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EEFAG/Accounting seminar series

Wednesday, 29 January 2020
13:00 to 15:30
Durham University Business School, MHL 453

Speaker 1: Prof. Lúcia Lima Rodrigues (University of Mihno, Portugal)

Title of paper 1:Using historical institutional analyses of corporatism to understand the professionalization of accounting in Latin America Co-author: Prof. Russell Craig (Durham University)

Speaker 2: Dr. Enrico Bracci (University of Ferrara)

Title of paper 2:The integration of risk and performance management: the role of boundary objects. Co-authors: Dr. Giorgia Gobbo (University of Ferrara),


Paper 1: We use historical institutional analyses of corporatism to investigate critical factors that influenced the professionalization (and, in some instances, de-professionalization) of accounting in six Latin American countries: Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, and Peru. We contend that in Latin America the organized labor movement and State-labor relations have played a pivotal role in the professionalization of accounting. Using previous literature on corporatism, together with other primary and secondary data, we identify the main critical junctures, self-reinforcing sequences and reactive sequences involved. We conclude that in Latin America, State policies pertaining to labor incorporation were very important influences in the evolution of the accounting profession. In particular, long periods of corporatism, featuring inducements for labor incorporation, were important in achieving market (occupational) closure through requiring mandatory registration as an accountant. Throughout Latin America, the accounting profession benefited greatly from the growth of the State and State bureaucracy, mainly because corporatist States needed to exert strong control over entrance to the profession.

Paper 2: Performance management (PM) and risk management (RM) practices are becoming more and more widespread in the public sector, following the modernization drive of New Public Management (NPM) (Lapsley, 2009). Performance management can be considered as a set of activities and related technologies in planning, implementing, reviewing, evaluating and reporting the efficiency and effectiveness of policies, programs/projects and public services. This concept applies to all organizational level. At the top level, strategic performance and controls are concerned with the overall performance of the organizations in the medium-long term, while within sub-units operational performance and controls cover the planning and monitoring of short-term performance targets. In managing organizational performance, uncertainty is a constant feature that affects managers/politician decision-making process (Soin et al., 2014). An organized uncertainty becomes a risk ready to be managed (Power, 2007). In recent times, there have been an increasing debate on the opportunity/necessity to integrate/align PM with RM practices (Palermo, 2011).

The integrated risk management systems (e.g. ERM-Coso) recommend the full integration of RM practices with the other managerial systems, so to avoid a “disintegration” rather than an integration (Arena et al., 2017), with the creation of loosely coupled systems. However, the literature is scant with conceptual as well as practical evidence on how RM and PM can actually work together as integrated systems, particularly in the public sector (Palermo, 2017). Indeed, they rarely go hand-to-hand producing a silos effect with separate organizational functions, processes and accounting technologies. This paper investigates the institutional and organizational factors that may explain the possibility for an integration between RM and PM in the public sector. Our analysis draws on the literature on boundary objects and the role of agents in performing boundary work (Arena et al., 2017; Carlile, 2004; Star, 2010). In detail, this paper aims to analyze how and why certain physical objects, processes, tools and the agency of key actors affect the integration of RM and PM practices. The research assumes that the integration of RM and PM can be effective depending on the boundary objects acting as “integrating devices” (Carlile, 2002), and on the boundary work of key organizational actors involved, together with the presence of some organizational building blocks (Hinna et al., 2018). In particular, combining the empirical focus on the integration attempts between PM and RM with these theoretical insights, the paper focuses on the objects implemented that allow the creation of a shared context, and how they work across boundaries.

To address the research question, the paper is empirically grounded on qualitative data collected between 2018 and 2019 in a medium-size municipality (anonymized as M1). Drawing on the literature on boundary objects, the case shows how the integration process between PM and RM depends not only via the creation of shared context, also considering the role of key actors and the boundary work they perform. Discussion of these dynamics contributes to extending previous literature on the integration between PM and RM by showing the relevance of boundary objects and the ways in which they are managed to create a shared context. In particular, the case shows how risk champions are crucial, but they need not to specialize only on RM specific tasks. In order to promote integration, other actors become relevant, such as the controller and other line managers, together with building blocks such as the information system.

