Accounting and Financial Management

Organisation profile

Organisation profile

The Accounting and Financial Management group at Royal Holloway has an established and growing reputation for its distinctive high-quality and high-impact research, and for the teaching of cutting-edge insights in comparative, cultural and social aspects of international accounting.

Research in accounting

Most of the members of the group work in the field of accounting. Notably, members of the group have many publications in the world’s top journals which publish research in 'qualitative' accounting, such as Accounting, Organizations and Society (AOS); Organization Studies; Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal (AAAJ); Accounting and Business Research (ABR); Accounting Forum; Abacus; and Critical Perspectives on Accounting (CPA).

In the BYU Rankings of 2016, Royal Holloway was ranked first equal in the world for accounting research in one of BYU's six categories: ‘Other’ which includes history, sustainability and organizational issues. See:

Members of the group (counting those who were members at the time of publication) have published in the following leading international journals from 2006 onwards:

  • Abacus (Napier, 2006;  Nobes, 2011 and 2014)
  • Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal: Unerman, 2006 (twice), 2007, 2008 and 2014; Davison, 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2011; Broadbent, 2008 (twice), 2010; Agyemang, 2009, 2010 and 2016; Tregidga, 2009, 2013 and 2017; Napier, 2012; Giovannoni, 2013 and 2016; Nobes, 2014; Nobes/Stadler, 2018; Unerman/Rinaldi, 2014; Agyemang/Broadbent, 2015; Agyemang/Unerman, 2017; Napier, 2017; Giovannoni, 2017;
  • Accounting and Business Research: Nobes, 2006, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2013 and 2015 (twice); Napier, 2009; Unerman, 2010; Davison, 2015
  • Accounting Forum: McSweeney, 2007; Unerman, 2007; Tregidga, 2012 (twice); Zhao, 2014: Agyemang, 2016
  • Accounting, Organizations and Society: Napier, 2006 and 2010; McSweeney, 2009; Davison, 2010 and 2014; Unerman, 2008, 2011 and 2016; Rinaldi, 2012; Nobes, 2013; Bryer, 2011 and 2014; Morales, 2013 and 2014; Tregidga, 2014; O’Leary, 2016
  • British Accounting Review: Unerman, 2008; Broadbent, 2009, 2010
  • Critical Perspectives on Accounting: Broadbent, 2008; Davison, 2010; Agyemang, 2013; Bryer, 2014; Morales, 2013 and 2014; Morales, 2017; Nobes, 2018; Nobes/Stadler 2018
  • European Accounting Review: Nobes, 2006 and 2012; Giovannoni, 2016
  • International Journal of Management Reviews: Davison, 2012
  • International Marketing Review: McSweeney, 2013  
  • Journal of Accounting and Public Policy: Nobes, 2009; Nobes/Stadler 2018
  • Journal of Rural Studies (Hilson, 2014)
  • Management Accounting Research: Broadbent, 2009; Giovannoni, 2008; O’Leary, 2016
  • Organization Studies: McSweeney, 2009; Giovannoni, 2017
  • World Development: Hilson, 2011

See full list of publications by clicking the ‘Publications’ tab above.

The work of the group is widely disseminated, as evidenced by high citation statistics. More than fifty of our publications have 100+ citations in Google Scholar. They include the following which have over 200 citations:

