Talkin’ about my generation : Accounting and pirate radio

Miley, F.M & Read, A.F. (2015), Talkin’ about my generation : Accounting and pirate radio, Paper presented at the eighth Accounting History International Conference, Ballarat.

Abstract: In the 1960s, the British Broadcasting Corporation had a monopoly on radio broadcasting in Britain, controlling what was broadcast. This monopoly was maintained through an alliance among the government, the BBC and the Musician’s Union. This monopoly was challenged by pirate radio stations operating outside British territorial limits. This research examines the use of financial controls by the British Government to suppress the largest pirate radio station, Radio Caroline. Radio Caroline subverted the BBC monopoly through playing rock music and making money through advertising. The government implemented financial control mechanisms that ensured Radio Caroline could not operate profitably. While these controls led to the demise of Radio Caroline, they failed to suppress rock music or the youth culture it represented. Examining the role of accounting and financial control in the suppression of Radio Caroline illustrates how private sector accounting can provide a mechanism for government blame avoidance.

Full paper available through Andrew Read’s ResearchGate page

Advertising the accountant: A stereotype in crisis.

scoverijcaMiley, F. M., & Read, A. F. (2014). Advertising the accountant: A stereotype in crisis. International Journal of Critical Accounting, 6(5/6), 423-440. doi: 10.1504/IJCA.2014.068373

Abstract

Although we now recognise celebrity in such diverse areas as the celebrity trainer, celebrity chef and celebrity gardener, we are yet to see the rise of the celebrity accountant. Previous research has described the accounting image as dull and boring yet recruitment advertising by the accounting profession presents a very different image. This research tries to understand that apparent inconsistency by examining the role of stereotypes in commedia dell’arte, a form of improvisational theatre that developed in 15th century Italy and which used stock characters based on the common stereotypes of the day. In this research il dottore, one of the stock characters of commedia dell’arte, is considered to show how stereotypes provide encoded information that can serve an important purpose. In addition, we contend that if the recruitment advertising by the accounting profession is successful in changing the stereotype of the accountant that has long been entrenched in popular culture, instead of being beneficial to the accounting profession, it would be deleterious. Hence, there is benefit in the accounting profession trying to maintain the stereotype.

Link to journal

Hiding who pays: When disaster relief becomes a disaster

Miley, F. M., & Read, A. F. (2015). Hiding who pays: When disaster relief becomes a disaster. Paper presented at the Asia-Pacific Economic and Business History Conference, Canberra. http://www.acsacs.unsw.adfa.edu.au/news-and-events/apebh2015/

Abstract

Accounting can be a tool of cultural hegemony. In this research we examine the history of the interplay between the New Zealand government and local governments in the management of the recovery from earthquakes. We examine the management of the recovery from two earthquakes, Murchison and Napier, which occurred prior to the introduction of new public management and compare them to the management of the recovery from the recent Christchurch earthquakes. We conclude that accounting arrangements associated with the introduction of new public management permit the shifting of costs of earthquake recovery from the national government to local government while simultaneously hiding the hegemonic control the national government has over local government.

Link to paper

“Broken and mad”: Accounting, shell shock and the British Army medical unit 1914-18

Miley, F. M., & Read, A. F. (2015). “Broken and mad”: Accounting, shell shock and the British Army medical unit 1914-18. Paper presented at the 20th Conference on the History of Management and Organisations Lille, France.

Abstract – English

The purpose of this research is to enhance our understanding of the role of accounting in supporting stigma. We use the example of medical management of men with shell shock in British Army casualty clearing hospitals during the First World War. These men were stigmatised by other soldiers and the British Army because of their medical condition. Accounting processes that contributed to the stigmatisation of shell shocked men included initial classification of their medical condition, rigid mechanisms for determining re-supply quantities to casualty clearing hospitals and the additional accounting burden created for medical units when dealing with men with shell shock. Although stigmatisation of soldiers with shell shock was not due to accounting for the medical management of the condition, our analysis indicates that accounting practices in Royal Army Medical Corps casualty clearing stations supported and may have exacerbated the stigmatisation of the shell shocked and may have delayed recovery from shell shock.

Abstract – French

Cette recherche approfondit notre compréhension de la relation entre la comptabilité et la stigmatisation. Nous étudions les hôpitaux militaires britanniques pendant la première guerre mondiale. En particulier, nous étudions la stigmatisation des soldats britanniques en état de commotion. Les processus de la comptabilité militaire ont contribué à leur stigmatisation. Nous concluons que les processus de la comptabilité ont été un facteur important dans l’allongement de la durée de rétablissement des hommes en état de commotion.

