Accounting permeates all of society. Accounting information is not homogenous and varies not just from company to company but from user to user, meaning that the use of such accounting information is actually a social phenomenon within an organization. Accounting cannot therefore be understood simply in terms of its functional properties but more as a socially constructed set of actions taking place within the organization, the landscape of which is constantly transforming. Digital technologies in the form of big data and artificial intelligence (AI) are expanding the organization’s data eco-system forcing the accountant to develop their digital technology skillset and forge links with the data scientist, the incumbent custodian of these growing data streams. Meanwhile, a rapidly expanding sustainability agenda is broadening the organization’s biophysical landscape leading to even more data flows and creating the need for management accounting and control systems which will help organizations to behave in an environmentally sustainable and socially responsible manner. This chapter explores each of these issues and calls for a deeper understanding of the relationship between accounting and big data, AI and sustainability.
Part of the book: Accounting and Finance Innovations