Acting in the public interest: accounting for the vulnerable
This PD Leake lecture reflects on how accounting can help make the needs of the vulnerable more visible, and influence policy for the better.
Accounting is a powerful tool for describing the world, helping individuals, organisations and governments make decisions and enabling others to hold them to account. We can see this in issues like climate change and in the wider issue of natural capital. Here, organisations are using accountancy to understand their dependency on nature and the risks and opportunities these pose.
But accountancy goes beyond this. It can shine a light on issues where there are blind spots and even where the size and shape of the problems are unknown. This is the case with this year’s PD Leake Lecture - Acting in the public interest: accounting for the vulnerable.
It is a scary thought that until recently we did not even count the deaths of homeless people. When it comes to accounting for the vulnerable, making the issues visible and influencing policy for the better we have hardly scratched the surface. This year’s lecture, delivered by Professor John Burns and Dr Stephen Jollands, will explore the question: How can the accounting profession rise to these challenges and help with some of society's biggest issues?
It will also explore:
- What we mean by the word 'vulnerable'
- How accounting can help make the concerns, perspectives and needs of the vulnerable more visible
- How accountants can lead the public interest by influencing institutions and organisations to do the right thing for vulnerable people, without driving unintended consequences