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date: 15 December 2017

Abstract and Keywords

This article discusses the evolving relationship between accounting and finance, and how this shapes organizational life. It begins with a brief history of financial accounting, followed by an analysis of the rise and transformation of business finance. These two paths of development of accounting and finance intersect in many different ways; the third section discusses a particularly significant recent example of this, namely the fair value accounting debate. The fourth section reflects on the configurations of accounting and finance expertise at the levels of academic discipline and profession, and how this has varied both across time and across different national jurisdictions. The fifth section addresses the complex relationship between accounting and economics and draws on key themes in the sociology of accounting to suggest that accounting is mobilized to operationalize economic concepts and is implicated in the construction of entities and individuals as economic actors. This constructivist analysis sets the stage for the final section, which compares social studies of accounting with analyses from the emerging field of social studies of finance.

Keywords: financial accounting, business finance, organizational life, fair value accounting, sociology, social studies

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