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Emerging Trends in Social Accounting
Fran Healey
PhD Student, Alliance Manchester Business School
Greater Manchester
Socia...
Introduction
• Introduce myself
– Management Accountant
– 15 years in strategic & financial planning in blue chips (UU Plc...
My Research Interests
1) How not for profit sector accounts for itself
3) Methods of defining and measuring social
value
2...
Brief Background
• Political Environment
– Labour Government 2008 – SROI project
• Cabinet Office Guide to SROI 2009
– Coa...
Accounting Absence
• Catasús 2008 (based on Choudhury 1988)
– Titled “In Search of Accounting Absence”
– As much to learn ...
Virtues of Absence
• Choudhury’s (1988) Virtues
– Trust
• Can be counterproductive to introduce accounting
control systems...
Accountability vs
Responsibility
• Accountability:
– The state of being accountable
– Being subject to the obligation to r...
Break-out Groups
Question 1: Does accountability for social value
diminish responsibility?
Question 2: Is the absence of a...
Wrap Up
Wrap Up
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Emerging Trends in Social Accounting

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Greater Manchester Social Value Network Conference, June 2nd, 2016
Fran Healey, PhD Student, Alliance Manchester Business School

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Emerging Trends in Social Accounting

  1. 1. Emerging Trends in Social Accounting Fran Healey PhD Student, Alliance Manchester Business School Greater Manchester Social Value Network Conference 2nd June 2016 Research funded by the Economic and Social Research Council Supervised by Professor Kenneth McPhail and Professor Sven Modell
  2. 2. Introduction • Introduce myself – Management Accountant – 15 years in strategic & financial planning in blue chips (UU Plc, TUI Travel) – Last 4 years in not for profit sector – consultancy (accounting, project management, all sorts!) – Trustee of Survivors Manchester – first SROI – Continuing to work part time in not for profit sector whilst study for PhD part time at AMBS • Show of hands – Social impact practitioner? – Local Authority? – Voluntary sector group? – Housing Association? – Other?
  3. 3. My Research Interests 1) How not for profit sector accounts for itself 3) Methods of defining and measuring social value 2) Impact of growth in public sector outsourcing 4) Is standardised social value accounting a good or bad thing 5) Who holds the responsibility for not for profit sector performance
  4. 4. Brief Background • Political Environment – Labour Government 2008 – SROI project • Cabinet Office Guide to SROI 2009 – Coalition Government 2010 – change of focus – Big Society Launch 2010 – community / localism – Public Services (Social Value) Act 2012 – procurement – Charities Act Review 2012 – charitable objectives – G8 Social Impact Investment Taskforce (Measuring Impact Working Group) 2014 – need to measure social investment • Academic Research – Reviews of technical limitations of specific tools (eg 3BL, SROI, LM3) – Use of tools in stakeholder prioritisation (eg SROI) – Gap – Research into non-financial accounting standardisation
  5. 5. Accounting Absence • Catasús 2008 (based on Choudhury 1988) – Titled “In Search of Accounting Absence” – As much to learn from absence as presence – Absence normally related to failure • “from nothing nothing is produced” • “what gets measured gets managed” – Negative absence – antithesis of presence – Positive absence – as a phenomena in its own right • Not the standard research perspective – Research challenge – need to know what to expect to know what is not there – Publishing bias towards positive results?
  6. 6. Virtues of Absence • Choudhury’s (1988) Virtues – Trust • Can be counterproductive to introduce accounting control systems • Trust can be stronger than then systems it replaces – Constructive Ambivalence • Rigidity of systems • Constrain ‘blank canvas’ innovation – Symbolic • Accounting symbolises rationality / legitimacy • Conformance or non-conformance could be symbolic
  7. 7. Accountability vs Responsibility • Accountability: – The state of being accountable – Being subject to the obligation to report, explain, or justify something (to give an account) • Responsibility: – The state of being responsible – Having the power to control, manage, or discharge obligations • Differences? – Measurement, Timing (before or after the event)
  8. 8. Break-out Groups Question 1: Does accountability for social value diminish responsibility? Question 2: Is the absence of a standardised social value accounting approach a good thing or a bad thing?
  9. 9. Wrap Up
  10. 10. Wrap Up

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