Beyond accountants as technocrats: a common good perspective

Sandrine Frémeaux, Francois-Regis Puyou, Grant Michelson

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    25 Citations (Scopus)


    In a context characterised by the scientification of accounting practices and standards, an important question to pose is how might accounting professionals be released from an excessive focus on rationality (technical accuracy, technical neutrality and technical abstraction) and reclaim the profession in the public interest? Grounded in a person-oriented approach, we contend the common good principle can help accountants to mitigate the tyranny of economic rationality/homo economicus notably through greater consideration of public interest, thereby enabling them to exercise stronger ethical judgement. First, the common good can serve as a basis for the establishment of an ethical protocol based on the search for embedded community goods, human development and the personal good of each member. Second, the common good provides specific ethical principles including subsidiarity, totality, teleological hierarchy, long-term commitment, reality and unity that can better assist accounting professionals to exercise ethical judgement and therefore contribute to the public interest. In contrast to defending a strict adherence to ethical rules enshrined in professional codes of conduct, this article argues for an open ended protocol inspired by the common good principle. This will, we contend, better promote the re-contextualisation of accounting practices conducted by reflexive, sentient and publically-conscious practitioners.
    Original languageEnglish
    Article number102054
    Number of pages14
    JournalCritical Perspectives on Accounting
    Early online date29 Jul 2018
    Publication statusPublished - 25 Mar 2020


    • Common good
    • Catholic social teaching
    • Public interest
    • Scientification


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