The Public Interest Accounting Group

The Public Interest Accounting Group focuses on the environmental, ethical, professional and social aspects of accounting practice. Our purpose is to conduct research on accounting topics that have public interest and policy-making implications as well as to disseminate the results of this research to policy-makers, accounting practitioners and members of the public. We do this by undertaking policy-relevant research, working with graduate students, collaborating with colleagues at other universities, organizing conferences, and liaising with accounting practitioners and the professional accounting community.

PIAG Events

No events found.


The Next Frontier in Social Impact Measurement Isn’t Measurement at All

Why we need skilled analysts to improve social capital markets.

By Kate Ruff & Sara Olsen
May. 10, 2016

If we want social capital markets to fund the social sector effectively, we need to use social impact data effectively when making investment decisions. And investment decision-making almost always requires that we compare social impact data across locations, programs, or organizations. This is difficult, because contexts, missions, definitions, measurement approaches, and values differ. It’s always apples to oranges, and this “comparison problem” not only affects good decision-making, but also our ability to report on impact at the investment portfolio level. Excerpted from: Stanford Social Innovation Review 

Student News

Greg Saxton successfully defended his thesis entitled ‘CSR, Big Data and Accounting: firms’ use of social media for csr-focused reporting, accountability and reputation gain’ on July 18, 2016.

Recent Publications

Twittering change: The institutional work of domain change in accounting expertise

by Roy Suddaby, Greg Saxton & Sally Gunz in Accounting, Organizations and Society (2015)

This paper develops an endogenous model of institutional and professional domain change. Traditional accounts of domain change focus attention on how professional expertise is extended to new areas of practice. This form of domain extension is typically both deliberate and contested. However, domain change can also occur in a somewhat quotidian and uncontested fashion when professional expertise is extended intra-organizationally. We analyze the ways in which the domain of accounting expertise is reconstituted in new social media – Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter – in Big 4 accounting firms. Using content analysis and interview data we show how social media professionals, in pursuing their own professional project, generate change in the professional domain of accountancy. Our analysis demonstrates that the institutional work of domain change occurs through three related activities: boundary work, rhetorical work and the construction of the embedded actor.

Link is:

Call for Papers

2017 Critical Perspectives on Accounting Conference

Université Laval, Québec City, Canada

Main conference: July 3-5, 2017

Emerging Scholars Colloquium: July 2, 2017

Deadline for submission of full papers (main conference and ESC): January 31, 2017

The Critical Perspectives on Accounting Conference brings together accounting faculty, doctoral students and researchers from other disciplines who are interested in critical accounting research. The Conference is held every three years. It aims to build and consolidate the network of active supporters of critical accounting scholarship. The Conference also seeks to encourage critical reflexivity on the development of accounting prescriptions and the practice of accounting in a world facing a multitude of challenges. Further, the Conference aims to generate substantive conversations on how accounting might be improved in the hope of constructing a better and fairer world.

Learn more


Dean Neu PhD CA
Professor of Accounting
Schulich School of Business, York University