Through a critique of existing financial theory underlying current accounting practices, and reapplication of this theory to a broad group of stakeholders, this paper lays a normative foundation for a revised perspective on the responsibility of the public accounting profession. Specifically, we argue that the profession should embrace the development of standards for reporting information important to a broader group of stakeholders than just investors and creditors. The FASB has recently moved in the opposite direction. Nonetheless, an institution around accounting for stakeholders continues to grow, backed by a groundswell of support from many sources. Based on institutional theory, we predict that this institution and the forces supporting it will cause changes in the public accounting, building from the premise that a primary responsibility of accounting is to provide information to address the risk management needs of stakeholders.

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Copyright © 2015 Wiley. Article first published online: June 2015.

DOI: 10.1111/joms.12141.

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Full Citation:

Harrison, Jeffrey S. and Joyce van der Laan Smith. “Responsible Accounting for Stakeholders.” Journal of Management Studies 52, no. 7 (November 2015): 935-960.