Due to the schedule for vaccinations from the Covid-19, we are hoping that at least part of the annual Aston MARG/MCA conference may be ‘live’ this year, with some optional on-line activity.  

It will be held on Thursday 18th and Friday 19th November 2021 at Aston Business School, Birmingham. 

We hope to be able to network safely with other delegates and speakers.

This year, the conference theme will focus on “Management Accounting in Challenging Times".

Click here to register.

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Keynote speakers 

Each day of the conference will include plenary presentations and panel discussions. So far, the following invited speakers may be invited to present at this year’s conference:

Professor Istemi Demirag, (guest editor for AAAJ special issue)

Professor Istemi Demirag

Professor Istemi Demirag is Professor of Accounting at Tallinn University of Technology in Estonia. Previously he was a Professor of Accounting at Keele University Management School where led the Accounting Group and developed the School’s post graduate research programmes. Before joining Keele, he worked as Professor in Accounting at Hull University and Queen’s University Belfast, Management School.

He has extensive international teaching experience at postgraduate level and on executive courses.  He teaches mainly Advanced Management Accounting, International Financial Management and Public Sector Accounting courses. On executive and post- graduate courses, he teaches Financial and Management Accounting for Decision Making.

His research interests are in accountability and good governance, performance management, implementation of public policy and its unexpected consequences. More recently he has been exploring the role of accounting in controlling hybrid organisations, using political economy framework to analyse some of above key themes, using critical methodologies with the aim of understanding power related issues in strategic and management control in organisations.

Professor Demirag was an Associate Editor of The European Journal of Finance from 2000 to 2013 and was also one of the Associate Editors of Accounting Forum for almost ten years. He currently serves as an Associate Editor of Quarterly Journal of Finance and Accounting (QJFA) and on the Editorial Review Boards of Journal of Accounting, Auditing and Accountability and Journal of Budgeting, Accounting and Financial Management. He is also an ad- hoc reviewer of several leading management and accounting journals.  He initiated, organised and contributed to the European Accounting Association’s (EAA) funded research methodology seminars entitled “Early Career Academics’ Research Development Program” designed for developing research skills of accounting lecturers from the Eastern European countries.

He raised and/or contributed to research funding approximately £1 million from leading research councils including Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), ESRC, European Union, SERC, ICAS and the World Bank.

Professor Demirag published consistently at an outstanding level, some in “A” ranked international Accounting and Management  journals including: Accounting and Business Research (ABR); Journal of Business Finance and Accounting (JBFA); International Journal of Accounting (IJA); British Accounting Review (BAR); Public Administration (PA); European Journal of Finance (EJF); British Journal of Management (BJM); Journal of Management and Governance (JMG); Financial Accountability and Management (FAM); Accounting, Auditing and Accountability Journal (AAAJ); Public Money and Management (PMM); Accounting Forum (AF); Critical Perspectives on Accounting (CPA); Accounting Review (AR); Journal of International Business Studies (JIBS) and Public Management Review (PMR).  He published over one hundred refereed and professional journal articles and edited, authored and/or co-authored six books.


Leonardo Rinaldi, Royal Holloway (guest editor for AF special issue)

Leonardo Rinaldi headshot

Leonardo Rinaldi (PhD) is Senior Lecturer in Accounting at the School of Business and Management at Royal Holloway, University of London.

His interdisciplinary research uses qualitative methods to explore how accounting and accountability practices assist organisations in becoming more sustainable. His research focuses on two themes relating to accounting for sustainability research. The first is concerned with problematising existing accounting practices looking at their effectiveness in facilitating sustainability transitions. The second is concerned with the implications of calculative practices in organisational decision making and operations which have a social and/or environmental impact.

This research has included interdisciplinary studies on integrated reporting, stakeholder engagement, sustainability performance management, sustainability governance, water accounting and accountability.

Leonardo has engaged with a wide range of stakeholders for his research, which has been published in world-leading peer-reviewed interdisciplinary journals such as Accounting, Organizations and Society, Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, The British Accounting Review, Accounting Forum, Business Strategy and the Environment, and Social Environmental Accountability Journal.

His work has also been published in books edited by leading academics. Leonardo is Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and has obtained numerous honours, awards and grants, and has experience in organising interdisciplinary international conferences and workshops. He is also co-Editor (ad-hoc) of Accounting Forum and member of the editorial board of Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, Accounting Forum and Social Environmental Accountability Journal.

