The Importance of Mutual Understanding Between External Accountants and Owner–Managers of SMEs

This study investigates the perspective of the owner–manager of a small or medium-sized enterprise (SME) on the importance of mutual understanding with an external accountant. Mutual understanding means that the owner–manager understands what the accountant is saying and feels understood by the accountant. The results, based on 310 completed surveys of Belgian owner–managers, show that owner–managers who have a high level of mutual understanding use the advice of their external accountant more extensively. This is in turn positively linked to the financial health of an SME. Furthermore, several drivers that enable the establishment of a high level of mutual understanding are explored.

Debruyckere S., Verplancke F., Everaert P., Sarens G., Coppens C., 2020,  The Importance of Mutual Understanding Between External Accountants and Owner–Managers of SMEs, Australian Accounting Review,  No. 92 Vol. 30 Issue 1, p. 4-21

Choice-based learning: lecture-based or team learning?

This study investigates the choice of students between lecture-based and team learning. Students were allocated to their preferred learning approach and subsequently followed their preferred method of pedagogy. The results show that team learning has as positive effect on academic learning outcomes without providing formal group rewards. In addition, both student groups are satisfied with their selected learning paths. Also, choice-based learning provides job satisfaction for the instructors of both learning paths. These results re-energize the ongoing discussion on why and how to engage students in learning activities. Implications for student learning, faculty members, and institutional policies are discussed.

Opdecam, E. & Everaert, P. (2019). Choice-based learning: lecture-based or team learning? Accounting Education, 28(3), 239-273.


Does the CEO matter for environmental and social reporting?

CSR reporting is becoming more and more important. Non-listed companies usually communicate about CSR on their website. However, CSR disclosure practices differ significantly among companies. In this paper, the values and personality of CEOs are investigated using the theoretical framework of the upper echelons theory (UET). The result reveals that idealism has an impact on the importance of CSR as perceived by the CEO, considering the stakeholder view. In addition, the perceived importance of CSR is explaining CSR disclosure on the website for those CEOs who have high managerial discretion.

Everaert, P., Bouten, L,. and Baele, A. (2019). CSR website disclosure: the influence of the upper echelons. Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, 32(2), 421-455.


Culture and management control interdependence

New publication in Accounting, Organizations and Society

This study examines whether one of the central contentions of agency theory, that incentive contracting and delegation are jointly determined, holds in different cultural regions. Using survey data collected through structured interviews with top managers in 584 strategic business units across three Western cultural regions (Anglo, Germanic, Nordic), the results show that the interdependence between delegation and incentive contracting is confined to Anglo firms. In the Nordic and Germanic regions, strategic and action planning participation operate as a complement to delegation, while delegation is also complemented by manager selection in Nordic firms.

Malmi, T., Bedford, D.S., Brühl, R., Dergård, J., Hoozée, S., Janschek, O., Willert, J., Ax, C., Bednarek, P., Gosselin, M., Hanzlick, M., Israelsen, P., Johanson, D., Johanson, T., Madsen, D.Ø., Rohde, C., Sandelin, M., Strömsten, T., Toldbod, T., forthcoming. Culture and management control interdependence: an analysis of control choices that complement delegation of authority in Western cultural regions. Accounting, Organizations and Society. Published online 19 March 2020.


Heritage assets in the due process of the IPSAS Board

This paper assesses whether the IPSASB’s consultation paper (CP), ‘Financial Reporting for Heritage in the Public Sector’ might actually end academic debates about how to report on heritage assets. Similarities and differences in the position of the IPSASB, previous academic literature and the CP’s respondents are examined by the authors. IPSASB proposed that heritage be recognized and measured in financial statements, whereas the academic literature has supported reporting largely through disclosure notes. Most respondents agreed with the IPSASB, but raised the same difficulties as discussed in the academic literature. The respondents were mainly public sector entities and professional associations, mostly from Europe, Oceania and Africa. Though the CP asks the right questions, it does not provide the needed guidance which indicates it will not be able to end the ongoing debate.

Anschi De Wolf, Johan Christiaens and Natalia Aversano.
Public Money & Management, published online

Best paper Award at ICONPO Conference for Anschi De Wolf

Anschi De Wolf, Ph.D. student with prof. Johan Christiaens, won the Best Paper Award for her paper ‘Stakeholder’s participation in the development of International Public Sector Accounting Standards (IPSAS): A Multi-Issue and Multi-period Analysis’.

The paper Anschi De Wolfwas presented at the International Conference on Public Organization (ICONPO) (28-31 August 2019), Khon Kaen Province, Thailand.

Sophie Hoozée joins Editorial Board of SEAJ

Social and Environmental Accountability Journal (SEAJ)  is the official journal of The Centre for Social and Environmental Accounting Research (CSEAR). It is a predominantly refereed Journal committed to the creation of a new academic literature in the broad field of social, environmental and sustainable development accounting, accountability, reporting and auditing. SEAJ is listed in the ABS Journal Guide with a ranking of 1.

Using time-driven activity based costing to calculate radiotherapy costs

Along with chemotherapy and surgery, radiotherapy is one of the three core therapeutic modalities for treating cancer. While brachytherapy places radioactive sources close to or into the tumour, external beam radiotherapy (EBRT) destroys cancer cells by using beams of ionizing radiation. In this interdisciplinary project with the university hospital, a time-driven activity-based costing model was developed to calculate the cost of EBRT treatments. To demonstrate the model’s capabilities, a dataset was constructed for the hypothetical country Europalia.

Defourny, N., Perrier, L., Borras, J.-M., Coffey, M., Corral, J., Dunscombe, P., Hoozée, S., van Loon, J., Grau, C., Lievens, Y., 2019. National costs and resource requirements of external beam radiotherapy: a time-driven activity-based costing model from the ESTRO-HERO project. Radiotherapy & Oncology, 138, 187-194.



Credibility of CSR disclosures

Our experimental study reveals that in contrast to specialist readers, generalist readers perceive plain language CSR information as more credible than CSR information written in difficult language. Credibility of CSR information may thus be perceived differently by readers depending on their specialization.

Hoozée, S., Maussen, S., Vangronsveld, P., forthcoming. The impact of readability of corporate social responsibility information on credibility as perceived by generalist versus specialist readers. Sustainability Accounting, Management and Policy Journal.

Sophie Maussen & Sophie Hoozée