  • Broadbent, J. (1991) (with R C. Laughlin and S. Read) Recent financial and administrative changes in the NHS: A critical theory analysis. Critical Perspectives on Accounting (2:1), 1-29.
  • Broadbent, J. (1992) (with J. Guthrie) Changes in the public sector: A review of recent ‘alternative’ accounting research. Accounting Auditing and Accountability Journal (5: 2), 3-31.
  • Broadbent, J. (1995) (with A.J. Berry and D.T. Otley) A review of recent research in management control. British Journal of Management (6: Special Issue), S31-S44.
  • Broadbent, J. (1996) (with M Dietrich and R Laughlin) The development of principal-agent, contracting and accountability relationships in the public sector: conceptual and cultural problems. Critical Perspectives on Accounting (7: 3), 259-284.
  • Broadbent, J. (2003) (with J. Gill and R. Laughlin) The private finance initiative in the National Health Service in the UK: Designing a post-project evaluation system to judge value for money? Accounting, Auditing and Accountability Journal Vol.16, no.3, pp.422-445.
  • Broadbent, J. (2008) (with J. Guthrie) Public sector to public services: 20 years of ‘contextual’ accounting research Accounting, Auditing and Accountability Journal (21: 2), 129-169.
  • McSweeney, B. (2002) Hofstede’s model of national cultural differences and their consequences: A triumph of faith – a failure of analysis. Human Relations (55: 1), 89-118.
  • Napier, C. (1993) (with P. Miller). Genealogies of calculation. Accounting, Organizations and Society (8: 7/8), 631-647.
  • Napier, C. (1996) (with G. Carnegie). Critical and interpretive histories: insights into accounting’s present and future through its past. Accounting, Auditing and Accountability Journal (9: 3), 7-39.
  • Napier, C. (2006) Accounts of change: 30 years of historical accounting research. Accounting, Organizations and Society (31: 4/5), 445-507.
  • Napier, C. (2006) (with and B. Maali and P. Casson) Social reporting by Islamic banks. Abacus (42: 2), 266-289.
  • Nobes, C. (1998) Towards a general model of the reasons for international differences. Abacus (34: 2), 162-87.
  • Nobes. C. (1983) A judgmental classification of financial reporting practices. Journal of Business Finance and Accounting (10: 1), 1-19.
  • Nobes, C. (2006) The survival of international differences under IFRS: towards a research agenda. Accounting and Business Research (36: 3), 233-245.
  • Nobes, C. (2008 and 2016) (with R. H. Parker) Comparative International Accounting, Prentice Hall.
  • Nobes, C. (1992 and 2014) International Classification of Financial Reporting. Routledge.
  • Tregidga, H. (2009) (with M. Milne and S. Walton) Words not actions! The ideological roleof sustainable development reporting. Accounting, Auditing and Accountability Journal, (22: 8), 1211-1257.
  • Unerman, J. (2000) Methodological issues: reflections on quantification in corporate social accounting content analysis. Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal (13: 5), 667-681.
  • Unerman, J. (2004) (with M. Bennett). Increased stakeholder dialogue and the internet: towards greater corporate accountability or reinforcing capitalist hegemony? Accounting, Organizations and Society (29: 7), 685-707.
  • Unerman, J. (2006) (with R. Gray and B. O’Dwyer). NGOs civil society and accountability: making the people accountable to capital. Accounting, Auditing and Accountability Journal (19: 3), 319-348
  • Unerman, J. (2007 and 2014) (with J. Bebbington and B. O’Dwyer). Sustainability Accounting and Accountability. Routledge.

Brendan McSweeney’s Human Relations (55: 1) article is the most-cited paper ever from that journal (founded in 1947), and it has been the top downloaded paper every year since 2002.

Christopher Nobes was named as the most productive European author in leading accounting journals between 1991 and 2002 (Chan et al., Accounting and Business Research, 2006). He was the joint winner of the 2011 best manuscript award of the journal AbacusHelen Tregidga received the 2009 Mary Parker Follett Outstanding Paper Award of AAAJ.

Further activities include the editing of journal special issues, such as:

