Sociological Perspectives on Modern Accountancy

Sociological Perspectives on Modern Accountancy

Sociological Perspectives on Modern Accountancy

Sociological Perspectives on Modern Accountancy

Synopsis

Within accountancy in the last few years there have been moves to take on board a wide range of issues relevant to the profession. These include in particular questions of social and behavioural science in relation to management, and to a lesser extent financial accounting. Robin Roslender's text is the first to draw on developments within the academic discipline and apply their findings in an accessible way for the accounting student. He uses the sociological perspective to analyse the structure and processes of accountancy in an entirely novel way. His book will provide material that is now recognised as being acutely necessary by all parties to accounting education.

Excerpt

The subject of this text is modern accountancy, which is to be considered from a sociological perspective. The logical starting point is to map out the chosen subject, modern accountancy, before saying something about the particular disciplinary perspective, sociology, from which it is to be viewed. Only then will it be possible to set out the precise subject matter of the text itself. These are the three topics which form the content of this introductory chapter.

MODERN ACCOUNTANCY: A BRIEF OVERVIEW

What is modern accountancy, or more precisely how is modern accountancy conceived of in the following pages? At its simplest it is viewed as an important institution of modern society. Its importance and influence have increased very rapidly in the post-war period and look set to continue in the future. Nevertheless, it is an institution about which comparatively little is known, particularly from a sociological perspective. For these reasons modern accountancy is a highly relevant subject for study at the present time. Having designated it as an institution, it is now necessary to outline what this particular concept means. In the British context the term is commonly applied both to concrete entities such as the Bank of England, the London School of Economics, Glasgow Rangers Football Club, or established events such as Trooping the Colour, the Edinburgh Festival, or Wimbledon. All of these are undoubtedly important entities with their respective histories and traditions, functions and roles, but they are much more restricted phenomena than an institution such as accountancy. The sense in which the term institution is being used here is the much broader one of constituting a major component of a society’s socio-cultural structure, i.e. as a social institution. In this way accountancy is being seen as the equivalent of the other major social institutions such as the family, religion, work, education, art and literature, and science and technology, all of which have been studied extensively by sociologists. Accountancy is viewed here as being similar to these institutions, sharing with them the characteristic of being at the very heart of society as it is presently constituted. Rightly or wrongly, it is viewed as being something to be developed and ever more widely diffused because of its perceived contribution to

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