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"Are Management Accountants legitimated in Sustainability Reporting?"Julie Demaret & Matteo Molinari

October 13, 2023
Teams On-line - Please contact for link
11:00 - 12:00

A critical case-study investigation

Julie Demaret, University of Tours, France.

Matteo Molinari, Kent Business School, University of Kent, Canterbury 


Purpose – This study aims to critically investigate the role of management accountants in sustainability reporting. Particularly, this research explores if management accountants are entitled – and legitimated – to engage with the sustainability reporting processes within organisations.

Design/methodology/approach – This qualitative study draws upon the legitimacy theory, relying on the Richardson’s (1987) and Parsons’s (1977) legitimation works. It focuses on a single case-study of a French leader organisation – called Energeo - which operates within the energy industry.

Findings – This study reveals how management accountants are not recognized as the main players in Energeo’s sustainability reporting. Particularly, participants refer to the key-role of corporate finance functions, which oversee finding investors for renewable projects. Controversially, management accountants are perceived to have an anecdotal contribution to sustainability reporting challenges. From a legitimation perspective, this research profiles three main types of management accountants, which are entitled and involved in the sustainability reporting.

Originality/value – This research provides some insightful evidence on the debated perception of management accountants’ role for sustainability reporting. Particularly, management accountants do not appear effectively legitimated for contributing to sustainability reporting challenges. In line with a structural-functionalist perspective on legitimation, this study identifies three main management accountants’ profiles for sustainability reporting.

Keywords: accounting, legitimacy, management accountants, management control, sustainability reporting


Queen's Business School
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