حسابداری برای مردم : گام رو به جلوی واقعی یا بیشتر به صورت میل و امید؟
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||تعداد صفحات مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی|
|269||2009||15 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید|
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Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Critical Perspectives on Accounting, Volume 20, Issue 7, October 2009, Pages 855–869
In principle, the Accounting for People initiative announced by the UK government in January 2003 held out the possibility of a real step forward in promoting the interests of employees. Despite its distinctly managerialist discourse, the initiative acknowledged that having now recognised that ‘people are our greatest asset’, employers should begin to consider how to report on their people management activities in financial statements. After more than three and a half years of consultation, debate and deliberation, larger UK quoted companies are now charged with providing only a minimal level of general information on their employees. Whatever promise may have been evident to wishful thinkers in the early months of the initiative, this outcome confirms that there is little possibility for progressively ‘accounting for people’ as long as such practices are shaped by powerful sectional interests. The purpose of this paper is to subject the initiative to critical scrutiny. The paper seeks to document how the Accounting for People initiative was quickly and effectively emasculated as a consequence of the power and influence wielded by the UK accountancy profession, identified as a key agent of capital. Additionally, attention is drawn to a number of contemporary developments, largely and perhaps knowingly ignored in the course of the Accounting for People debate, that may yet inform and energise a more radical approach to accounting for people.
In January 2003 the UK government announced the formation of a Task Force on Human Capital Management, charged with considering how it might be possible to ‘account for people’. Following a 10-month period of consultation and deliberation, the government published the Task Force's Accounting for People Report in November 2003 (DTI, 2003a). A principal recommendation was that information on human capital management (HCM) should be included in any expanded operating and financial review (OFR) that might become mandatory for UK companies. As well as contributing to increased transparency in financial reporting, previously commended in the 2001 Company Law Review, mandatory reporting on HCM affords considerable support to those individuals and organisations who believed that people are now the most valuable asset available to management. In May 2004 the UK government affirmed that its proposals for expanding the OFR would take cognisance of the Task Force's report. Draft legislation on changes to company reporting laid before Parliament in January 2005 proposed that an OFR must include “information about the company's employees”. These proposals passed into law on 22 March 2005, the provision of such information becoming a statutory requirement for large UK quoted companies whose financial year commenced on or after 1 April 2005 (HMSO, 2005). As a consequence of a surprise intervention by the Chancellor of the Exchequer on 28 November 2005, the OFR requirement was abandoned and with it, the legal obligation for UK companies to account for their people. The enhanced business review requirement that subsequently replaced a mandatory OFR effectively reinstates the status quo as far as (minimal) HCM reporting is concerned. The purpose of this paper is to subject the Accounting for People (AfP) initiative to critical scrutiny. More specifically, the paper seeks to document how a potentially progressive (if not radical) development was emasculated, principally as a consequence of the power wielded by the UK accountancy profession. Of particular interest is the disregard for a number of contemporary developments in the intellectual capital field that promise to provide a more robust basis for attempts to account for people than those underpinning earlier initiatives designed to account for the human factor. The theoretical perspective underpinning the paper indicates that the enervation of the AfP initiative comes as no surprise, for as long as the existing accounting calculus prevails, there can be no meaningful accounting for people. The structure of the paper is as follows. In the next section we briefly outline a history of accounting for people, drawing attention to recent developments that, in our view, promise to progress such practices. This provides the background for the remainder of the paper. Section 3 details the AfP initiative from its inception in January 2003, through the passing into law in March 2005 of the requirement for UK quoted companies to provide employee information in the OFR, to the abandonment of this requirement. In the Section 4 the suitability of the OFR as a germane approach to accounting for people is assessed, while Section 5 offers an overview of the debate about the appropriate audit requirement for an OFR. The latter two sections attest to the power wielded by the UK accountancy profession, a conclusion explored further in the context of the competition between the UK accountancy and human resource management professions to shape the AfP initiative in Section 6. In Section 7 we consider the limited prospects of progressing accounting for people as long as the accountancy profession continues to promote prevailing sectional interests. The paper concludes with an invitation to critical accountants to embrace the challenge of accounting for people as an element of the mode of enabling accounting.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
Although the emasculation of the AfP initiative comes as no surprise, the existence of renewed interest in accounting for people through a focus on intellectual capital ultimately provides critical accounting with grounds for a degree of optimism. In the same way that the debate surrounding AfP was not rehearsed in a vacuum, something that the upper echelons of the UK accountancy profession were very successful in obfuscating, research in the intellectual capital field is being pursued against a background of growing interest in developing a strong critical orientation across the whole spectrum of management studies. Increasing numbers of scholars may therefore be more likely to be receptive to arguments that promote the interests of those who are managed, designated “human capital” in the intellectual capital field. In the case of critical accounting, this entails returning to a field that for much of the past 40 years has evidenced strongly managerialist emphases, endowed with a prospectus of insights concerning the conditions and consequences of accounting rather than simply its technical dimensions. The theoretical perspective informing these pages takes as axiomatic the limited possibility of progressively accounting for people as long as such practices are fashioned by sectional interests that do not serve the interests of labour. As critical accountants our objective must be to develop an emancipatory approach to accounting for people within the broader mode of accounting designed to enable rather than control them.