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Accounting Foundation

Fostering engaged research in accounting
The Accounting Foundation aims to promote excellence in the fields of accounting and finance by supporting collaboration between researchers and external organisations.

Our objectives

The diverse objectives of the foundation are to:

  • promote excellence in the fields of accounting and financial arrangement
  • work in close co-operation with industry, commerce and the accounting profession
  • assist in bringing Visiting Fellows of outstanding achievement to the Foundation
  • arrange the RJ Chambers Memorial Research Lectures in Accounting
  • assist accountants from the University to work in practice and vice versa, to enable a widening of experience and skills by both parties
  • assist, where appropriate, accountants from Australia to study a particular problem abroad
  • provide RJ Chambers Research Scholarships
  • foster interdisciplinary collaboration with cognate disciplines in the Business School
  • promote and foster relationships with Business School alumni
  • promote and foster relationships with external organisations and regulatory authorities which have an interest in accounting and financial management
  • contribute to public discussion and debate on matters of public policy in the field of accounting and financial management
  • publish works of present and past members of the Discipline of Accounting
  • sponsor research, publications and activities in the Discipline of Accounting.

Foundation governance

The Foundation is governed by a Council comprising of leaders from the business community and senior University academics. Download the Accounting Foundation Governance Guide (pdf, 90KB).

Council

Paul Brunner

Mr Paul Brunner, President (PwC)

Martin McGrath

Mr Martin McGrath (KPMG)

Tim Aman

Mr Tim Aman (BDO)

Professor Stewart Jones

Professor Stewart Jones (Editor-in-chief, Abacus)

Associate Professor Maria Cadiz Dyball

Associate Professor Maria Cadiz Dyball (Academic Director, Discipline of Accounting)

Professor Greg Whitwell

Professor Greg Whitwell (Dean, Business School)

Melissa Bonevska

Ms Melissa Bonevska (Development Manager, University Foundations, Representative of the DVC)

Engaged Research Scheme

The Accounting Foundation launched an Engaged Research Scheme in 2018 to help contribute to business, government and community. The Scheme provides funds over an 18-month period for multidisciplinary, cross-faculty and cross-institution collaborative projects to assist accounting researchers with commencing or continuing engaged research.

2019 projects

Using large sample archival method, this protect studies the economic consequences associated with EER and the use of credibility-enhancing mechanisms on EER. EER encapsulates many different forms of reporting, including, but not limited to, integrated reporting, sustainability reporting and other reporting by entities about environmental, social and governance (ESG) matters. With EER on the agendas of standard setters from around the world as a vehicle for corporations to build trust, this project helps to inform debates on how to make corporate reports more transparent and relevant to the users of information. 

This research engages with management and staff within all of the 'big 4' accounting firms in Australia, to provide insight into the developing focus on LGBTI diversity and inclusion. Access is secured, and we are progressing with semi-structured interviewing. Our interviews are uncovering the nature of related initiatives, perceptions of values, challenges, and opportunities. Research within this under-explored field will have value for both academia and practice. While several papers provide insight into diversity focused on gender and culture, exploration of diversity focused on sexuality, particularly within the accounting profession, is limited. A number of unique challenges impact in both accounting, and for that 'pillar' of diversity, including ongoing significant attrition rates among younger staff, and leadership domination by 'white' males. All of our contacts have told us that benchmarking is important, and so they are keen to receive a report from us, that overviews developments across all 4 firms.  

Aim: This research aims to understand how climate science and the measurement of financial risk interact.

Method: The research will address this aim through a qualitative study, in which the researchers observe representatives from the banking, insurance, accounting, regulatory and climate science communities, as they develop a technical standard for the measurement of climate physical risk.

Significance: Climate risks are increasingly understood as financially significant. A recent study (Kompas, Pham, & Che, 2018), for example, valued global long term losses of 4 degrees warming (our current trajectory) in 2100, at $US23+ trillion/year. This research seeks to generate the knowledge needed to measure such losses at the entity-level. It is accordingly of significance to industry, regulators and academics. 

