Lawyers, Accountants and Financial Analysts: The 'Architects' of the New EU Regime of Corporate Accountability

24 Pages Posted: 6 Sep 2016

Date Written: September 2, 2016

Abstract

English Abstract: International accounting rules are increasingly under pressure as they are considered inadequate to respond to major changes in the way business is conducted, how it creates value and the context in which operates. The paper identifies and juxtaposes two regulatory trends in this re-definition of traditional accounting: ‘accounting for intangible assets’ and ‘corporate social accountability’. They are partially overlapping and both demand to go beyond accounting for physical and financial assets. However, they are underpinned by different rationales and supported by competing professional claims. Deploying a reflexive socio-legal approach, the article outlines a preliminary symbolic ‘archaeology’ of these regulatory trends. Drawing on interviews and documents analysis, it highlights the role of three professional communities in shaping regulatory changes: international accountants, activist-lawyers and financial analysts. Competing for the definition of what counts and what has value, they are generating an intriguing debate about the boundaries between business and society.

Spanish Abstract: Las normas internacionales de contabilidad están bajo una presión cada vez mayor, ya que se consideran inadecuadas para responder a los grandes cambios que se están produciendo en la forma en que se dirigen las empresas, cómo se crea valor y el contexto en el que se opera. El artículo identifica y yuxtapone dos tendencias reguladoras en esta redefinición de la contabilidad tradicional: "contabilidad de los activos intangibles" y "responsabilidad social empresarial". Se superponen parcialmente y ambas exigen ir más allá de la contabilidad de los activos físicos y financieros. Sin embargo, están respaldadas por distintas razones y cuentan con el apoyo de profesionales competentes. Implementando un enfoque socio-jurídico reflexivo, el artículo describe una "arqueología" preliminar simbólica de estas tendencias regulatorias. A partir de entrevistas y documentos de análisis, se destaca el papel de tres comunidades profesionales en la formación de los cambios regulatorios: contables internacionales, abogados-activistas y analistas financieros. Al intentar definir lo que cuenta y lo que tiene valor, están generando un debate interesante sobre los límites entre empresa y sociedad.

Note: Downloadable document is available in English.

Keywords: Regulation, Accounting, Sustainability, Non-financial Reporting, Professions, Regulación, contabilidad, sostenibilidad, informes no financieros, profesiones

Suggested Citation

Monciardini, David, Lawyers, Accountants and Financial Analysts: The 'Architects' of the New EU Regime of Corporate Accountability (September 2, 2016). Oñati Socio-Legal Series, Vol. 6, No. 3, 2016, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2833767

David Monciardini (Contact Author)

University of Milan ( email )

Via Festa del Perdono, 7
Milan, 20122
Italy

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