Category Archives: Religion

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


De-facing power: Towards understanding power in accounting history

Miley, F. M., & Read, A. F. (2013). De-facing power: Towards understanding power in accounting history. Paper presented at the 7th Accounting History International Conference, Seville, Spain.


The purpose of this research is to introduce Hayward’s concept of de-facing power to historical accounting research.  The value of de-facing power analysis for historical accounting research is considered in the context of a Catholic school strike that occurred in Goulburn, Australia in 1962.  The strike was a response to a dispute concerning minor building works at a Catholic school in Goulburn but was construed as a battle for government funding of Catholic parochial schools.  We examine the contribution of accounting information to this dispute and demonstrate that historically constructed events determine the application of power in this case rather than the agency of current participants in the dispute.  We conclude that de-facing power is a useful methodological approach for understanding historical accounting research because it forces researchers to consider whether power can be an unintended consequence of circumstance rather than something exercised by those more powerful against those less powerful.

Link to paper

Link to conference


Indigenous spirituality at work: Australia

Faith and Spirituality coverMiley, F. M., & Read, A. F. (2013). Indigenous spirituality at work: Australia. In Neal, J. (Ed.), Handbook of faith and spirituality in the workplace: Emerging research and practice (pp. 175-194). New York: Springer.


This chapter examines the research on the impact of the spirituality of Indigenous Australians on the workplace and explores the mismatch between that spirituality and contemporary business practices.  The chapter comments on the lack of research in this field and the impact this lack of research can have on the success of Indigenous Australians in business.  The chapter proposes a research agenda to improve understanding of the issues so that workplaces can be designed to be sympathetic to the spirituality of Indigenous Australians.

Accounting stewardship and the case of stolen indigenous wages in Australia

Miley, F. M., & Read, A. F. (2011). Accounting stewardship and the case of stolen indigenous wages in Australia. Paper presented at the 2011 Annual Meeting of the Academy of Management, San Antonio.


This research examines government control of a portion of indigenous wages in Australia from the 1880s until the 1970s.  Although stated to be held for the protection of indigenous workers and their families, the abuses and mismanagement of the wages were inconsistent with legislative intent.  This research is from an accounting perspective.  It argues that an accounting stewardship divorced from its theological underpinnings was more likely to lead to create such outcomes than one rooted in a traditional theology or spirituality.  Although historical, the ongoing implications of government wage control are continuing as the indigenous population seeks redress for what are termed in Australia “stolen wages”.  This has broader relevance to accounting as the International Accounting Standards Board has now excluded stewardship as a purpose of accounting, further severing accounting from any morality or set of values, even though the accounting profession has long recognised that accounting is not a neutral and value-free reporting system.

Link to Academy of Management 2011 Annual Meeting Website (AoM login required to access paper)

Link to Paper (unrestricted access)