  • Case study insights from the implementation of Integrated Reporting (expected in 2017) for Accounting, Auditing and Accountability Journal (L. Rinaldi and J. Unerman with C. de Villiers)
  • Accounting narratives: quantification, storytelling and sensemaking (2015) for Accounting and Business Research (J. Davison with V. Beattie)
  • The IASB’s Conceptual Framework (2015) for Accounting and Business Research (C. Nobes with A. Tarca and M. Barth)
  • Integrated Reporting (2014) for Accounting, Auditing and Accountability Journal (L. Rinaldi and J. Unerman with C. de Villiers)
  • The Roles of Accounting in Advancing Sustainability (2013) for Accounting, Organizations and Society (J. Unerman with C. Chapman)
  • Analysing the Quality, Meaning and Accountability of Organisational Reporting and Communication (2012) for Accounting Forum (H. Tregidga with M. Milne and G. Lehman)
  • Exploring the Visual in Organizations and Management (2012) for Qualitative Research in Organizations and Management (J. Davison, with C. McLean and S. Warren); winner of the Outstanding Special Issue Award across all 180 Emerald publications.
  • Visual perspectives on accounting and accountability for Accounting, Auditing and Accountability Journal (2009) (J. Davison, with S. Warren)
  • NGO Accounting and Accountability for Accounting, Auditing and Accountability Journal (2009) (J. Unerman and B. O’Dwyer)
  • Revisiting Gender and Accounting (2008) for Accounting, Auditing and Accountability Journal (Jane Broadbent with Linda Kirkham)
  • Shareholder Value for Accounting Forum (2007) (B. McSweeney)

and the editing of books, such as:

  • Sustainability Accounting and Accountability (2007 and 2014, 2nd ed.) Routledge (J. Unerman with J. Bebbington and B. O’Dwyer)
  • The Routledge Companion to Accounting Communication (2013) (L. Jack, J. Davison and R. Craig)
  • Accounting for Sustainability: Practical Insights (2010) (J. Unerman, with A. Hopwood and J. Fries)
  • Islamic Accounting, Edward Elgar Publishing (2010) (C. Napier, with R. Haniffa)
  • Remaking Management: Beyond Local and Global, Cambridge University Press (2008) (B. McSweeney, with C. Smith and R. Fitzgerald)
  • International Financial Reporting Standards: Context, Analysis and Comment, Routledge (2008) (C. W. Nobes, with D. Alexander)

Members of the group serve on a number of journal editorial boards (including Abacus; Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal (7 members); Accounting and Business Research (2 members); Australian Accounting Review (2 members); Accounting History Review (formerly Accounting, Business & Financial History); Accounting Forum (3 members); Accounting History; Accounting Organizations and Society; Advances in Public Interest Accounting; British Accounting Review; Contemporary Accounting Research; Critical Perspectives on Accounting; Critical Perspectives on International Business; Journal of Accounting in Emerging Economies; Journal of Islamic Accounting & Business Research; Revista de Contabilidad y Direcciòn (Spain); Revista Contabilidade & Finanças (Brazil); Public Money and Management; Social and Environmental Accountability Journal (2 members); and Visual Methodologies (Switzerland).

Jane Broadbent was editor of Public Money and Management. Christopher Napier was co-editor of Accounting Historians Journal. Jeffrey Unerman was co-editor of Social and Environmental Accountability Journal (2008-13) and is associate editor of AAAJ. Jane Davison is an associate editor of Accounting and Business Research.

Distinctions and grants

Three members of our group have won the Distinguished Academic Award of the British Accounting and Finance Association (BAFA): Jane Broadbent in 2008, Chris Nobes in 2015, and Jeffrey Unerman in 2016. The award has never before been made to members of the same institution for two years in a row. Further, Christopher Napier was awarded BAFA's Lifetime Achievement Award for 2016.

Jane Broadbent was admitted as an Academician of the Academy of Social Sciences in 2012, as was Christopher Nobes in 2017.

Jane Davison is a founding member of the ESRC-funded international research network inVisio [International Network for Visual Studies in Organisations]. She is associate director of the Centre for Impression Management in Accounting Communication at Bangor University. She was a member of the Italian RAE panel 2012 and is now a member of the ESRC peer review college.

Brendan McSweeney was responsible for the establishment of the research board of the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA); in 2000 he was elected a fellow of the Royal Society of Arts; he is the founding member of an advisory board to the Europe, Middle East & Africa division of a large globally-located Japanese company; he is vice-president of the International association of Cross-cultural Comptetence and Management.

Christopher Napier was a member of the Council of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW) (1996-1999), and a member of its Financial Reporting Committee (1997-2004). He was one of the invited keynote speakers at the Institute’s Information for Better Markets Conference (the main forum for practitioners and academics in the UK) on Accounting for Pensions in December 2008.

