain a rhetoric of post-privatization success. The aptness (and the danger) of accounting language in strategic narrative is highlighted.
Design/methodology/approach – The paper describes the importance of senior management discourse in the aftermath of a privatization. A narrative perspective is adopted, in which an imagined future post-privatization era initially articulated in accounting language is then told and re-told as the post-privatization years unfold. Accounting performance measures highlighted in the story of success of the privatization in the Annual Letters to Shareholders by the CEOs of CN in the ten years following privatization in 1995, and celebrated in the Annual Report, are examined critically.
Findings – The results emphasize the important features and role of accounting language and accounting-based performance benchmark measures in the narrative construction of the success of a privatization by corporate leaders.
Research limitations/implications – Case studies possess the strength of specific instance detail and interpretation, and the ostensible weakness of interpretation of a sample of one. But such research can provide for a reframing of conceptual perspectives and stimulate additional efforts to interrogate the role of accounting language in events of major social change.
Practical implications – The paper strongly endorses the adoption of a critical analytical perspective by those affected by a major social change (such as a privatization) in which the role of accounting language is subtle, but nonetheless persuasive and enduring.
Originality/value – The paper examines a case study in which the narrative framing of success is made rhetorically potent by deploying accounting performance measures. The paper reinforces the view that accounting is not an innocent bystander in the political and narrative manoeuvrings associated with a privatization. Accounting does not axiomatically provide an objective measure of some underlying financial truth, but is part of an arsenal of rhetoric to achieve political ends.
Keywords - Accounting, Privatization, Canada, Railways, Narratives, Company performance
- "Does superior firm performance lead to higher quality outside
directorships?" by Aditi Gupta, David Otley and Steven Young (AAAJ - Vol. 21 Iss 7)
Purpose – Holding the number of outside directorships constant, this paper aims to test whether executive directors from superior performing firms are subsequently rewarded with better quality outside directorships.
Design/methodology/approach – The quality of new outside directorship appointments is modelled using a two-step Heckman selection procedure to control for the probability of acquiring a new outside board seat. Outside directorship quality is estimated using an index formed from series of observable firm-specific characteristics proxying for the following three latent aspects of quality: prestige, reputational risk and monetary rewards. The index aggregates across these three dimensions to produce an overall quality score, with higher scores signifying higher quality directorships.
Findings – Tests based on a sample of UK executive directors who subsequently acquire at least one new outside board seat show that the quality of newly acquired outside directorships is positively related to past and contemporaneous performance at the executive’s own firm. Recent past performance appears to be a more important determinant of the quality of outside directorships than long-run performance reputations. However, effects are largely confined to executives that either switch between boards or enter the outside directorship market for the first time.
Research limitations/implications – Findings support the view that the market for outside directorships operates (at least in part) as a meritocracy by rewarding executives from superior performing firms with better quality outside board appointments.
Originality/value – Prior work on the market for outside directorships focuses on explaining cross-sectional variation in the number of outside board seats held. The paper is the first to measure and model directorship quality.
Keywords - Labour market, Chief executives, Organizational performance, Non-executive directors
- "Rhetoric, repetition, reporting and the “dot.com” era: words, pictures, intangibles" by Jane Davison (AAAJ - Vol. 21 Iss 6)
Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to add to theoretical and empirical work on narratives and pictures in annual reporting by using the lens of repetition to examine Reviews of British Telecommunications (BT) plc.
Design/methodology/approach – The study constructs a conceptual framework of signifiants (from rhetoric) and signifie´s (from philosophy, notably Barthes, Deleuze, Janke´le´vitch). Signifiants are established by reference to rhetorical figures based anadiplosis, anaphora, alliteration/rhyme and lists. Signifie´s are indicated as conscious emphasis, and unconscious reflections of sameness and difference; networks and particular interest during the “dot.com” years, exuberance and compulsion; differentiation, reassurance. The framework is used to analyse BT plc’s Annual Reviews from 1996-2001.
Findings – The application of the framework is enlightening: repetition is shown to be BT plc’s Annual Reviews, especially during the “dot.com” years. Repetition emphasises intangible assets; less consciously, repetition reflects BT plc’s corporate identity and its
in the “dot.com” era.
Research limitations/implications – The paper provides a model which may be applied to the wealth of discretionary narratives and pictures in contemporary annual reporting. It would also benefit from the assessment of readership impact.
Practical implications – The analysis is of interest to accounting researchers, trainees, auditors and any user of accounting and accountability statements. It illuminates which discretionary words and pictures highlight and supplement accounting information.
Originality/value – The paper augments theoretical and empirical work on the significance narratives and pictures in accounting.
Keywords - Rhetoric, Narratives, Visual media, Annual reports, Telecommunications
- "The roles, responsibilities and characteristics of audit
committee in China" by Z. Jun Lin, Jason Z. Xiao and Qingliang Tang (AAAJ - Vol. 21 Iss. 5)
Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to investigate the perceptions of the roles, responsibilities and basic characteristics of audit committees (ACs) in the current business environment in China, from the perspectives of investors/creditors, independent directors (AC members), company officers and auditors.
Design/methodology/approach – The study is conducted through a questionnaire survey of the four groups of stakeholders with two forms of survey instruments being distributed to randomly selected survey subjects. The data collected from the returned questionnaires are analyzed at both the aggregate and sub-sample levels.
Findings – The study finds that various groups of stakeholders have generally accepted the ceremonial roles and responsibilities of ACs in terms of lifting the image of good corporate governance, enhancing communication between board of directors (BoD) and auditors, and mediating conflict between management and auditors. However, the more concrete AC oversight roles and responsibilities for improving internal control, rules compliance, sound corporate financial reporting and auditing processes have not been fully recognized at present, particularly by company management and independent directors. In addition, the study reveals that actual AC operations in practice are ineffective even though a large portion of Chinese listed companies have set up ACs.
Originality/value – The paper should assist readers to understand the recent development of corporate governance and stock market reforms in China and generate some policy implications that can be applied to other countries as well, emerging economies in particular.
Keywords - Audit committees, Corporate governance, Non-executive directors, Stock markets, China
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