Author Archives: Andrew Read

Rugby-mad accounting academic. My research interests are in accounting history, accounting and popular culture, government accounting, and accounting education. My teaching interests focus on using technology to enhance engagement, using stories in teaching, and making teaching more efficient.

Pragmatic postmodernism and engagement through the culture of continuous creativity

Miley, F. M., & Read, A. F. (2018). Pragmatic postmodernism and engagement through the culture of continuous creativity. Accounting Education. doi:10.1080/09639284.2018.1471727

Abstract:  In order to engage students who have difficulty with the dominant world-view presented by accounting, or who have negative views of accounting, a different approach to teaching is required. We developed the concept of pragmatic postmodernism in the teaching of accounting to merge a postmodern teaching philosophy with the constraints and realities of teaching accounting. It represents an attempt to synthesise the individual learning needs of contemporary students who have difficulty accepting the dominant world-view of accounting with the constraints inherent in the resourcing, architecture and systems surrounding the teaching of accounting. The purpose of this research is to describe the thinking behind a pragmatic postmodern approach to the teaching of accounting. We provide examples of teaching approaches consistent with pragmatic postmodernism, that we have used successfully in our teaching to engage students who might otherwise be disengaged in their learning because of their rejection of the dominant world-view of accounting. In keeping with the philosophical underpinnings of postmodernism, we do not offer a magical panacea but an approach to thinking about teaching that seeks to prioritise the individual learning experience while remaining cognisant of the many constraints on the teaching of accounting.

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Farewell my lovely: Can we resurrect accounting education research?

Miley, F. M., & Read, A. F. (2018). Farewell my lovely: Can we resurrect accounting education research? Paper presented at the British Accounting and Finance Association Accounting Education Special Interest Group Conference, Brighton, UK.

Abstract:   We examine the quality of published accounting education research and compare to the quality of the research in published general higher education journals.  We find that accounting education research compares poorly with general education research.  The reasons for this poor performance are associated with failures to address methodology (not method), to problematize the issues and to theorise the cases.  We propose modifying accounting education research to emulate research in general education.  We recognise that this is a difficult task due to the historically constructed power relationships with accounting education research, the cultural capital inherent in the dominant style of accounting education research and the habitus it has created.  We argue that the nature of accounting education research needs to change to end the symbolic violence inflicted on researchers and, through them, accounting students.

“This degrading and stealthy practice”: Accounting, stigma and indigenous wages in Australia 1897-1972

Miley, F. M., & Read, A. F. (2018). “This degrading and stealthy practice”: Accounting, stigma and Indigenous wages in Australia 1897-1972. Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, 31(2), 456-477. doi:10.1108/AAAJ-10-2014-1839

Abstract:
Purpose
The purpose of this paper is to make visible the relationship between accounting and stigma in the absence of accounting. This research examines how failure to implement mandatory accounting and auditing requirements in the management of indigenous wages contributed to stigmatisation of indigenous Australians and led to maladministration and unchecked financial fraud that continued for over 75 years. The accounting failures are by those charged with protecting the financial interests of the indigenous population.

Design/methodology/approach
An historical and qualitative approach has been used that draws upon archival and contemporary sources.

Findings
Prior research has examined the nexus between accounting mechanisms and stigma. This research suggests that the absence of accounting mechanisms can also contribute to stigma.

Research limitations/implications
This research highlights the complex relationship between accounting and stigma, suggesting that it is simplistic to examine the nexus between accounting and stigma without considering the social forces in which stigmatisation occurs.

Social implications
This research demonstrates decades of failed accounting have contributed to the ongoing social disadvantage of indigenous Australians. The presence of accounting mechanisms cannot eradicate the past, or fix the present, but can create an environment where financial abuse does not occur.

Originality/value
This research demonstrates that stigma can be exacerbated in the negative space created by failures or absence of accounting.

Keywords:
Indigenous Australians, Stigma, Accounting history, Aborigines, Accounting controls, Stolen wages

Full paper available from the journal

Patterns of everyday resistance: The case of Hmong Lao accounting records

Miley, F. M., & Read, A. F. (2017). Patterns of everyday resistance: The case of Hmong Lao accounting records. Paper presented at the Critical Perspectives on Accounting Conference, Quebec City.

Abstract: This research examines the use of accounting as a tool of micro-resistance using he methodological approach of Michel de Certeau. The accounting of the Hmong Lao is used as an example of micro-resistance. These records are non-traditional in format and the medium on which they are preserved, not by choice but because past oppression limited the options pertaining to all aspects of Hmong Lao accounting records. The records are image-based and preserved on traditional costumes, which enabled the Hmong Lao to keep the records’ contents secret while preserving them in plain view. This paradox is central to the records being tools of micro-resistance.

Paper available from ResearchGate

Financial control, blame avoidance and Radio Caroline: Talkin’ ‘bout my generation

Miley, F. M., & Read, A. F. (2017). Financial control, blame avoidance and Radio Caroline: Talkin’ ‘bout my generation. Accounting History, 22(3), 301-319. doi:10.1177/1032373216683527

Abstract: This research examines the use of financial mechanisms to impose controls while facilitating blame avoidance by public office-holders. A qualitative historical examination is used to examine legislation designed to prevent Radio Caroline, a pirate radio station, from broadcasting into Britain in the 1960s. Radio Caroline made a mockery of the British Government’s power to manage radio through a monopolist, the British Broadcasting Corporation. In addition, Radio Caroline played the type of rock music the British Government sought to suppress because it represented the undesirable side of youth culture. Hence, inter-generational conflict was connected to the British Government’s attitude towards Radio Caroline. This research examines the suppression of Radio Caroline through the Marine & Broadcasting (Offences) Act (UK) 1967 and the legislative scapegoating of Radio Caroline by targeting its revenue-earning potential. It demonstrates the use of financial control mechanisms to mask the strategies of governments.

