Technology-based accounting innovations: implications for accountants and organisations
thesisposted on 29.03.2022, 03:25 authored by Antonio Elinon
Purpose: Technology-based accounting innovation (TBAI) is an important enabler for many organisations who need to transform their accounting functions. Generally, adoptions of accounting innovations have been low and TBAI in particular has focused on Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) but has had limited applicability. Many accounting innovations and TBAI studies focus on relationships with accounting as 'supplier' and elsewhere in business as 'consumer' of innovation, but there is insufficient focus on 'supply-side', insufficient focus on adoption within the accounting functions, and still a need for more process studies to explain the continuous relationships. Furthermore, TBAI have effects as shown by findings in the extant literature, but they do not necessarily consider the effects for and within accounting functions. Using actor-network theory as a lens, this thesis investigates how TBAIs emerge and stabilise within accounting functions and consequently what effects they have for and within the accounting functions. Design/methodology/approach: Using an ethnographic research method, this thesis investigates a case study of a large multi-national Australian financial company. Organisational actors were followed for a period of up to four years to gather evidence of how accountants adopt technologybased accounting innovations. Findings: The pattern of adoption observed in the case study suggests that accounting functions are not homogeneous and total buy-in is required within the heterogeneous community. Consequently accounting and IT relationships are critical and there is a need to overcome functional silos to achieve innovation adoption. However, the process of innovation adoption is not linear where build and acceptance is implied as in Diffusion of Innovation (DOI) or Technology Acceptance Model (TAM), but is a process of translation where adoption is progressive and precarious. Once adopted, TBAI leads to financial function benefits from the strengthening of inscriptions and appearance of new inscriptions. Interestingly, TBAI also leads to unintended consequences in terms of changing of existing centre-periphery relations (empowerment) and creation of new centre-periphery relations (regionalisation). Practical implications: Based on the findings, it is possible to help organisations deliver TBAI within accounting functions by focusing on important relationships such as accounting and IT partnerships; by understanding the continuity and precariousness of the adoption process; and by understanding the effects of TBAI adoption via the emergences of new objects. Originality?value:This thesis provides useful 'early in the piece' insights for organisations wishing to embark on creating technology-based accounting innovations for and within accounting functions.