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Enterprise culture and accountancy firms: new masters of the universe


  • Prem Sikka


Purpose - This paper aims to argue that enterprise culture is producing negative effects. Companies and major accountancy firms are increasingly willing to increase their profits through indulgence in price fixing, tax avoidance/evasion, bribery, corruption, money laundering and practices that show scant regard for social norms and even laws. Design/methodology/approach - The paper locates business behaviour within the broader dynamics of capitalism to argue that hunger for higher profits at almost any cost is not constrained by rules, laws and even periodic regulatory action. Findings - The paper uses publicly available evidence to show that accountancy firms are engaged in anti-social behaviour. Evidence is provided to show that in pursuit of higher profits firms have operated cartels, engaged in tax avoidance/evasion, bribery, corruption and money laundering. Practical implications - The paper seeks to bring the anti-social activities of accountancy firms under scrutiny and thus extend possibilities of research in social responsibility, ethics, accountability, claims of professionalism, social disorder and crime. Originality/value - It is rare for accounting scholars to examine predatory practices of accounting firms. It shows that predatory practices affect a variety of arenas and stakeholders.

Suggested Citation

  • Prem Sikka, 2008. "Enterprise culture and accountancy firms: new masters of the universe," Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 21(2), pages 268-295, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:eme:aaajpp:v:21:y:2008:i:2:p:268-295

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Anne Loft & Christopher Humphrey & Stuart Turley, 2006. "In pursuit of global regulation: Changing governance and accountability structures at the International Federation of Accountants (IFAC)," Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 19(3), pages 428-451, April.
    2. Arnold, Patricia J. & Sikka, Prem, 2001. "Globalization and the state-profession relationship: the case the Bank of Credit and Commerce International," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 26(6), pages 475-499, August.
    3. Barrett, Michael & Cooper, David J. & Jamal, Karim, 2005. "Globalization and the coordinating of work in multinational audits," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 30(1), pages 1-24, January.
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    Cited by:

    1. Kornberger, Martin & Justesen, Lise & Mouritsen, Jan, 2011. "“When you make manager, we put a big mountain in front of you”: An ethnography of managers in a Big 4 Accounting Firm," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 36(8), pages 514-533.
    2. Sikka, Prem, 2009. "Commentary on Roy Suddaby, Yves Gendron and Helen Lam "the organizational context of professionalism in accounting"," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 34(3-4), pages 428-432, April.
    3. Sikka, Prem, 2009. "Financial crisis and the silence of the auditors," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 34(6-7), pages 868-873, August.
    4. Alice Garcia-Falières & Olivier Herrbach, 2015. "Organizational and Professional Identification in Audit Firms: An Affective Approach," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 132(4), pages 753-763, December.
    5. Joyce, Yvonne, 2014. "Knowledge mandates in the state–profession dynamic: A study of the British insolvency profession," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 39(8), pages 590-614.
    6. repec:bla:abacus:v:53:y:2017:i:1:p:1-27 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. repec:kap:jbuset:v:142:y:2017:i:2:d:10.1007_s10551-016-3157-z is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Bertrand Malsch & Yves Gendron, 2013. "Re-Theorizing Change: Institutional Experimentation and the Struggle for Domination in the Field of Public Accounting," Journal of Management Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 50(5), pages 870-899, July.
    9. Musa Success Jibrin & Success Ejura Blessing & Iyaji Danjuma, 2014. "The Role of Auditors in the Recent Nigerian Banking Crisis," International Journal of Academic Research in Business and Social Sciences, Human Resource Management Academic Research Society, International Journal of Academic Research in Business and Social Sciences, vol. 4(3), pages 231-251, March.
    10. repec:eee:worbus:v:53:y:2018:i:2:p:177-193 is not listed on IDEAS


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