A research agenda

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It is slightly strange to be on a train this morning. I have hardly been on any since March 2020.

It’s also strange to be heading north to work: I am going to Sheffield for the first time since being appointed professor of accounting practice there. I admit to some pleasure about that: this seems to be the right place for me to be right now.

And I am going to meet colleagues Professor Adam Leaver and Professor Andrew Baker to discuss research work. John Christensen, until recently of the Tax Justice Network, is joining us because the work he is now doing on the balanced economy fits closely into the research agenda we have.

That agenda is at the interface of political economy, accounting, tax and climate change. It will look at tax transparency, audit and accounting reform, hollowed out firms and sustainable cost accounting.

Andrew and I are already making big progress with tax transparency. Last week the Global Initiative for Fiscal Transparency presented our work at a seminar with the IMF and World Bank and others. The IMF has featured it in a blog post.

Our work on audit and tax reform has largely focussed on submissions to the UK government reviews on this issue of late. However, work is progressing on new publications around this issue that should be coming out soon.

The hollowed out firms work is already reporting its early findings that should make worrying reading for anyone who thinks that we have a corporate sector focussed on making profit from useful activity on behalf of society, but could be developed much further, which we hope to do.

And sustainable cost accounting is the focus of a joint research project between Copenhagen Business School, Sheffield and the Corporate Accountability Network, which I direct, over the next four years.

We are going to be busy.