Expected outcomes: This research will, at a minimum, lead to publication of:

1. An executive summary for The Accounting Foundation website; and

2. An article in an internationally respected (Tier 3 or 4) accounting journal. 

The post-IFRS accounting standard on Intangible Assets (AASB138) is considerably more restrictive than pre-IFRS Australian GAAP. AASB138 only permits revaluations of intangibles when fair value can be measured with reference to an active market, while the pre-IFRS standard only required the best available market evidence of value that could be exchanged at arms-length. This requirement is also more restrictive than that for tangible assets. The AASB Staff is of the view that revaluations of intangibles were likely more commonplace pre- compared to post-IFRS. Given revaluations are argued to be in the interest of informing the market, then the question arises as to how entities now manage the value communication challenge. This project will investigate whether entities which revalued intangibles pre-IFRS, voluntarily provide fair value information in other ways post-IFRS. And if they do, how credible this disclosure is viewed by the market.

2018 Projects

The Institute of Chartered Accountants of England and Wales claims that blockchain technology is fundamentally an accounting technology. This project will examine this claim by exploring the views of technology and accounting professionals on the new opportunities and risks created by blockchain technology for the practice of accounting. It will canvass: 1) the blockchain’s impact on business processes, and, the delivery of assurance services, and, 2) the implications for accounting professional development and education. It will provide valuable insights that will inform how the accounting profession could best equip its current and aspiring members to respond to this disruptive technology.

The transformative effects of Big Data Analytics are widely reported. Yet, we know little about how analytics are developed and become influential as forms of management control. This project will document the design and deployment of new analytics in a large organisation operating in a highly competitive environment. Key questions will centre on how new data, analytical tools and accountabilities are materialised as socio-technical forms; how innovation networks are built and resistance overcome. The project will help us to better understand both the potential and the challenges offered by analytics and the role of diverse professionals in their manufacture.

Publications

The journal Abacus is the flagship asset of the Accounting Foundation. The fourth oldest international accounting academic journal, it was launched in 1965 by the Sydney University Press with Professor R J Chambers as founding editor. For 50 years, Abacus has been recognised as a significant international journal devoted to the publication of scholarly papers in accounting finance and business studies.

The Accounting Foundation sponsored in 2006 the reprinting of Accounting Classics, a series of important scholarly contributions to accounting thought and literature.

The titles published to date are:

Pacioli Society

The Pacioli Society was established in 1968 on the initiative of Emeritus Professor R.J. Chambers, the foundation Professor of Accounting at the University of Sydney. The aim was to provide a forum on matters related to accounting, business and finance, and to foster the expression of both academic and professional views on topical issues based on informed opinion and debate.

The Pacioli Society now operates under the auspices of the Accounting Foundation and provides a valuable contact between academics from Sydney and other metropolitan universities and the business community.

Up to four meetings are held each year. In line with the aims of the Society, each meeting is presented by a panel of speakers to ensure several perspectives of the topic are put forward. Attendees are always given opportunities to ask questions and to voice their own opinions about the topic.

The Pacioli Society 2018 membership subscription fee is $195 ($176 plus GST) and includes an annual subscription to Abacus, a journal of accounting, finance and business studies, published quarterly.

To become a member, please return the Pacioli Society Membership Subscription Form with completed credit card details or a cheque made payable to "The Accounting Foundation, University of Sydney".

Queries should be directed to the Accounting Foundation at business.accountingfoundation@sydney.edu.au.

The Changing Role of Accounting and Finance in a World of Digital Disruption
  • Date: 5 March 2019
  • Speaker: Janelle Hopkins, Group CFO, Australia Post 
The Banking Royal Commission: Drivers, Outcomes and Future Directions
  • Date: 16 May 2019
  • Professor Clinton Free, Academic Director, Executive Education, The University of Sydney Business School 
The emerging role of climate science in the measurement of business risk
  • Date: 5 September 2019
  • Professor Andy Pitman, Director, ARC Centre of Excellence for Climate Extremes, University of UNSW Sydney
On the Spotlight: The role of Boards in Governance
  • Date: 5 September 2018
  • Speaker: Dr Judith MacCormick
Whistleblowing from Panama to Paradise: What it means for Australia
  • Date: 14 June 2018
  • Speaker: Associate Professor David Chaikin, The University of Sydney Business School
Measuring the social impact and performance of organisations
  • Date: 22 March 2018
  • Speaker: Professor Matthew Hall, Monash University
Assurance Innovation and Disruption
  • Date: 13 November 2017
  • Speaker: Kristin Stubbins, PwC Australia
Rethinking the Value of ABC
  • Date: 5 September 2017
  • Speaker: Professor Chris Chapman, University of Bristol
Changing political rationalities and the spread of market mentality
  • Date: 7 February 2017
  • Speaker: Professor Christine Cooper, University of Strathclyde