Lawyers, Accountants and Financial Analysts. the “Architects” of the New EU Regime of Corporate Accountability.

Friday, 3 July 2015: 2:15 PM-3:45 PM
TW1.1.02 (Tower One)
David Monciardini, Exeter University, Business School, Exeter, United Kingdom
International accounting rules are increasingly under pressure as they are considered inadequate to respond to major changes in the way business is conducted, how it creates value and the context in which operates. The paper identifies and juxtaposes two regulatory trends in this re-definition of traditional accounting: ‘accounting for intangible assets’ and ‘corporate social accountability’. They are partially overlapping and both demand to go beyond accounting for physical and financial assets. However, they are underpinned by different rationales and supported by competing professional claims. Deploying a reflexive socio-legal approach, the article outlines a symbolic ‘archaeology’ of these regulatory trends, within the EU regulatory arena. Drawing on extensive interviews and documents analysis, it highlights the role of three professional élites in shaping regulatory changes: international accountants, activist-lawyers and financial analysts. Competing for the definition of what counts and what has value, they are generating an intriguing debate about the boundaries between business and society.