When being a partner means more: The external role of football club management accountants


Management Accounting Research

juin 2017, vol. 35, pp.5-19

Départements : Comptabilité et Contrôle de Gestion

Mots clés : Management accountant, External role, Business partner, Critical competences, Institutional domination, Popular culture

tThe literature on management accountants mainly discusses them in terms of how they relate to theorganisation’s internal actors. Whether considered as routine and technical ‘bookkeepers’ or as serving amore rewarding ‘business partner’ role, it is their relationship with corporate management and/or opera-tional managers that is often put under the spotlight. This paper explores the extent to which managementaccountants can play an active role in how their organisation interacts with the external environment. Theresearch is based on ethnographic immersion in the management accounting department of a French pro-fessional football club. It shows that management accountants can extend externally the business partnerrole they play within the organisation against the industry’s financial regulatory body. This external rolebrings to the fore the ‘critical competences’ (Boltanski, 2009) mobilised by management accountants tochallenge the institutional domination of the regulatory body. By influencing the rules and practices withwhich their organisation must comply, management accountants engender its possible ‘emancipation’ (Boltanski, 2009)