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Professional accounting media - accountants handing over control to the system

Research output: Contribution to journal/Conference contribution in journal/Contribution to newspaperJournal articleResearchpeer-review

  • Gudrun Baldvinsdottir, University of Gothenburg, Sweden
  • John Burns, University of Exeter, United Kingdom
  • Hanne Nørreklit
  • Robert Scapens, University of Manchester, United Kingdom
  • Accounting Research Centre - ARC
  • Department of Business Studies

Purpose - The purpose of this paper is to explore the relationship between management accounting software and the management accountant, as (re)produced in adverts appearing in professional management accounting journals. The paper analyses how such adverts have shaped the management accountant and the social practice of management accounting; in particular, whether these adverts are producing an image of management accountants who are in control of their management accounting system or who are controlled by it. The paper also discusses whether these adverts reflect changes in broader social practices.

Design/methodology/approach - The paper analyses two software adverts that were published in Chartered Institute of Management Accountants' professional journal. It uses discourse analysis to understand both the image of management accountants and the nature of the management accounting software portrayed in these adverts, as well as to explore the relationship between management accountants and their control systems.

Findings - It is concluded that the software adverts project an image of management accountants who are effectively handing over control to their systems, and who are encouraged to place substantial trust in the software. The paper relates these changes to trends in contemporary social practices, and reflects in the light of recent events in the financial markets and global economy more generally.

Originality/value - This paper contributes by adding more insight to the diffusion of the images of the accountant as a more action oriented and hedonistic person (while the software system "does the work"), as well as considering the broader implications of such diffusion in the context of the recent financial crisis.

Original languageEnglish
JournalQualitative Research in Accounting and Management
Pages (from-to)395-414
Publication statusPublished - 2010

    Research areas

  • Accountants, Accounting systems, Advertising media, Information media, Management accounting, Software-tools

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