The article is available from the journal

Choreography of the past: Accounting and the writing of Christine de Pizan

Miley, F. M., & Read, A. F. (2017). Choreography of the past: Accounting and the writing of Christine de Pizan. Accounting Historians Journal, 44(1), 51-62. doi:10.2308/aahj-10522

Abstract:  This research discusses The Treasure of the City of Ladies, a manuscript written by Christine de Pizan in France during early fifteenth century to give guidance on account-keeping and budgeting. Christine de Pizan was born in Italy but raised in the French royal court. Her manuscript gives the keeping of accounts and budget management a religious imperative. She describes them as functions where the three Divine virtues of reason, rectitude and justice are applied. Christine de Pizan describes how demonstrating these virtues through proper keeping of accounts and budgets is a way to demonstrate love of God. Although historical accounting records show how accounting was done, this manuscript explains why it was done. In giving a rationale for single-entry bookkeeping and budgeting, the manuscript provides a source that prevents present-mindedness when attempting to undertake contemporary analyses of accounting records from this historical period.

Full copy of the paper is available from the journal

Their name liveth for evermore: Accounting for the human cost of war

Miley, F. M., & Read, A. F. (2017). Their name liveth for evermore: Accounting for the human cost of war. Paper presented at the 40th Annual Congress of the European Accounting Association, Valencia.

Abstract:  The currency of war is human life yet the cost of human life lost in war remains an under-researched area of accounting.  This research uses a qualitative and historical research design to consider accounting for the cost of human life lost in war, contending that war cemeteries are accounting reports.  Through a qualitative and historical approach, the accounting content of war cemeteries built by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, and it predecessors, is considered.  The planning and building of these cemeteries is examined to illustrate key features of the cemeteries as accounting reports and the information content they were designed to convey.  In addition, the transformative power of accounting is considered to illustrate how meaning has been transformed over time in the interpretation of the cemeteries as accounting reports.  The cemeteries were built after the First World War.  Three time periods are examined to demonstrate shifts in meaning: in the inter-war period, Cold War period, and contemporary period.  This research suggests the epistemological and ontological boundaries of accounting are already able to accommodate war cemeteries and their construction as accounting reports.  This research highlights the heteroglossic dimensions of accounting provided by the power of users to give meaning to accounting disclosures.

Full paper available from ResearchGate

The relationship between accounting and shell shock in British Army Medical Units 1914-18

Miley, F. M., & Read, A. F. (2017). The relationship between accounting and shell shock in British Army Medical Units 1914-18. Paper presented at the 40th Annual Congress of the European Accounting Association, Valencia.

This paper is an updated version of:

  • Accounting and medicine: British Army medical units and shell shock during the First World War
  • “Broken and mad”: Accounting, shell shock and the British Army medical unit 1914-18

Abstract:  This research examines the role of accounting in creating and enforcing stigma.  To do this, we consider the accounting practices used by British Army Medical Units during the First World War and the way those practices contributed to the stigmatisation of soldiers suffering from shell shock.  At the time shell shock was a little understood disease.  Many questioned whether it was a real illness or whether sufferers were actually malingerers and cowards and medical units.  The introduction of onerous accounting procedures for men treated for shell shock and ineffective budgeting methods that led to inadequate resourcing of medical units created tensions that added to the stigmatisation of men with shell shock. We examine how the complexity of accounting by medical units intermediated between those imposing stigma and those stigmatised.  Accounting procedures can both contribute to and alleviate stigma.  We conclude that the relationship between accounting and stigma is complex and multi-faceted and should be considered in its societal context and conjunction with other stigmatising aspects of society.

Full paper is available from ResearchGate

Believing the impossible: the use of visual metaphor to surprise accounting students

Miley, F. M., & Read, A. F. (2017). Believing the impossible: the use of visual metaphor to surprise accounting students. Paper presented at the BAFA Accounting Education SIG Annual Conference 2017, Cardiff.

Abstract:  To explain the concept of faithful representation in accounting, four works of art were presented to students.  By using the works of art as visual metaphors for different artistic approaches to faithful representation, students were able to construct shared meaning that helped them understand the application of faithful representation in an accounting context.  In this research, we explore the responses of the students to the works of art, how the art-works created dialogue that helped students to construct meaning in accounting, and student responses to the use of visual metaphor as a teaching technique in accounting.

Full paper is available from ResearchGate

The purgatorial shadows of war: Accounting, blame and shell shock pensions, 1914–1923

Miley, F. M., & Read, A. F. (2017). The purgatorial shadows of war: Accounting, blame and shell shock pensions 1914-1923. Accounting History, 22(1), 5-28. doi:10.1177/1032373216656648

Abstract:  This research analyses the role of accounting in British disablement pensions awarded to men who sustained shell shock during their Army service in the First World War. In this context, “accounting” refers to the classification of medical conditions when determining pension eligibility and awards. Pension classifications were prejudiced towards men with physical disabilities and against men with shell shock. Accounting classification’s ability to make a medical condition invisible is central to this research. The invisibility of shell shock as a medical condition in the pension classification system led to financial discrimination against men with shell shock. The immorality of this discrimination was hidden by a system of accounting classification that distanced decision-makers from the ramifications of their decisions. In addition, the Minister of Pensions adopted blame avoidance techniques to protect his Ministry and the British government from criticism occasioned by the discriminatory treatment of men with shell shock.

Full paper available from Accounting History