Below is a summary of their profile

Prof. Lúcia Lima Rodrigues (University of Mihno, Portugal)

Professor Lucia is a Professor of Accounting at the University of Mihno. Lucia has extensive research publications in financial accounting and related matters. She has been a member of the Portuguese accounting standards setting body (Comissão de Normalização Contabilística-CNC) since 2009 and has presented her research at the Portuguese Chartered Accountants Association (Ordem dos Contabilistas Certificados-OCC). From 2017 onwards, she was selected as one of a group of five people of recognized merit to be a member of the CNC. In 2017, she was appointed as the head of the Public Sector Accounting Standards Committee and Vice-President of CNC. Since 2017, She has represented Portugal on the Accounting Regulatory Committee of the EU, the European Financial Reporting Advisory Group – Consultative Forum of Standards Setters (EFRAG - CFSS) and the European Public Sector Accounting Standards (EPSAS) Working Group of Eurostat. In addition, she has made strong and on-going contributions to the accounting profession (especially OCC) through her committee memberships, conference presentations, serve as an adjudicator and adviser. Between 2009 and 2017, She also served as a member of the General Council of the University of Minho and as President of the General Council’s Committee on Planning and Financial Matters (2009-2017). She is also on the editorial board membership of several national and international journals (e.g., Accounting Education, Accounting History, Contabilità e Cultura Aziendale - Accounting and Cultures; De Computis, Revista Española de Historia de la Contabilidad, Spanish Journal of Accounting History, Spanish Accounting Review. She was a member of the Management Committee of the European Accounting Association (2009-2012), member of the Management Board of the European Accounting Association (2009-2015), a Book Review Editor for the European Accounting Association, member of the Trustees Board of the Academy of Accounting Historians (USA) (2013-2016), member of EFRAG Academic Panel (since 2017) and member of the Corporate Reporting Committee of the European Accounting Association (since 2018). Furthermore, Professor Lucia has substantial experience of teaching at undergraduate and postgraduate levels in a wide variety of accounting subjects. Her main teaching area is financial reporting, in both the private and public sectors. She has taught accounting subjects, with strong levels of approval from students, in universities in Portugal and Australia (where, for example, she has lectured post-graduate students on “Contemporary Issues in European Financial Reporting”). She has taught many specialist courses, such as “Accounting for Financial Instruments”, “Risk Reporting” and “Intangible Assets”, to professional and academic audiences. She has a strong record of research which embraces quantitative and qualitative methodologies. She has published many papers in leading international peer-reviewed journals, including Accounting, Organizations and Society, Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, European Accounting Review, The International Journal of Accounting, British Accounting Review, Critical Perspectives on Accounting, Business History and Journal of Business Ethics. To date, she has supervised about 30 PhD theses and has been invited to be a member of more than 30 PhD Review Committees at several international universities. Lucia has presented her research at some of the most important international conferences in accounting, such as those organized by the European Accounting Association, American Accounting Association, and European Institute for Advanced Studies in Management. She was the Convenor of the Fourth Accounting History International Conference, in Braga in 2005 and has given major speeches at international conferences or research seminars by invitation. In September 2019, Lucia was the Keynote Speaker at the Intangibles and Intellectual Capital Conference of the European of Institute on Advanced Studies in Management. As at 4 December 2019, she had almost 7700 citations listed by Google Citations. Her H-index is 34 and i10 score is 84. Publons records that she has conducted 196 article reviews and she was awarded - Top peer reviewer in September 2017, 2018 and 2019 by Publons. Finally, her research has received awards from scholarly journals (such as Accounting History Review) and from international accounting academies such as Asociación Española de Contabilidad y Administración de Empresas (AECA). Link to profile:

Dr. Enrico Bracci (University of Ferrara)

Dr Enrico Bracci is an Associate Professor in Business Economics at the Department of Economics and Management, University of Ferrara. He is vice-head of the department and acted as the head of MScs in Economics, Markets and Management. His research activity has focused on the general field of business economics. In particular, the main focus has been on the role of accounting during processes of organizational change. The methodological approaches followed both qualitative and quantitative approached through surveys, case studies analysis and action research. He is a member of the Editorial Advisory Board of the Accounting, Auditing and Accountability Journal, and Journal of Public Budgeting, Accounting and Financial Management and a board member of the IRSPM Special Interest Group (SIG) on “Accounting and Accountability”. He is also a member of the International Royal Society of Public Management (IRSPM). He has published extensively in peer-reviewed journals like AAAJ, BAR, FAM, CPA and others. Link to profile