Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to critically examine the imagery of flexible work arrangements in professional accounting employment, as presented in the Australian professional accounting journals from 2004‐2007. Design/methodology/approach – The approach takes the form of a critical analysis of discourse in articles in professional accounting journals. Findings – While talk of “balance” and “flexibility” is widespread in the professional accounting journals in Australia, accountancy is portrayed as an environment dominated by a “work hard, play hard” culture. Flexible work arrangements are presented as acceptable work practices when they provide a means of facilitating this culture, rather than as an alternative method of working. Research limitations/implications – The Australian accounting professional bodies continue to actively portray the long hours culture of professional work (and play) as the foundation of success, despite widespread concern about, first, the long‐term implications of such a lifestyle for employees’ personal wellbeing and, second, the lack of appeal of such working conditions for both existing and potential employees. Practical implications – Despite the rhetoric of the need for flexible work practices to attract/retain accounting talent, accountants may find that there is limited support within the profession to facilitate career development while utilising such arrangements as part‐time work. Originality/value – The imagery of the contemporary accounting work environment as presented in the professional journals has not been examined in the accounting literature. As these journals are a primary means by which the profession communicates with its members, they present a good basis for examining how the accounting profession wishes itself to be perceived.
Pacific Accounting Review – Emerald Publishing
Published: Jul 18, 2008
Keywords: Accountancy; Flexible working hours; Gender; Australia