Bringing the social into accounting curriculum: integrating a sociological approach into learning and teaching accounting Report uri icon


  • Key findings • The dataset contained no examples of a curriculum-wide approach which viewed the role and the use of accounting information and its effects from a sociological perspective. • The focus of accounting degrees is almost exclusively on the financial reporting aspects of accounting and managerial decision-making which tends to embed a monochromatic, business-centric worldview that encourages students to associate with the financial interests of companies. This approach effectively excludes other possibilities and provides a very narrow view of accounting and accountability. • The principal views expressed by two stakeholder groups – students and staff – confirmed the web data, that is, that the principal view of accounting is as a technical, objective practice (described as the “authority” view). While some staff did acknowledge that accounting is more than numbers, this approach was rarely reflected in the curriculum. • The views expressed by members of the professional bodies were more eclectic; accounting was viewed as a socially constructed practice (described as the “agency” view). • The nature of the role of accountants is changing; the impact of automation and the outsourcing of mundane activities to countries with low labour costs are generating a need for a different accounting curriculum. Accounting education needs to graduate students who are broad and critical thinkers, able to embrace the complexity of the relationships between business, society and the natural environment. • The majority of graduates will be better served by a broader approach to the curriculum in which technical accounting issues no longer dominate the syllabus. A sociologically informed approach to the curriculum, as proposed in the scaffolded framework, can potentially deliver students who are truly educated and not just technically competent.


publication date

  • 2016