Link to paper

Cartoons as alternative accounting: front-line supply in the First World War

AHR coverMiley, F. M., & Read, A. F. (2014). Cartoons as alternative accounting: front-line supply in the First World War. Accounting History Review, 24(2-3), 161-189. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/21552851.2014.967932

Abstract

The accounting system that supported the provision of supplies to the Western Front during the First World War had some inadequacies from the perspective of the soldier on the front line. These inadequacies are revealed through the cartoons drawn by Bruce Bairnsfather, a front-line officer in the British Army. Our examination shows that cartoons can provide source material for accounting histories. It also shows that cartoons can be considered as a form of accounting themselves and, in doing so, stretches the epistemological boundaries of accounting.

Link to journal

Making accounting interesting: Achieving the impossible through storytelling?

Lenses of LearningMiley, F. M., & Read, A. F. (2013). Making accounting interesting: Achieving the impossible through storytelling? In Flood, A. & Coleman, K. S. (Eds.), Disciplines: The Lenses of Learning (pp. 111-122). Champaign, Illinois: Common Ground Publishing LLC.

Abstract

This research examines the use of creative student-led story presentations to overcome negative perceptions about accounting. It compares two groups of students: one group is enrolled in an accounting degree and the other group is studying a single course of accounting in a non-accounting degree program. While the non-accounting students responded positively and their perception of accounting was enhanced, there was little change in the attitude to accounting of the group enrolled in an accounting degree. Reflections on the results, the different responses of the two groups and the potential of creative storytelling approaches in university teaching conclude this chapter.

Link to publisher

YouTube video on jokes in popular culture

YouTube_logo_standard_whiteLast year we posted details of our article:  Jokes in popular culture: The characterisation of the accountant. We have recently created a YouTube video which highlights some of the issues included in our research.  The URL of the video is: http://youtu.be/oxxC9gMDJew

We hope you enjoy the video and appreciate an alternative conduit to our research.

After the quake: The complex dance of local government, national government and accounting

Miley, F. M., & Read, A. F. (2013). After the quake: The complex dance of local government, national government and accounting. Accounting History, 18(4), 447-471.

Accounting History CoverAbstract

This research considers accounting for post-earthquake recovery in New Zealand. New Zealand’s most devastating earthquakes are considered to be the Murchison earthquake of 1929, the Napier/Hawke’s Bay earthquake of 1931 and the Christchurch earthquakes of 2010–11. At the time of the Murchison and Napier earthquakes, government accounting information was an ex post record of expenditure. Contemporary government accounting in New Zealand is accrual based and comprehensive, and so accounting information has played a more prominent role in the management of Christchurch’s earthquake recovery. Apart from evidencing the significant change to government accounting, an historical comparison of accounting in the context of the Murchison and Napier earthquakes vis-à-vis the Christchurch earthquakes indicates the extent of change in the interplay between national and local government in New Zealand. The relationship between national and local government, though legally unchanged, has become more complex, but the financial reports do not reveal this complexity. Through historical analysis the extent of this change is made visible.

Link to article

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.

Abstract

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

7AHIC

Accounting in the service of genocide: stolen wages in Australia 1897-1972

Miley, F. M., & Read, A. F. (2013). Accounting in the service of genocide: stolen wages in Australia 1897-1972. Paper presented at the 7th Accounting History International Conference, Seville, Spain.

Abstract

This research considers accounting in the context of wages earned by indigenous Australians between 1897 and 1972.  Up to 75 per cent of these wages were compulsorily placed into government trust accounts.  The remainder of the wages money was to be paid in cash to indigenous workers.  “Stolen wages” refers to the systemic failure to pay this money to indigenous Australians.  We examine the failure of accounting practices and audit processes in the management of indigenous wages held in trust and to be paid in cash.  These failures led to widespread financial mismanagement and fraud of indigenous wage money, created severe economic hardship among the indigenous population and contributed to genocidal outcomes consistent with the definition of genocide.  Cultural hegemony provides a framework for understanding that accounting failure is not accidental when it contributes directly to the oppression of indigenous Australians.  Previous accounting research has considered the use of accounting as a control mechanism to support genocidal policies.  Our research suggests that the culpability of the accounting for supporting genocidal outcomes should be broadened to include cases of deliberate failure to implement accounting control mechanisms and audit processes required by law and government policy.

Link to paper

Link to conference

7AHIC