To speak or not to speak the language of numbers: accounting as ventriloquism

Fauré, Bertrand and Cooren, François and Matte, Frédérik,(2019), To speak or not to speak the language of numbers: accounting as ventriloquism. , Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, UNSPECIFIED

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Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to extend the literature on accounting’s performativity by developing a ventriloquial perspective that directs the attention to the reciprocity between the accounting signs and the accountants: they both do things by making each other speak. This oscillation explains where accounting number’s authority, materiality and resistance come from. Design/methodology/approach – In order to show the relevance of this approach, the authors examine various ways numbers manage to speak or do things in the context of video-recorded conversations taken from fieldwork completed with Médecins sans frontières (also known as Doctors without Borders) in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Findings – The analyses show how this ventriloquial perspective can inform the way the authors interpret what happens: when numbers do not say the same thing; when numbers are competing with other figures; and when numbers backfire on their own promoters. Research limitations/implications – Even if some of the numbers studied are sometimes far from accounting per se, it shows how the absence or presence of accounting can make a difference. Practical implications – The authors then discuss the implications of this research for accounting social innovation through accounting inscriptions. Social implications – This perspective helps to understand that numbers can give great power, but that everything cannot be told with numbers. This is why making numbers speak is a great talent. Originality/value – This refreshing perspective on accounting could be extended to other fields such as auditing and auditing
Keywords : s Communication, Accounting, Social innovation, Performativity, Numbers, Ventriloquism, UNSPECIFIED
Journal or Publication Title: Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal
Volume: 32
Number: 1
Item Type: Article
Subjects: Akuntansi
Depositing User: Eriana Ringgowati
Date Deposited: 16 Dec 2019 05:11
Last Modified: 16 Dec 2019 05:46

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