Award for Lancaster professor's groundbreaking accounting research

Professor Jeffrey Unerman

A Lancaster University Professor’s agenda-setting accounting paper has been recognised with a prestigious accolade.

Professor Jeffrey Unerman, of Lancaster Management School’s Department of Accounting and Finance, will receive the Mary Parker Follett Award for the most outstanding paper published in Accounting, Auditing, and Accountability Journal in 2018. The journal is one of the most highly-rated in the accounting world.

The prize – voted for by the journal’s editorial board – is for the paper Achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals: An enabling role for accounting research’, co-authored by Jan Bebbington, of the University of Birmingham

The paper looks at United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) from an accounting perspective , which set a blueprint to achieve a more sustainable future for the next decade and beyond across diverse spheres such as education, the economy and healthcare.

The SDGs have disrupted ‘business as usual’ attitudes across many sectors since their adoption in 2015, and the area has since emerged as one of increasing activity for accounting research.

The goals have become a significant catalyst to major changes in policy and practice across governmental, commercial and third sectors, and accountancy policy-makers and practitioners are no exception to the influence, which spans beyond those SDGs focusing on business and accounting.

Professor Unerman said: “This was the first accounting research paper to explore the roles academic accounting can play in furthering the achievement of the SDGs through enhanced understanding, critiquing and advancing of accounting policy, practice and theorising.

“It was also the first paper to propose a research agenda in this area. It establishes and advances the role of academic accounting in the pursuit of the SDGs, regarded as the most salient point of departure for understanding and achieving environmental and human development ambitions up to (and no doubt beyond) 2030.

“The SDGs provide a context for reinvigorating accounting’s contribution to the sustainable development debate.”

The award will be presented at a conference later this year.

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