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Accounting and Business Research

For a Special Issue on

Accounting professionals in times of heightened uncertainty: Understanding implications for practice, governance, and professionalism

Manuscript deadline
31 August 2025

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Special Issue Editor(s)

Omiros Georgiou, University of Birmingham
[email protected]

Ioana Lupu, ESSEC Business School
[email protected]

Betrand Malsch, Queen's University
[email protected]

Anna Samsonova-TAddei, HEC Montreal
[email protected]

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Accounting professionals in times of heightened uncertainty: Understanding implications for practice, governance, and professionalism

Although accounting professionals have been well accustomed to the uncertainty of change and adaptation, recent years have arguably witnessed a new era of uncertainty for the profession, with varied and often compounded effects. These emanated from, among other things, the volatility of the business environment; the changing dynamics in the workplace in the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic; the rise of technological innovations such as Big Data Analytics and Artificial Intelligence, and the transforming nature of the financial reporting itself, to name a few. Such challenges and the uncertainty they generate require major adjustments on the part of the accountants, potentially creating tensions between what they previously took for granted and the new realities of practice. However, they also provide opportunities for innovation and carry significant creative potential.

The aim of this Special Issue is to enhance our understanding of the various, and often intertwined, ways in which the heightened uncertainty characteristic of the contemporary practice environment manifests itself and influences the work of professional accountants, accounting regulation, and the ongoing professional self-determination of accounting practitioners. We are interested in shedding light on the experiences of accounting practitioners from a variety of organizational contexts and backgrounds, from public practice accounting firms or enterprise accountants to practitioners working in non-governmental, non-for-profit and values-driven organisations.  We also encourage manuscripts reporting practice experience of practitioners working within or for small organization settings.

The Special Issue provides an opportunity to engage in the debate about the principal challenges faced by the practitioners; how they may enhance or potentially impair processes of preparation and audit of financial accounting disclosures; how they may change the power dynamics between accountants and others involved in such processes; and how they may have consequences for the role that accounting and auditing can play, more generally. We invite manuscripts that focus on the above and other related issues and topics, which may include some of the following:


  • The effects of digitalization on practice. On the one hand, the explosion in the development and exploitation of various information processing technologies, such as Big Data Analytics, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Leaning, has served to reduce the uncertainty associated with some aspects of the financial reporting and audit process, such as, for example, through auditors’ enhanced capacity to test and analyse entire populations of client companies’ transactions (Salijeni et al., 2019; 2021). On the other hand, however, some innovations have brought with them a plethora of dilemmas, issues and concerns potentially having highly transformational consequences. We invite submissions engaging with these and related issues.


  • Re-configuring the workplace for post-Covid 19 realities. The transformation of the work landscape in the aftermath of the pandemic, driven by technological advancements like digitalization and artificial intelligence, and the widespread use of hybrid work has not only altered professional roles, but also introduced novel challenges in managing and accounting for work processes. As new monitoring practices are implemented in audit firms (Delfino & van der Kolk, 2021), they could strengthen the focus on the number of hours worked and presenteeism, potentially eroding autonomy and well-being (Lupu & Rokka, 2021). This could be especially taxing for women who confront additional domestic burdens (Ghio et al., 2023). We therefore invite papers that investigate topics such as the evolution of control and accountability practices and their consequences for accounting professionals’ well-being, diversity and performance; workers’ experiences of control and accountability in turbulent times and in crises; and new forms of control including algorithmic control and their impact on workers and managers, among many others.


