Facilitating accountability in corporate sustainability reporting through Spotlight Accounting

Publication Name

Accounting, Auditing and Accountability Journal


Purpose: It is difficult for corporate sustainability reporting (CSR) to provide accountability to stakeholders. This paper assesses whether accountability-based CSR systems can be created through the application of Spotlight Accounting and WikiRate as a hybrid forum. Design/methodology/approach: The current paper explores the utility of Spotlight Accounting for CSR through assessing its application to a hybrid forum, WikiRate. This process involved engaging student researchers to collect CSR data from the United Nations Global Compact's (UNGC) corporate action group (CAG) and recording this information into the WikiRate platform. Aggregate analysis was conducted to assess the limitations and challenges of the data to inform decision-making. Findings: Spotlight Accounting exposes challenges within traditional applications of CSR. These challenges impact comparability, decision usefulness and accountability of CSR data for stakeholders. Practical implications: This paper provides recommendations to enhance the accessibility and relevance of company information to assist in the provision of Spotlight Accounting. In doing so, it highlights the usefulness of CSR to leverage greater accountability between corporations and society. Originality/value: This paper applies the emerging practices of Spotlight Accounting and presents it as an alternative way to research and conceptualise external accounts, reporting and accountability. This form of accounting has the potential to enhance communications and partnerships between companies and society as well as challenge dominate power dynamics held by corporations.

Open Access Status

This publication is not available as open access





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Funding Sponsor

Horizon 2020



Link to publisher version (DOI)