Current research from the Accounting for Social Impact Research Group

The Accounting for Social Impact Research Group maintains an active role in research projects around New Zealand, as well as internationally.

The accountability information needs of key charity funders

Researchers:

Research outline

Key funders think charities’ accountability information needs improvement in the area of non-financial performance. Regular interaction between the managers of charities and funding organisations appears important for building trust about accountability reporting. More pervasive understandings of sector-appropriate reporting practices could be improved through enhanced training and evaluation of charities, perhaps driven by regulators. To better serve key funders’ information needs, regulatory developments related to non-financial performance information could focus on the disclosure of innovative results and could emphasise longer-term outcomes and creative ways of disclosing them.

Read more:

Unintended Consequences of Scaling Social Impact through Ecosystem Growth Strategy in Social Enterprise and Social Entrepreneurship

Researcher:

Research Outline

Scaling social impact is regarded as the main currency in social enterprises. However, this paper shows that scaling social impact is not always beneficial, neither for the social enterprises nor for the economy. More specifically, this article highlights some conditions under which a social enterprise's impact scaling activities can actually backfire. The implications are that scholars and practitioners need to pay due attention to potential unintended consequences of social impact scaling activities in addition to their intended consequences.

Read more:

Together we measure: Improving public service outcomes via the co-production of performance measurement

Researchers:

Research outline

Measuring service outcomes can be challenging for not-for-profit professionals. This research illustrates, in a charity setting, how these challenges can be addressed by using a coproduction approach to performance measurement that involves beneficiaries. By capturing beneficiaries’ voices and experiences, this co-production approach enabled not-for-profit professionals to better understand their beneficiaries’ needs. It also helped them to produce reliable, outcomes-focused performance information.

Read more:

How can the public trust charities? The role of performance accountability reporting

Researchers:

Research outline

Charities rely on public trust to exist. However, that trust has diminished, with a perceived lack of accountability seen as a key reason. This study draws on case studies of two New Zealand charities to examine their performance accountability reporting practices and potential implications for public trust. The findings surface the day-to-day agency of charity actors in shifting performance accountability practices towards modes of disclosure that are relevant and accessible to the public. This paper extends the understanding of how charities produce accountability information that can enhance public trust and support their mission achievement.

Read more:

An Asian Perspective and the New Zealand Treasury Living Standards Framework

Researcher:

Research outline

In recent years, the discussion of the Living Standards Framework (LSF) has gained momentum in many sectors. The New Zealand Treasury has issued several documents detailing the impact of the LSF on the different ethnic groups including Pacific and Maori. This research document specifically examines the Asian perspective on the LSF.

Read more:

The GST impact on retirement villages in NZ and Australia

Researcher:

Research outline

Due to the ageing population, retirement villages are a booming business. With two distinct GST legislations, there are differential GST treatments on claimable credits between New Zealand and Australia. Given the high value of Trans-Tasman investments in retirement villages, the tax treatment of GST claimable credits can result in significant tax credits or payments to retirement villages.

Social business and accountability: a blended value approach

Researchers:

Research outline

This project explores accountability and social impact measurement in the context of social businesses through a systematic review the literature on accountability, blended value and social business, and the development of a framework of accountability for social business. The findings suggest that social businesses require an extended form of accountability framework, including accountability for probity and legality, performance and programmes. The researchers argue that social businesses should consider discharging accountability not only through reporting but also through their actions.

Accountability framework in the context of social businesses

Photographs depicting sustainability: Captured reality or creative illusion?

Researcher:

Research outline

Photographs have become a pervasive means of communication in corporate reporting, due to their richness and appeal. There are mounting claims in literature that photographs provided in annual reports have a rhetorical or persuasive function and could be used to mislead users into biased perceptions about sustainability performance of companies.

Media coverage: Kiwi companies pack feel-good images into annual reports (Stuff website)

Corporate Social Responsibility Performance and Capital Markets

Research:

Research outline

Do firms’ corporate social responsibility (CSR) activities provide added value to capital market participants? This research focuses on seasoned equity offerings (SEO) to examine whether SEO firms with better CSR performance can mitigate the degree of information asymmetry between the firms and investing public.

Read more

Sustainability assurance

Researcher:

  • Muhammad Bilal Farooq

Research outline

In recent years there has been a global increase in the number of organisations publishing sustainability/CSR reports. In order to enhance the credibility of these reports organisations are recruiting external practitioners to secure assurance (ie sustainability assurance) over their disclosures.

Want to know more about sustainability assurance? Read more:

Are summary annual reports summaries?

Researcher:

Research outline

Summary annual reports aim to make financial reports more easily understood, however Auckland Council’s summary annual report in 2017 was over 70 pages long. In this paper we looked at whether summary annual reports by New Zealand councils are actually summaries and more understandable than the annual report and what information they contained.

Read more:

Institutional work and the promotion of charity performance accountability reporting: The voices of regulators

Researchers:

Research outline

Since April 2015, many New Zealand registered charities are required to report both financial and non-financial performance information in accordance with new reporting standards. At a time of significant regulatory change, affecting almost 28,000 registered charities in New Zealand, it is crucial to investigate the effort (or institutional work) of regulators to promote performance accountability reporting practices in the New Zealand charity sector, and the practical challenges they face during this process.

Nineteen semi-structured interviews were conducted with:

  • Charities Services staff members (as charity regulator)
  • New Zealand Accounting Standard Board members
  • New Zealand Auditing and Assurance Standard Board members of the External Reporting Board (as standard-setters)

About the Accounting for Social Impact Research Group

Our aim is to promote stakeholder-informed and practice-relevant research on accounting for social impact.

More about the group and our members

Website search