  • Changes in accounting regulation and governance. The practice and regulation of financial accounting have faced a profound shift in recent years resulting largely from a re-configuration of expectations from users and from society at large. This shift has given rise to significant changes to practices and regulation, and to the engagement with alternative ideas and innovative technologies. Financial accounting practitioners and regulators are thus confronted with challenges never encountered before and with potentialities never imagined. Some examples of pertinent research questions include the following:
    • What challenges do financial accounting practitioners and regulators face with new forms of reporting such as those for sustainability?
    • How are Statements of Recommended Practice (SORPs) designed and operationalised?
    • What new forms of calculation / valuation practices are emerging?
    • How have standard-setting agendas been recently transformed?
    • How are particular ideas and values embraced, problematised, or ignored (see e.g., Baudot and Cooper, 2022; Georgiou et al., 2021)?
    • How are external experts being engaged?
    • How are new forms of technology, including AI, impacting financial accounting practice?
    • How has financial accounting practice been affected by economic uncertainty, especially in the aftermath of Covid 19?
    • How are new demands for diversity considered in financial accounting practice and regulation?


  • Auditing and its social value. Auditing and uncertainty have always gone hand-in-hand. One could argue that it has been the auditors’ “modus operandi”. The fact that auditors make decisions, reach judgements and, ultimately, opine on their clients’ financial statements - all while having access to only a glimpse, a selected sample, of the client organisation’s business realities – evidently signals their high tolerance towards the conditions of incertitude. In addition to the long-standing public and regulatory concerns over low audit quality, the audit profession arguably faces a new type of, potentially even existential, crisis. This is resulting from developments such as the rising information processing technologies which threaten to not only replace aspects of audit work, but also further dilute auditors’ jurisdiction and judgement autonomy (Samiolo, Spence and Toh, 2024). We therefore invite submissions aiming to shed light on these threats and how the profession has responded to them.


  • Reporting and assurance of environmental, social, and governance (ESG) issues. Although ESG-related disclosures remain voluntary in most jurisdictions, recent developments in regulation and standard-setting have placed the promotion of such disclosures as well as enhancement of their quality as a top priority.  One example is the IASB’s project considering changes in IFRS related to climate and other uncertainties in the financial statements. Likewise, the audit standard-setters such as the IAASB updated their guidance recommending that assessment of climate risk be made part of a normal audit process. Despite these efforts to clarify the nature of practices by which ESG-related risks and opportunities should be reported and assured, research shows that companies and their auditors continue to experience challenges with fairly representing ESG-related matters (Channuntapipat et al., 2020). This SI aims to provide a space where these challenges – normative, practical or otherwise – could be further explored and understood, thereby stimulating further debate on this important topic.

The above provides a glimpse, rather than an exhaustive list, of research themes addressed by this Special Issue. Potential authors who are in doubt about the relevance of the chosen topic to the Special Issue should contact one of the editors for clarification and guidance.

Choice of research methodology

We encourage submissions utilizing qualitative research methods, including interviews, participant observations, discourse analysis, case studies, and ethnographical work. We welcome submission mobilizing original and rigorous ways of presenting and organizing their findings, which escape the traditional formatting of qualitative data into fixed and rigid categories (Guénin-Paracini et al., 2024).  We are also open to essays (Gabriel, 2016) and conceptual pieces that reflect on, and provide an in-depth critique, of the aforementioned developments in audit practice as well as offering personal perspectives and reflections with regards to how the related challenges could be addressed, both at the macro level of the national audit jurisdictions and the micro level of the audit firm environment.


Paper development workshop

An in-person workshop will be held on Mykonos, Greece on 22-23 May 2025. Authors wishing to present at the workshop should contact Anna Samsonova-Taddei ([email protected]) by January 31, 2025. Authors of selected papers from the workshop will be invited to submit revised papers for this Special Issue, subject to the journal’s normal review process.

Submission Instructions

Attendance and/or presentation at the workshop is not a pre-requisite for submission to the special issue. The closing date for submissions to this special issue is August 31, 2025.

Manuscripts should be submitted electronically via The Guest Editors welcome enquiries from those interested in submitting. All submitted papers will go through the journal’s usual review process. It is expected that this special issue will be published in 2027.

Any enquiries should be directed to Anna Samsonova-Taddei ([email protected]).

Instructions for Authors