Christopher Nobes was a member of the Board of the International Accounting Standards Committee (1993-2001). He is now a member of the Financial Reporting Committee of the ICAEW, and a member of the Academic Panel of the UK’s Accounting Standards Council. He was vice-chair of the accounting group of the Fédération des Experts Comptables Européens (1993-2015). He was a member of the Financial Reporting Standards Committee of the European Accounting Association (2010-15). He received the ‘Outstanding International Accounting Educator’ Award of the American Accounting Association in 2002. In 2014, Prof. Nobes was inducted into the Reial Acadèmia Europea de Doctors (Barcelona).

Jeffrey Unerman was President of BAFA (2012-14). Since 2014 he has been a co-opted member of the Council of the ICAEW. He served on the ACCA Research Committee from 2005 to 2011 and is now a member of ICAEW Research Advisory Board. Prof. Unerman was also a member of the Expert Panel of the Prince of Wales’s Accounting for Sustainability Project. He received honorary membership of CPA Australia in 2009.

Gloria Agyemang was a member of BAFA's Board of Trustees (2012-2016). She was Secretary to the Committee of Departments of Accounting (CDAF) from 2000 to 2011.

The success of the accounting section is also reflected in grants awarded, from 2007:

  • ICAEW 2019 'International differences in extractive industry accounting', Christian Stadler and Christopher Nobes.

  • Leverhulme 2017 ‘Emile Zola: property bubbles, banking crises and the role of money in society’ Jane Davison.

  • British Council, Newton Fund 2017 for a researcher links workshop ‘Indicators and Metrics for Socially Inclusive Waste Management and Resource Efficiency in Supply Chains: Measuring and Reporting to Embed Sustainability in Policy and Practice’ (J. Unerman with D Vazquez-Brust and Brazilian colleagues)

  • ICAEW 2015 ‘International differences in IFRS recognition and measurement’ Christopher Nobes and Christian Stadler.

  • International Growth Centre 2014 ‘The Informalization of Ghana’s Small-Scale Gold Mining Economy: Drivers and Policy Implications’ Abby Hilson (with G. Hilson and R. Amankwah).

  • ACCA 2011 ‘Environmental aspects of Sustainability: SMEs and the role of the accountant’ Gloria Agyemang and Leonardo Rinaldi (with Laura Spence of RHUL).

  • ACCA 2011 ‘International variations in IFRS adoption and practice’, Christopher Nobes.

  • ESRC 2010 a Researcher Development Initiative, entitled ‘Advancing visual methodologies in business and management’, J. Davison (with S. Warren, Essex University and others from inVisio, International Network of Visual Studies in Organizations,  Web pages developed under this project are entitled 'inspire' and are newly and freely available at

  • ACCA 2009 ‘Analysing the relevance and utility of leading accounting research’, Jeffrey Unerman (with B. O’Dwyer)

  • ESRC 2008 ‘Research Seminar Series on visual dimensions of business, management and organizations’, J. Davison (with S. Warren, Surrey University and others from inVisio).

  • ACCA 2007 ‘Assessing the Functioning of NGO Accountability: The Impact on Effectiveness of Aid Delivery’ G. Agyemang and J. Unerman (with M. Awumbila, University of Ghana and B O’Dwyer, University of Amsterdam).


Further external links

Brendan McSweeney is a visiting senior research fellow at the Stockholm Business School. Christopher Nobes is a professor at the University of Sydney and an adjunct professor at the Norwegian Business School, Oslo.

Members of the group have been advisors and consultants to a wide range of private and public sector organizations including: Albert Fisher; Allied-Domecq; Banking, Insurance & Finance Union; Carlsberg-Tetley; Corus/British Steel; Dubai Financial Services Authority; European Commission; Electricity Supply Board Officers Association; Fisons; Goldman Sachs; GPT; Hackney Enterprise Board; IBM; the Japanese Government; Jardine Pacific; Manor Bakeries; Midland Bank; Pfizer; PricewaterhouseCoopers; Ranks Hovis McDougall; Reed International; Saatchi & Saatchi/Cordiant; T&N; Transport & General Workers Union; and YKK.

