Matthew Gill - Guest Lecture
Accountants’ Truth: Knowledge and Ethics in the Financial World
Accounting is the language of business, increasingly standardized across the world through global banks and corporations: a technical tool used to reach the correct, unquestionable answer. Nonetheless, as recent scandals have shown, a whole range of financial professionals (accountants, auditors, bankers, finance directors) can collectively fail to question dubious actions.
To understand such failures, this talk will explore how accountants actually construct the knowledge they deem relevant to decision-making. Based on interviews with chartered accountants working in the largest accountancy practices in London, it will reveal how the seemingly certain world of accounting decisions is often contested and opaque, and propose a new way of describing and critiquing what goes on behind the scenes.
The talk will show why increasingly technical accounting rules can be counterproductive, and why reinvigorating the ethical discourse used within the financial world could be a more effective means of averting future scandals.
About the Speaker
Matthew Gill is Director of Policy at the British Business Bank, having previously worked at HM Treasury and the Bank of England. Prior to this, he completed a PhD in Sociology at the London School of Economics and was an interdisciplinary Andrew W Mellon postdoctoral fellow at Washington University in Saint Louis. He is a chartered accountant and the author of Accountants’ Truth: Knowledge and Ethics in the Financial World (Oxford, paperback 2011).