Forensic accounting, management control and governance
Fraud and financial crime is a growing problem with the potential to cause great financial, personal and professional pain. Modern organisations need to understand how such crime affects their business and employees – and what is required to stop it.
New technologies are also shifting the expectations of employees, government, customers and other stakeholders, and organisations have to know how best to manage themselves, and respond to fast-changing environments.
Good governance is also more important than ever, and businesses today have obligations beyond their financial statements. It's vital that companies understand how best to disclose their activities, so they can produce outcomes that are not only profitable but beneficial to society and the environment.
Our research in Forensic Accounting, Management Control and Governance deals with all these issues and challenges – and delivers evidence-based insights that are helping organisations and individuals to make better decisions for their stakeholders.
For example, we're studying the factors – such as board composition and reporting – that contribute to excellence in company financial and social welfare performance, helping omni-channel retailers to better understand the cost of returns, and examining how effective corporate governance benefits organisations.
We're also investigating how artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning in traceability and assurance systems could impact industry and accounting practice, conducting linguistic analysis of company reports and other documents to reveal indicators of fraudulent activity, and exploring how small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) can protect themselves against fraud.
Our research covers the following key topics
- Performance measurement in agri-food systems
- Budgetary and other management control systems in organisations
- Understanding supply chains and their accounting
- Lean accounting and management systems
- Social theory-based interpretative studies of accounting in organisations and industries
- Food safety management systems
- Evidence of fraud and regulatory violations
- How SMEs protect themselves against fraud
- Food fraud
- Social, environmental and corporate governance disclosures and firm value
We use a variety of quantitative and qualitative methods in our research – from archival analysis, regressions and structural equation models, to interviews, focus groups and observation.
Partners and funders
Recent project partners and funders include ECR Retail Loss, the Wine and Spirits Trade Association, the Institute of Chartered Management Accountants (CIMA) and the Centre for Counter Fraud Studies.
Projects and publications
The outputs of our research are frequently published by leading academic journals in the field, such as Accounting, Organizations and Society, the Accounting, Auditing and Accountability Journal, Critical Perspectives on Accounting, the Journal of Accounting in Emerging Economies, and the Journal of Accounting and Public Policy.
- Fraud Indicators: Winning the War against Food Fraud with STFC Data Science (Co-Applicant: Lisa Jack) – This project brought together STFC data science experts, a commercial partner (Fera Science) and academics to explore the applications of data analytics in food fraud and its indicators.
- An Economic Model for the Cost of Food Crime Phase 1 (PI: Lisa Jack) – The team conducted a comprehensive review of existing methods and techniques for evaluating the economic impact of food crime to the UK economy.
- The Cost of Food Crime Phase 2 (PI: Lisa Jack) – We're developing the conceptual framework for the cost of food crime model presented in Phase 1 of this project into a functioning model and database. This will allow the Food Standards Agency to capture the full range of impacts that food crime has on the UK economy.
- Creating a Total Cost of Returns Model for Food Waste in Retail Stores (PI: Lisa Jack) – In this pilot project, we're working with ECR Retail Loss Group to map the entry and exit routes for food waste in major retailers in UK, Ireland and Europe.
- Prevalence food fraud and resilience strategies of UK food supply chain during COVID-19 (Co-Applicant: Lisa Jack) – This project is funded by a BA -Leverhulme Small Grants award and is led by Dr Jan Mei Soon of the University of Central Lancashire. This project aims to assess the prevalence of food fraud in UK food supply chains and identify the resilience strategies adopted by UK food supply chain during Covid-19.
- Efficacy of Recalls and Withdrawals: Evaluation (Co-Applicant: Lisa Jack) – An evaluation of the guidelines and tools launched by the Food Standards Agency (FSA) and Food Standards Scotland (FSS) in 2019, designed to address systemic shortcomings and increase legislative compliance among food business organisations (FBOs).
Alli, R., Nicolaides, R., and Craig, R. (2018). Accounting Forum, pages 78–85, volume 42, issue 1.
Frei, R., Jack, L., and Krzyzaniak, S-A. C. (2020). Business Strategy and the Environment.
Li, X., and Soobaroyen, T. (2020). Critical Perspectives On Accounting, volume 74.
Zamana, R., Atawnaha, N., Baghdadi, G. A., and Liu, J. (2021). Journal of Corporate Finance, volume 70.
Zhang, D., Zhang, Z., Ji, Q., Lucey, B., and Liu, J. (2021). Journal of International Financial Markets, Institutions and Money, volume 72.
Discover our areas of expertise
We're investigating the behaviours, actions and responses of providers and users of accounting information, to improve standards across the industry.
We're studying the history of the accounting profession, and exploring how past generations faced down the major financial challenges of their time.
Interested in a PhD in Accounting?
Browse our postgraduate research degrees – including PhDs and MPhils – at our Accounting postgraduate research degrees page.