Religion and accounting texts in eighteenth century Scotland: organizational practices and a culture of accountability

Mutch, A. ORCID: 0000-0002-8054-6649, 2016. Religion and accounting texts in eighteenth century Scotland: organizational practices and a culture of accountability. Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, 29 (6), pp. 926-946. ISSN 0951-3574

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Purpose: To explore the extent to which Scottish pre-eminence in accounting texts in the eighteenth century was influenced by religion. By so doing, to add to the literature on the relationship between religion and accountability. Design/methodology/approach: An examination of religion as social practice is conducted by examining the relationship between formal, printed, sources, and the extensive archives of the Church of Scotland. A sample of five administrative units of the church is used to explore local practice in detail. Findings: Accountability was at the heart of the theology of the Church of Scotland. It shaped local practices of accountability to give what is termed ‘systemic accountability’, which featured the detailed specification of roles and the recording of transactions. Lay involvement in this system was extensive amongst the ‘middling sort’. This system formed the backdrop to the Scottish pre-eminence in accounting texts, facilitated by widespread literacy and a propensity to publish, both in turn shaped by the broader religious context. Research limitations/implications: the research is confined to Scotland and does not consider the wider impact on areas such as British North America. The value of examining religion as a relationship between belief and social practice could be extended to other belief systems, as the article only considers the Reformed Protestant tradition of Christianity. Originality/value: The value is in a detailed investigation of religion as a social practice, which has not been presented before in the context of accountability. It presents a new perspective on Scottish accomplishments in the field of accounting, accomplishments which have been of significance for the broader profession.

Item Type: Journal article
Publication Title: Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal
Creators: Mutch, A.
Publisher: Emerald
Date: 26 August 2016
Volume: 29
Number: 6
ISSN: 0951-3574
Divisions: Schools > Nottingham Business School
Record created by: Jonathan Gallacher
Date Added: 30 Aug 2016 08:54
Last Modified: 05 Oct 2017 10:38

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