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This study aims to explore how commercial and professional management instruments are combined in accounting firms.Design/methodology/approachThe authors conducted a qualitative study based on 30 semi-structured interviews with partners from 30 different accounting firms (sole practitioners to Big Four) in Germany. The study mainly draws from the literature on the management of accounting firms.FindingsThe findings of this study indicate that professional and commercial management instruments structure the use of time by accountants. In these management instruments, professional and commercial goals are interwoven by three mechanisms revealed in this study and named as ambivalence, assimilation and integration. The authors further identify the managerial aspects of professional instruments.Originality/valueThis paper offers three mechanisms that combine commercial and professional goals in the management of accounting firms. The authors thereby contribute to the literature on the management of accounting firms by analysing these mechanisms that enable the pursuit of both goals simultaneously. Further, the authors argue that the minimum organisation, defined by regulators, of accounting firms is an essential infrastructure for the commercialisation of accounting.
Journal of Accounting & Organizational Change – Emerald Publishing
Published: Apr 20, 2020
Keywords: Time; Professionalism; Management; Commercialism; Accounting firm; L2; L84
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