Tomorrow's accounting and society's future

We have demonstrated throughout this book that accounting is not a neutral, benign technology reporting the facts of organisational life. Rather accounting practice takes account of the importance of local, time-specific factors, aims at understanding the diverse and complex processes of organisational activity and its relationship with the external world, and is concerned with the calculating what once was thought to be incalculable. In an increasing globalised and unsettled political environment with pressures on governments and organisations across all segments of the economy to ensure sustainability and social accountability, new modes of governance and financial information are needed. As we move forward, to ensure good CSR, social equity, accountability and sustainability for future generations, greater emphasis on the terms on which business behaviour is based is needed. Attention should also be given to the creation of more inclusive and equitable markets. Organisations across all segments of the economy need to pay more attention to managing their governance and partnership relations, including greater stakeholder participation in a bottom up accountability/audit process. There is also a need to extended work on corporate reporting/disclosure to embrace partnerships and emerging standards for reporting. Likewise, with increasing globalisation, consideration needs to be given to the development of new modes of governance such as co-production, co-operation and the building in of common codes and shared values into the social accounting and CSR system. As the chapters in this book demonstrate, accounting plays a wide-ranging and complex role within organisations. It is more than just a set of calculative technologies and practices, but rather is central to the social accountability and governance of organisations regardless of which sector these organisations are placed in. Understood in these terms, the scope for extending and developing the possibilities of accounting in a social world remain open for further exploration. As accounting continues to gain in importance in so many spheres of social life, an understanding of the conditions and consequences of calculative technologies is vital.