‘Making the Case for the Social Sciences: Accounting and Finance’ launched at the Palace of Westminster

May 11, 2018

Accounting and finance have a key role to play in tackling social issues

The Rt Hon Elizabeth Truss MP, Chief Secretary to the Treasury spoke today at the launch of Making the Case for the Social Sciences 13 – Accounting and Finance. The new publication from the Academy of Social Sciences and its Campaign for Social Science is supported by the British Accounting and Finance Association and the British Accounting Review

In her keynote speech before an audience of MPs, policy makers, academics and educators at the launch event in the House of Commons, the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, spoke of the importance of mathematics and financial knowledge. She also shared insights from her own background in accountancy and economics.

This is the 13th issue in the ‘Making the Case for the Social Sciences’ series. The booklets are produced by the Academy of Social Sciences and its Campaign for Social Science to demonstrate the power of social science research to improve lives, and are brought together by expert groups led by Academy Fellows.

Emeritus Professor Jane Broadbent FAcSS, who chaired the booklet advisory group and gave an overview of the disciplines, said “Finance and Accounting is all-pervasive – in the context of our personal worlds, organisations (be they commercial, public services) or governments”. She also talked of the wider value of accounting and finance and how the cases reported in ‘Making the Case’ showcase a small portion of the important research into the wide range of finance and accounting practices.

The event included a thought provoking presentation from Professor Anne Stafford of University of Manchester about the shortcomings of Public-Private Partnerships (PPP) and the Private Finance Initiative (PFI). She made the case that “the reality of PFIs is reduced control and higher cost to government. Our social science approach shows that the real effect of the policy has been the redistribution of wealth to the financial and corporate sectors”.

Other panellists included Professor John Wilson, University of St Andrews who spoke about his research with colleague Donal McKillop of Queen’s University Belfast on credit unions. He provided insights into the growth, consolidation, diversification, governance, capitalisation, risk and performance of credit unions in Canada, Ireland, United Kingdom and United States.

Mark Protherough, Executive Director, Learning and Professional Development at ICAEW presented a practitioner’s perspective on accounting and finance and said “Accountants are secret super heroes you don’t know about until you need them”.

Chair of the Campaign Professor Shamit Saggar CBE FAcSS summed up the event by saying

The centrality of accounting and finance not just to our wealth and prosperity but also to social purposes such as environmental stewardship and workplace gender equality cannot be underestimated. The new Making the Case for the Social Sciences pamphlet is therefore an exciting new contribution that showcases the very significant impact of research in these disciplines.

He added, “Holding companies, governments and non-profits to account is made easier if we can measure things and agree on metrics. That way we can make informed decision about who is truly served by key policies such as PFI and how far credit unions should be granted a separate and better regulatory deal. The Campaign’s latest publication goes a long way to unpacking these issues and showcasing why we can’t in the end live without accountants!”

Read the new booklet here

For more information contact: Marta Kask, Campaign Manager m.kask@acss.org.uk

Notes:

The British Accounting and Finance Association (BAFA) is a learned society established in 1947 and provides a professional voice for the UK’s accounting and finance academic community.

The British Accounting Review is the official journal of the British Accounting and Finance Association. The journal provides an outlet for original and scholarly research papers across the whole spectrum of accounting and finance, and related areas. Such papers can be theoretical or empirical in nature. Theoretical papers should be supported with analytical applications of the theory, whereas empirical papers should demonstrate the use of appropriate data collection and estimation methods. The hypotheses tested should be motivated by appropriate theory.