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Accounting Foundation

Fostering engaged research in accounting
The Accounting Foundation aims to promote excellence in the fields of accounting and finance by supporting collaboration between researchers and external organisations.

Our objectives

The objectives of the Accounting Foundation are to:

  • increase the resources of the University, by fundraising or otherwise securing gifts, grants, the provision of services or other non-financial contributions, and, assist the Senate and Vice-Chancellor in promoting the objective of the University in relation to research, education and scholarship in the fields of accounting and finance in both Australian and internationally, through the University of Sydney Business School;
  • seek to acquire resources by gift, bequest or devise to the University, subject to prior written approval of each acquisition, in accordance with the Administrative Delegations, and relevant University policies and procedures;
  • encourage philanthropy and other charitable activity in support of its objectives;
  • recommend to the University Officer (Foundations) purposes for which it may seek to acquire resources;
  • arrange sponsorships and or partnerships with external organisations provided that approval is given in accordance with the Administrative Delegations;
  • provide advice to the University of Sydney Business School about the application of any resources;
  • provide opportunities for admitting members to the foundation and members’
  • participation in its activities, in accordance with the Accounting Foundation - Rules; and
  • arrange or conduct activities, such as lectures, seminars, conferences, publications or other activities, consistent with the object of the University and subject to the approval of the University Officer (Foundations).

Foundation governance

The Foundation is governed by a Council comprising of leaders from the business community and senior University academics. Download the Accounting Foundation Governance Guide (pdf, 90KB).

Council

Tim Aman

Mr Tim Aman (BDO)

Melissa Bonevska

Ms Melissa Bonevska (Development Manager, University Foundations, Representative of the DVC)

Associate Professor Maria Cadiz Dyball

Associate Professor Maria Cadiz Dyball (Academic Director, The University of Sydney Business School)

Jaya Kandasamy

Mr Jaya Kandasamy (EY)

Manuel Kapsis

Mr Manuel Kapsis (PwC)

Baljit Sidhu

Professor Baljit Sidhu (The University of Sydney Business School)

Simon Thorp

Mr Simon Thorp (KPMG, President)

Alison White

Ms Alison White (Deloitte Australia)

Professor Greg Whitwell

Professor Greg Whitwell (Dean, The University of Sydney Business School)

Engaged Research Scheme

The Accounting Foundation launched an Engaged Research Scheme in 2018 to help contribute to business, government and community. The Scheme provides funds over an 18-month period for multidisciplinary, cross-faculty and cross-institution collaborative projects to assist accounting researchers with commencing or continuing engaged research.

2020 projects

The steadily deteriorating return to work (RTW) rates translate to growing work injury damage expenses, yet regulators point to underfunding of employers’ estimates for insurance allowances. The longer an injured worker stays out of work the less likely is to RTW, develop depression and give up. Some workers seem more prone to taking more risks. Some workers resume their duties by seamlessly and others seem to never feel in place again. There are resilient personalities who can bounce back from injury by exerting normal effort, and then there are vulnerable personalities who find it hard to rehabilitate or RTW at all. Personality is an inherent worker-specific barrier to RTW. This project will build a predictive model on disability outcomes from work-related injuries conditional on personality, thus helping work compensation insurance companies estimate allowances more accurately and help injured workers RTW on time with more targeted treatment.

This project examines the impacts of online teaching and learning as a direct response to COVID-19 restrictions, gathering insights from The University of Sydney Business School educators, students, the Business School Dean and leading practitioners from the Big 4 professional service firms. The overall aim is to provide practical advice for adapting to exclusive remote online teaching and learning and create a portfolio of experiences and challenges from both student and teacher perspectives. We will examine how educators developed online course content, assessments and how they developed teaching competencies for engaging students. We will also provide insights from surveys and focus groups into the student’s learning experience and outcomes at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels. This research will also initially engage with Partners from the Big 4, one of the biggest recruiters of our Business School graduates to understand the impact of the current remote online learning context on outcomes such as graduate qualities, and the future implications of online business education.

Aim: to understand the effect of the disclosure of financial impact of climate-related risk/opportunity on professional analyst valuation decisions. Method: a 2x2 controlled experimental design to study the effect of company disclosure of financial impact of climate-related risk/opportunity on professional analyst valuation decisions. Presence/absence of quantified financial impact and mandatory/voluntary disclosure are the two variables being investigated. Significance: a response to the emergence of the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) that seeks to develop recommendations for voluntary climate-related financial disclosures that are consistent, comparable, and reliable, and provide decision-useful information to investors. Although public climate-related disclosures by large listed companies are increasing, the actual or potential financial implications in quantitative terms are rare. Further, whether climate-related financial disclosures should be mandated or remain voluntary is on the agenda of regulators around the globe. Expected outcomes: contribution to what constitutes decision useful climate-related disclosures as a stated financial impact for investment decision-making, as a business response to addressing the grand challenge of climate change.

