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Accounting in all societies is predominantly grounded in a focus on the economics of transactions; it visualises and legitimates financial success or failure. The economics values underpinning accounting practices is never really questioned, at least not so much in commercial business. Over time, organisations, groups and individuals have benefitted significantly from the accounting we know and understand. Using accounting tools, many have earned significant economic returns (e.g., business profits, shareholdings). However, there can be repercussions, adverse consequences, from a generally unquestioned approach which sees accounting as a means through which to achieve the economic ends targeted. Indeed, there are many also who suffer greatly as a result of the approach which gives priority to making economic gains. These are the invisibles in today’s society.

For instance, while many people in the developed and globalised world regularly enjoy the spoils of economic maturity – e.g., watching TV, eating a variety of foods, wearing fashionable clothes – there are others in lesser developed nations who toil in ‘sweat factories’ to produce these spoils at low cost and, importantly, for very little wage in return. We only have to think about rising levels of homelessness across the world, and modern-day human slavery to realise again that the way we account for ‘success’ in our societies clearly doesn’t touch everyone’s lives.

The question must be: do we need to account differently in our societies? Do we need a wider visibility than we have? For instance, should our mainstream accounting be more in tune with accounting for the social wellbeing of the many, and/or accounting for the environment which human beings inhabit? Do we really account for things in appropriate ways that is fair to everyone, or is the indisputable bias on economic values a big enough problem for us to need to tackle it now, and, how?