The University of Southampton
University of Southampton Institutional Repository

Social justice in a cold climate: Could social accounting make a difference?

Ball, Amanda and Seal, William (2005) Social justice in a cold climate: Could social accounting make a difference? Accounting Forum, 29, (4), pp. 455-473. (doi:10.1016/j.accfor.2005.08.001).

Record type: Article


Building on the argument that justice should be the transcendent principle in accounting, we argue that social accounting invokes notions of community, shared social values, and fairness in the distribution of social resources. These ideas are elaborated in relation to local government, which provides a window on how communities make decisions about distributing their social resources and the accounting processes which guide these decisions. Fieldwork in two large but contrasting English local authorities suggests that the potential of social accounting is not reflected in the predominant accounting systems in local government organisations, but in more subtle and successful forms of ‘enacted social accounting’. Its utility relates to the achievement of short-term social goals where social injustices persist and accountants, managers and politicians seek to accommodate financial pressures to protect the most vulnerable members of the community. We identify local government accountants as morally responsible for the further development of social accounting which envisions a future for local government, and establishes links between social justice, environmentalism and localism.

PDF ball2005.pdf - Version of Record
Restricted to Repository staff only
Download (165kB)

More information

Published date: December 2005
Keywords: social accounting, public sector, local government, justice, fairness


Local EPrints ID: 182623
ISSN: 0155-9982
PURE UUID: 1eb5aee6-a35b-41e7-acd6-7c7f43c3653e

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 18 May 2011 14:41
Last modified: 18 Jul 2017 11:57

Export record



Author: Amanda Ball
Author: William Seal

University divisions

Download statistics

Downloads from ePrints over the past year. Other digital versions may also be available to download e.g. from the publisher's website.

View more statistics

Atom RSS 1.0 RSS 2.0

Contact ePrints Soton:

ePrints Soton supports OAI 2.0 with a base URL of

This repository has been built using EPrints software, developed at the University of Southampton, but available to everyone to use.

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you continue without changing your settings, we will assume that you are happy to receive cookies on the University of Southampton website.