While the use of the direct method of accounting for operating cash flows (CFO) is unusual outside of Australia and New Zealand, a sizable number of U.S. firms voluntarily reported on a direct basis after the introduction of the Statement of Financial Accounting Standards (SFAS) No. 95 on the Statement of Cash Flows in 1987. Prior studies have studied firms’ decision to adopt the direct method and found such method to be useful for predicting future performance and explaining the capital market. However, many of those voluntary adopters have discontinued with the direct method after using such method for a period of time. The aim of this project is to investigate their decision to discontinue by employing empirical models using archival data. Our study will contribute to both the academic literature and the standard setting debate on the presentation of primary financial statements (e.g., the IASB’s Primary Financial Statement project).

Researchers: Dr Ava Wu, Dr Louise Lu (ANU)

In the past century, many countries including U.S. and Australia have experienced rapid growth in ethnic diversity. In the financial services industry, top executives from Wall Street espouse that diversity as a key driver of success in serving its clients. However, latest media news revealed that women and minorities remain underrepresented in financial firms and ethnic biases are significant in the financial services industry. The availability of data on individual analysts in the financial industry provides a unique setting to assess the impact of diversity on individual outputs in the workplace. This proposed research aims to shed light on how ethnic diversity of brokerage house affects the quality of sell-side analysts’ information production. The results of the project may provide supports for policy makers and firms to implement policies to promote diversity and equal opportunities.

2019 projects

Using large sample archival method, this protect studies the economic consequences associated with EER and the use of credibility-enhancing mechanisms on EER. EER encapsulates many different forms of reporting, including, but not limited to, integrated reporting, sustainability reporting and other reporting by entities about environmental, social and governance (ESG) matters. With EER on the agendas of standard setters from around the world as a vehicle for corporations to build trust, this project helps to inform debates on how to make corporate reports more transparent and relevant to the users of information. 

This research engages with management and staff within all of the 'big 4' accounting firms in Australia, to provide insight into the developing focus on LGBTI diversity and inclusion. Access is secured, and we are progressing with semi-structured interviewing. Our interviews are uncovering the nature of related initiatives, perceptions of values, challenges, and opportunities. Research within this under-explored field will have value for both academia and practice. While several papers provide insight into diversity focused on gender and culture, exploration of diversity focused on sexuality, particularly within the accounting profession, is limited. A number of unique challenges impact in both accounting, and for that 'pillar' of diversity, including ongoing significant attrition rates among younger staff, and leadership domination by 'white' males. All of our contacts have told us that benchmarking is important, and so they are keen to receive a report from us, that overviews developments across all 4 firms.  

Aim: This research aims to understand how climate science and the measurement of financial risk interact.

Method: The research will address this aim through a qualitative study, in which the researchers observe representatives from the banking, insurance, accounting, regulatory and climate science communities, as they develop a technical standard for the measurement of climate physical risk.

Significance: Climate risks are increasingly understood as financially significant. A recent study (Kompas, Pham, & Che, 2018), for example, valued global long term losses of 4 degrees warming (our current trajectory) in 2100, at $US23+ trillion/year. This research seeks to generate the knowledge needed to measure such losses at the entity-level. It is accordingly of significance to industry, regulators and academics. 

Expected outcomes: This research will, at a minimum, lead to publication of:

1. An executive summary for The Accounting Foundation website; and

2. An article in an internationally respected (Tier 3 or 4) accounting journal. 

The post-IFRS accounting standard on Intangible Assets (AASB138) is considerably more restrictive than pre-IFRS Australian GAAP. AASB138 only permits revaluations of intangibles when fair value can be measured with reference to an active market, while the pre-IFRS standard only required the best available market evidence of value that could be exchanged at arms-length. This requirement is also more restrictive than that for tangible assets. The AASB Staff is of the view that revaluations of intangibles were likely more commonplace pre- compared to post-IFRS. Given revaluations are argued to be in the interest of informing the market, then the question arises as to how entities now manage the value communication challenge. This project will investigate whether entities which revalued intangibles pre-IFRS, voluntarily provide fair value information in other ways post-IFRS. And if they do, how credible this disclosure is viewed by the market.