Others have had long-standing connections with the examining activities of the ACCA (Association of Chartered Certified Accountants); CIMA (Chartered Institute of Management Accountants); and ICAEW (Institute of Chartered Accountants in England & Wales).

PhD students

A number of students have completed PhDs in accounting in the last few years or are currently working towards them:

  • Andy Verlade on the management of disability equality in universities (with Gloria Agyemang and Jeffrey Unerman) (successful completion 2011)
  • Na Zhao on sustainability (with Brendan O’Dwyer and Jeffrey Unerman) (successful completion 2011)
  • Christian Stadler on pension funding and accounting (with Chris Nobes, Advisor Catherine Liston-Heyes) (successful completion 2011)
  • Zamri Osman on accountability in Muslim charitable organizations (with Gloria Agyemang and Jeffrey Unerman) (successful completion 2012)
  • Neeta Shah on corporate governance (with Christopher Napier, advisor Jane Davison) (successful completion 2014)
  • Martin Persson on a priori accounting research 1950-70 (with Christopher Napier and advisor Chris Nobes) (successful completion 2014)
  • Talal Aljedaibi on fair value measurement in Islamic banks (with Christopher Napier and advisor Leonardo Rinaldi) (successful completion 2014)
  • Aysha Alsalih on consumer preferences relating to Islamic insurance (Takaful) (with Christopher Napier and advisor Brendan McSweeney) (successful completion 2015)
  • Abdullah Al-Mulhim on corporate governance and firm performance in Saudi Arabia (with Christopher Napier and advisor Evangelos Giouvris) (successful completion 2014)
  • Aminah Abdullah on accountability in museums and art galleries (with Christopher Napier and advisor Jane Davison) (successful completion 2015)
  • Tulaya Tulardilok on corporate accountability (with Jeffrey Unerman and Leonardo Rinaldi)
  • Charles Owusu Antwi on faith-based NGOs and accountability (with Gloria Agyemang and advisor Jeffrey Unerman)
  • Edwin Orereo on public/private partnerships and performance management (with Gloria Agyemang and advisor Jane Broadbent)
  • Nicolae-Ionut Bertalan on the history of financial reporting regulation in Romania (with Christopher Napier and advisor Chris Nobes)
  • Rebecca Warren on the International Financial Reporting Standard for small and medium enterprises (with Christopher Napier and advisor Chris Nobes)
  • Mohammed Alomair on the governance of trusts (waqfs) in Saudi Arabia (with Christopher Napier and Leonardo Rinaldi)
  • Guotian Fu on Visual communication of aspects of human intellectual capital: a comparative study between the UK and China (successful completion in 2015, with Jane Davison and adviser Chris Nobes)
  • Mirwais Usmani on The visual disclosure of information in stand-alone sustainability reports: a study of impression management (with Jane Davison and adviser Christopher Napier)

Masters in Accounting and Financial Management

This successful and innovative programme, based on the research expertise of the group, was established in 2006. It was one of the first accounting masters programmes created in response to the increasing recognition of the need to set the theory and practice of accounting in the context of its social, political, natural and cultural environments. It incorporates reflection on the broader setting and implications of accounting in addition to knowledge and understanding of contemporary financial and management accounting. Students take research methods courses, accounting courses and write a dissertation.

The programme is open to quality students from any discipline.

BSc in Accounting and Finance

This degree was launched in 2015. It is accredited by the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales and by CPA Australia.

» BSc Accounting and Finance 


UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. Our work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 1 - No Poverty
  • SDG 2 - Zero Hunger
  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 6 - Clean Water and Sanitation
  • SDG 7 - Affordable and Clean Energy
  • SDG 8 - Decent Work and Economic Growth
  • SDG 9 - Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure
  • SDG 10 - Reduced Inequalities
  • SDG 11 - Sustainable Cities and Communities
  • SDG 12 - Responsible Consumption and Production
  • SDG 13 - Climate Action
  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

Recent external collaboration on country/territory level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots or