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Rankings are everywhere these days. Most of us are subjects of ranking systems of some sort. For instance, working in the university sector, hardly a day goes by now when I don’t come across some ranking about my university or business school in relation to competitor education institutions elsewhere. These rankings are a feature of the explosion of metrification and measurement in society, and accounting is at its very heart. Indeed, rankings are a form of accounting.

Consider a ranking mechanism that probably all of you have used, Tripadvisor. Tripadvisor is a ranking system which, based on algorisms, lists in order of ‘best ranked’ to ‘worst ranked’ things like hotels in a particular city, restaurants or summer holidays. It has become a very powerful tool, it influences the choices of many in decisions of things to do, places to go, etc. In this sense, such ranking systems very much constitute accounting information for our future decisions.

And yet, ‘we’ construct the rankings through our own inputs into the Tripadvisor mechanism. It is us who enter the grades for the experiences we had at a particular hotel, restaurant, holiday, etc. Through the algorithms, and taking all inputted grades into account (over time, and continuously), the rankings are created. This is modern-day constructed accounting at its most subtle!