2018 Projects

The Institute of Chartered Accountants of England and Wales claims that blockchain technology is fundamentally an accounting technology. This project will examine this claim by exploring the views of technology and accounting professionals on the new opportunities and risks created by blockchain technology for the practice of accounting. It will canvass: 1) the blockchain’s impact on business processes, and, the delivery of assurance services, and, 2) the implications for accounting professional development and education. It will provide valuable insights that will inform how the accounting profession could best equip its current and aspiring members to respond to this disruptive technology.

Read the Research Executive Summary (pdf, 650KB)

The transformative effects of Big Data Analytics are widely reported. Yet, we know little about how analytics are developed and become influential as forms of management control. This project will document the design and deployment of new analytics in a large organisation operating in a highly competitive environment. Key questions will centre on how new data, analytical tools and accountabilities are materialised as socio-technical forms; how innovation networks are built and resistance overcome. The project will help us to better understand both the potential and the challenges offered by analytics and the role of diverse professionals in their manufacture.

Read the Research Executive Summary (pdf, 567KB)

Publications

The journal Abacus is the flagship asset of the Accounting Foundation. The fourth oldest international accounting academic journal, it was launched in 1965 by the Sydney University Press with Professor R J Chambers as founding editor. For 50 years, Abacus has been recognised as a significant international journal devoted to the publication of scholarly papers in accounting finance and business studies.

The Accounting Foundation sponsored in 2006 the reprinting of Accounting Classics, a series of important scholarly contributions to accounting thought and literature.

The titles published to date are:

Pacioli Society

The Pacioli Society was established in 1968 on the initiative of Emeritus Professor R.J. Chambers, the foundation Professor of Accounting at the University of Sydney. The aim was to provide a forum on matters related to accounting, business and finance, and to foster the expression of both academic and professional views on topical issues based on informed opinion and debate.

The Pacioli Society now operates under the auspices of the Accounting Foundation and provides a valuable contact between academics from Sydney and other metropolitan universities and the business community.

Up to four meetings are held each year. In line with the aims of the Society, each meeting is presented by a panel of speakers to ensure several perspectives of the topic are put forward. Attendees are always given opportunities to ask questions and to voice their own opinions about the topic.

The Pacioli Society 2020 membership subscription fee is $195 ($176 plus GST) and includes an annual subscription to Abacus, a journal of accounting, finance and business studies, published quarterly.

To become a member, please return the Pacioli Society Membership Subscription Form with completed credit card details or a cheque made payable to "The Accounting Foundation, University of Sydney".

Queries should be directed to the Accounting Foundation at business.accountingfoundation@sydney.edu.au.

COVID-19: Assessing its global socio-economic and environmental impact
  • 12 November 2020

Speakers

  • Dr Arunima MalikLecturer in Sustainability, University of Sydney Business School and Faculty of Science
  • Dr. Jorge Gómez-Paredes – Managing Director, The United Nations’ Sustainable Development Solutions Network for the Andean Region" (SDSN Andes)
The Changing Role of Accounting and Finance in a World of Digital Disruption
  • Date: 5 March 2019
  • Speaker: Janelle Hopkins, Group CFO, Australia Post 
The Banking Royal Commission: Drivers, Outcomes and Future Directions
  • Date: 16 May 2019
  • Professor Clinton Free, Academic Director, Executive Education, The University of Sydney Business School 
The emerging role of climate science in the measurement of business risk
  • Date: 5 September 2019
  • Professor Andy Pitman, Director, ARC Centre of Excellence for Climate Extremes, University of UNSW Sydney
On the Spotlight: The role of Boards in Governance
  • Date: 5 September 2018
  • Speaker: Dr Judith MacCormick
Whistleblowing from Panama to Paradise: What it means for Australia
  • Date: 14 June 2018
  • Speaker: Associate Professor David Chaikin, The University of Sydney Business School
Measuring the social impact and performance of organisations
  • Date: 22 March 2018
  • Speaker: Professor Matthew Hall, Monash University
Assurance Innovation and Disruption
  • Date: 13 November 2017
  • Speaker: Kristin Stubbins, PwC Australia
Rethinking the Value of ABC
  • Date: 5 September 2017
  • Speaker: Professor Chris Chapman, University of Bristol
Changing political rationalities and the spread of market mentality
  • Date: 7 February 2017
  • Speaker: Professor Christine Cooper, University of Strathclyde