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No accounting for risk

Ciancanelli, P. and Coulson, A.B. and Thomson, I. (2001) No accounting for risk. In: Third Asia Pacific Interdisciplinary Perspectives in Accounting Conference, 2001-07-15 - 2001-07-17.

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At the present time, the relation between accounting praxis and risk is not well understood. Accounting praxis does not appear to regard the risk it identifies with its activities as being different from 'objective risk' - the concept of risk found in positive financial and accounting research. Instead accounting praxis (as reflected in case studies, surveys and other empirical studies) reveal a collection of different, sometimes contradictory, conceptions and 'taken for granted' understandings of risk that are invoked and applied on an ad hoc, case by case basis. The aim of this paper is to demonstrate that the conceptual disarray in accounting for risk is both costly and unnecessary. Taking an interdisciplinary approach to risk research, the authors review developments in risk thinking at the end of the 20th Century and highlight a way forward for accounting through New Paradigm Risk (NPR). Various illustrations and case study examples are drawn upon to reflect the relevance of NPR to accounting praxis.