Our approach to impact

The Accounting Research Centre seeks to make an impact by addressing the relationship between the accounting profession, governance and society and by exploring the nature and purpose of accounting institutions and practices.

The following objectives underpin our impact aims in the above areas:

  1. To target support at research projects capable of a significant societal, institutional and professional impact;

  2. To prioritise external funding bids aimed at developing research in high impact areas relating to the nature and purpose of accounting institutions and practices;

  3. To cultivate links with industrial, commercial and professional organisations in spheres in which our research is relevant;

  4. To support events and publication outlets where our research is disseminated to a broad audience;

  5. To enhance our liaison with government bodies and NGOs in the policy arena.

Professional and Policy development for the sector

Members of the Accounting Research Centre have an established track record of working closely with relevant professional bodies such as the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland (ICAS) with the Director of ARC being appointed to the newly formed ICAS CPD Regulatory Committee in 2012.  Through this appointment, ARC is contributing to the development of ICAS policies with respect to CPD requirements for members and to the development and regulation of CPD within ICAS.

Research within the Centre focused on corporate risk disclosure practices enhances understanding of factors that might inhibit full disclosure, such as commercial sensitivity, civil liability and reputational risk. It also provides evidence of the effectiveness of policy initiatives such as the ‘safe harbour provisions’ introduced in the recent update of Company Law (Companies Act, 2006).  The findings related to the success of various policy initiatives aimed at improving the quality of risk factor reporting by companies are of relevance to accounting bodies such as the Financial Reporting Council and the International Accounting Standards Board.

Specialist expertise in Islamic finance and accounting

As an international University with Campuses in two Muslim countries, Heriot-Watt has a particular interest in issues around Islamic finance and accountancy.  

ARC’s expertise has contributed to:

  • the consultation at the Scottish Parliament on Islamic Finance and its contribution to Scotland,
  • research on religious charity organisations in the UK, leading to engagement with Muslim charity organisations on accountability and governance issues,
  • the specialist Journal of Islamic Accounting and Business Research. link to be inserted
  • providing insights into the main issues and challenges related to international accounting harmonisation and international professionalisation of accounting in the Arab and Islamic world for regulators, professional bodies and businesses operating or wishing to operate in that part of the world.

Knowledge exchange

Members of ARC hosted the first ‘Accounting for Society and the Environment Research’ Symposium which was held at Heriot-Watt University in December 2012.