New research on accounting professionalisation in China receives LUSEM 2021 thesis prize
“Important contributions include insights into potential strategies that developing countries may deploy to meet the proliferating regulations formulated and enforced by international organisations.” This is how Wenjun Wen’s thesis is described by the Research Education Council at LUSEM in their motivation for why he is commended with the annual LUSEM thesis prize.
Scroll down on this page, for a video where Wenjun introduces his research
The thesis “Rethinking Accounting Professionalisation in China” provides an in-depth study of the development of the public accounting profession in China since the ‘Reform and opening-up’ in 1978.
“Specifically, my thesis demonstrates that, through interactions, key domestic and international actors collectively construct an evolving consensus on the institutional arrangements that are central to two key aspects of accounting professionalisation in China. The two aspects are the organisation of the professional domain and the practice of professionals within the professional domain,” says business administration researcher Wenjun Wen.
Complicated professionalisation process
In his doctoral thesis “Rethinking Accounting Professionalisation in China: A Study of the Development of the Chinese Public Accounting Profession since the “Reform and Opening-Up”, Wenjun Wen provides new knowledge on how the process of accounting professionalisation in China is more complicated than that recognised in prior studies. This involves the ongoing interactions between the Chinese state, the Big Four accounting firms and other actors, including the Chinese Institute of Certified Public Accountants (CICPA).
“The interactions between these actors are relevant for the identity construction of individual practitioners. My thesis contributes to more nuanced theoretical representations of accounting professionalisation in China. It will also inform those involved with the development of the public accounting professions in other developing countries.”
Research on the evolution of public accounting in developing countries is part of an emerging specialisation in accounting research. Wenjun’s thesis contributes, according to the Research Education Council at LUSEM, “to this nascent tradition by providing a comprehensive account of the process of accounting professionalisation in China. The empirical referents of the thesis are previously unaccessed archive material, detailed memoirs of key individuals and a series of interviews with senior representatives of the public accounting profession in China.”
The Research Education Council further notes that Wenjun’s thesis challenges the prevailing perspective widely adopted to study the public accounting profession in China, by advancing an interaction perspective. Part of the motivation for the Prize states:
“The thesis provides more nuanced insights into the role, capacity and dynamic interplay between key domestic and international actors involved in the professionalisation process over time. The thesis enhances our understanding of the origins of new auditing practices, how they come to be accepted, and how new institutional arrangements emerge in the Chinese context. The thesis also sheds light on the viable strategies still available to developing countries to meet the challenges associated with developing an accounting profession in the globalised era.”
Comments on the prize
“The award is undoubtedly a great honour for me! I would like to thank the Research Education Council at LUSEM for giving me this award. It is a recognition of all the hard work that I have conducted during my PhD study. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank my thesis supervisors, Anne Loft, Karin Jonnergård, Christopher Humphrey and Amanda Sonnerfeldt for their invaluable guidance and unflagging support throughout my PhD journey.”
– Wenjun Wen comments when reached with the news of the award.
“It is a real joy to see Wenjun being awarded the LUSEM thesis prize. Wenjun’s thesis provides a fascinating insight into the developing nature of accounting professionalism in China, especially in terms of his unravelling of a relationship between the accounting profession and government that is far more complex and multifaceted than previously asserted. This study was made possible through research funding granted to Anne Loft by Ragnar Söderbergs stiftelse. Wenjun’s commitment to his work and intellectual development is very impressive. The award is a good way of recognising the scale of his development and the support provided to him by the academic environment at Lund. Collectively, they serve to give William a wonderful basis on which to develop his academic career and we wish him all the best in pursuing this.”
– Supervisors Chris Humphrey and Amanda Sonnerfeldt.
“Congratulations, Wenjun! Also, congratulations to the supervisors and the Department of Business Administration. This is something to be proud of and something that makes visible the important work that PhD students do.”
– Maria Stanfors, Deputy Dean of LUSEM.
The prize money consists of SEK 25,000. The award will be recognized during a small ceremony in mid-June 2022.