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Enterprise culture and accountancy firms: new masters of the universe

  • Prem Sikka
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    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.

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    File URL: http://www.emeraldinsight.com/journals.htm?issn=0951-3574&volume=21&issue=2&articleid=1669223&show=abstract
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    Article provided by Emerald Group Publishing in its journal Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal.

    Volume (Year): 21 (2008)
    Issue (Month): 2 (February)
    Pages: 268-295

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    Handle: RePEc:eme:aaajpp:v:21:y:2008:i:2:p:268-295
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    1. 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.
    2. *Unicef, 2007. "Child Poverty in Perspective: An overview of child well-being in rich countries," Papers inreca07/19, Innocenti Report Card.
    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.
    4. 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.
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