Deprivation, social class and social mobility at Big Four and non-Big Four firms

Catriona Paisey*, Nick Paisey, Heather Tarbert, Betty (H.T.) Wu

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

74 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Using the work of Bourdieu and Savage, this paper investigates social class and social mobility among chartered accountants who qualified with The Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland in 2009. We find that these accountants tend to come from privileged backgrounds and that those who qualified with Big Four firms possess more economic, social and cultural capital than those who qualify with other firms. Our study provides fresh insights into how elements of social class interact with social background. In contrast with the prevailing view that there is limited social mobility in the accountancy profession, we find some evidence of social mobility, suggesting that current debates are based on contestable assumptions. We also find that chartered accountants from more deprived backgrounds as indicated by childhood postcode often have a father who has a professional or managerial occupation, so are not deprived on all measures. Where those from more deprived backgrounds accessed chartered accountancy careers, this was at the expense of people whose parents held lower rather than higher professional or managerial jobs. This suggests that the most advantaged maintain access to chartered accountancy but those from more middling professional homes are displaced when those from more deprived backgrounds gain access.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages49
JournalAccounting and Business Research
Early online date23 Aug 2019
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 23 Aug 2019

Keywords

  • Social mobility
  • Social class
  • Big 4
  • Accountancy profession

Cite this

@article{4fa1da2129324cc08a9cd1c6d88e8e86,
title = "Deprivation, social class and social mobility at Big Four and non-Big Four firms",
abstract = "Using the work of Bourdieu and Savage, this paper investigates social class and social mobility among chartered accountants who qualified with The Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland in 2009. We find that these accountants tend to come from privileged backgrounds and that those who qualified with Big Four firms possess more economic, social and cultural capital than those who qualify with other firms. Our study provides fresh insights into how elements of social class interact with social background. In contrast with the prevailing view that there is limited social mobility in the accountancy profession, we find some evidence of social mobility, suggesting that current debates are based on contestable assumptions. We also find that chartered accountants from more deprived backgrounds as indicated by childhood postcode often have a father who has a professional or managerial occupation, so are not deprived on all measures. Where those from more deprived backgrounds accessed chartered accountancy careers, this was at the expense of people whose parents held lower rather than higher professional or managerial jobs. This suggests that the most advantaged maintain access to chartered accountancy but those from more middling professional homes are displaced when those from more deprived backgrounds gain access.",
keywords = "Social mobility, Social class, Big 4, Accountancy profession",
author = "Catriona Paisey and Nick Paisey and Heather Tarbert and Wu, {Betty (H.T.)}",
year = "2019",
month = "8",
day = "23",
doi = "10.1080/00014788.2019.1647127",
language = "English",
journal = "Accounting and Business Research",
issn = "0001-4788",
publisher = "Taylor & Francis",

}

Deprivation, social class and social mobility at Big Four and non-Big Four firms. / Paisey, Catriona; Paisey, Nick; Tarbert, Heather; Wu, Betty (H.T.).

In: Accounting and Business Research, 23.08.2019.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

TY - JOUR

T1 - Deprivation, social class and social mobility at Big Four and non-Big Four firms

AU - Paisey, Catriona

AU - Paisey, Nick

AU - Tarbert, Heather

AU - Wu, Betty (H.T.)

PY - 2019/8/23

Y1 - 2019/8/23

N2 - Using the work of Bourdieu and Savage, this paper investigates social class and social mobility among chartered accountants who qualified with The Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland in 2009. We find that these accountants tend to come from privileged backgrounds and that those who qualified with Big Four firms possess more economic, social and cultural capital than those who qualify with other firms. Our study provides fresh insights into how elements of social class interact with social background. In contrast with the prevailing view that there is limited social mobility in the accountancy profession, we find some evidence of social mobility, suggesting that current debates are based on contestable assumptions. We also find that chartered accountants from more deprived backgrounds as indicated by childhood postcode often have a father who has a professional or managerial occupation, so are not deprived on all measures. Where those from more deprived backgrounds accessed chartered accountancy careers, this was at the expense of people whose parents held lower rather than higher professional or managerial jobs. This suggests that the most advantaged maintain access to chartered accountancy but those from more middling professional homes are displaced when those from more deprived backgrounds gain access.

AB - Using the work of Bourdieu and Savage, this paper investigates social class and social mobility among chartered accountants who qualified with The Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland in 2009. We find that these accountants tend to come from privileged backgrounds and that those who qualified with Big Four firms possess more economic, social and cultural capital than those who qualify with other firms. Our study provides fresh insights into how elements of social class interact with social background. In contrast with the prevailing view that there is limited social mobility in the accountancy profession, we find some evidence of social mobility, suggesting that current debates are based on contestable assumptions. We also find that chartered accountants from more deprived backgrounds as indicated by childhood postcode often have a father who has a professional or managerial occupation, so are not deprived on all measures. Where those from more deprived backgrounds accessed chartered accountancy careers, this was at the expense of people whose parents held lower rather than higher professional or managerial jobs. This suggests that the most advantaged maintain access to chartered accountancy but those from more middling professional homes are displaced when those from more deprived backgrounds gain access.

KW - Social mobility

KW - Social class

KW - Big 4

KW - Accountancy profession

U2 - 10.1080/00014788.2019.1647127

DO - 10.1080/00014788.2019.1647127

M3 - Article

JO - Accounting and Business Research

JF - Accounting and Business Research

SN - 0001-4788

ER -