Globalisation and Regionalisation of Accounting Firms and Their Sustainability Services
International Marketing Review, Vol. 26, Nos. 4/5, pp. 396-410
29 Pages Posted: 2 Jul 2009 Last revised: 2 Jun 2014
Date Written: June 30, 2009
The debate about global integration (standardisation) versus responsiveness (adaptation) has recently been supplemented with perspectives that emphasise regionalisation. And while the discussion has also been extended from manufacturing to services, there are specific sectors and emergent topics that have not yet received much attention. This paper explores how accounting firms (Big Four) and particularly their sustainability services fit in the globalisation/regionalisation/localisation spectrum, and appear to standardise or adapt in main countries in the various regions around the world. Examined are the Big Four accounting firms in general, and their sustainability services in fifteen countries in five regions and globally, as presented on their respective websites. Findings show that, while overall the Big Four are somewhere between globalisation and bi-regionalisation, the traditional independent member firm structure appears to prevail in service offerings, as sustainability services do not exhibit standardisation and there are hardly signs of regionalisation/globalisation. This seems to result from special characteristics of services, such as inseparability of production and consumption, and local requirements regarding sustainability.
Keywords: globalisation, regionalisation, standardisation-adaptation debate, big Four accounting firms, corporate social responsibility, sustainability
JEL Classification: D21, F23, G38, H79, K32, L1, L2, L84, M14, M41
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation
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By Ans Kolk