Roles of Accounting for the Contested Terrain of Social Enterprises

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


Social enterprises are organisations that employ commercial strategies to deliver societal impact, rather than shareholder value, and may play an important role in the transition to a more socially sustainable society. However, social entrepreneurship has become a contested terrain due to its ambiguous identity and ideology. This study maintains that accounting plays a role in the development of social enterprises due to its ability to shape the domain of economic operation. Using interview data obtained from the key actors in Finland, this study identifies and analyses perceptions of the roles of accounting for social enterprises. Overall, the study highlights the ambiguities related to accounting for social enterprises and draws attention to the plural roles of accounting. It encourages opening up the processes of defining the principles and tools for accounting for social enterprises, arguing that such decisions may have broader organisational and societal implications.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)150-171
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2021
Publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Publication forum classification

  • Publication forum level 1

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Accounting


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