Professor. Dr. Jan van Helden

Janvan Helden headshot

Jan van Helden has been (and currently is emeritus) professor of management accounting at the Faculty of Economics and Business of the University of Groningen, the Netherlands. From 2001 until 2005 he also has been vice-dean of his faculty for the teaching domain.

In the 1980s he was a member of the Executive of the province of Groningen responsible for finance, personnel and organization. During the last three decades his research has focused on mana¬gement and accounting changes in public sector organizations, with a special attention to performance measurement, benchmarking and cost management. Together with Ron Hodges he published a text book in 2014: Public sector accounting and budgeting for non-specialists, Palgrave McMillan. His current research evolves around the following themes: the user perspective of public sector accounting; the identity shift of public sector accounting researchers due to the increasing importance of publication metrics; and public sector accounting research in emerging economies.

His research has been published in a wide variety of accounting, public management and public sector accounting journals. He also co-edited several special issues in Critical Perspectives on Accounting, Financial Accountability and Management, Public Money and Management, and Qualitative Research in Accounting and Management, and (forthcoming) the Journal of Accounting in Emerging Economies.

Rick Payne

Rick Payne is a chartered accountant and former divisional CFO in financial services. Until recently he worked at the Institute of Chartered Accountants as their expert in finance transformation. In this role he helped members improve the performance of their finance teams and contribute more to business performance. He has researched, written and presented extensively on the role of the finance function, finance business partnering, business performance management, the CFO and strategy and the impact of new technologies. Rick has been involved in a number of academic conferences as speaker, panellist,  panel chair and promoter with the occasional contribution to academic publications. He  is also a qualified trainer and coach and has an MSc in Organisational Behaviour.

Professor John Cullen

Prof John Cullen

Professor Cullen is an Emeritus Professor of Management Accounting at Sheffield University Management School. Prior to joining academia, he spent 10 years working in industry including senior roles as both a Financial Controller and a Commercial Manager in large manufacturing businesses. During his time in academia he has published his research in many of the leading accounting journals (e.g. AOS, MAR, AAAJ, AF, JAEE, QROM) as well as publishing in numerous journals from other disciplinary areas given his specific research expertise in supply chain accounting. Collaboratively with colleagues, he has been awarded just under £1million worth of research and knowledge transfer grants as well as being a key University of Sheffield investigator in HEFCE regional development grants worth £4.1 million to support employer engagement and executive type management development courses. He has been the lead academic for two REF Impact Case Studies (2014, 2021) and a team member for a further REF Impact Case Study (2021). He has served the wider Accounting and Finance Community through his various roles within the British Accounting and Finance Association (Vice President, 2013-2014; President, 2014-2016; Chair BAFA Trustees, 2016-2018; Chair of the Committee of Departments of Accounting and Finance, 2009-2014).


Keynote Abstracts

Prof. dr. Jan van Helden Abstract 

COVID-19 business support packages in the Netherlands; governance and accountability in times of turbulence

Jan van Helden[1], Tjerk Budding[2], Bharti Girjasing[3] and Lizette Pleyte[4]



Dutch central government launched business support packages to help deal with the COVID-19 pandemic. Our analysis focuses on the two most important arrangements, i.e., on wage supplementation and fixed cost supplementation due to income losses, covering the period March 2020-June 2021. The analysis reveals that priority was given to simple and generally applicable arrangements that could provide rapid financial support. Arrangements were designed for subsequent short periods, mostly of three to six months, in order to enable adaptations as a result of experiences and turbulence in the changing economic conditions. Adaptations are in regard to target groups, the minimum loss in sales for receiving support and the amount of support related to an income loss. Accountability to parliament focused on the applicability of arrangements for specific groups, such as season sensitive businesses The accomplishment of the ultimate goals of avoiding bankruptcies and unemployment, as well as budgetary consequences, were also addressed, but it turned out to be difficult to establish causal links between impacts achieved and available resources of the business support arrangements.



[1] Rijksuniversiteit Groningen; g.j.van.helden@rug.nl; corresponding author

[2] Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam; g.budding@vu.nl

[4] lizettepleyte@gmail.com

Dr Leonardo Rinaldi Abstract


Accounting for Pandemic two years on: insights, gaps, and an agenda for future research



The outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic has imposed several constraints and raised opportunities to imagine a new environment. Accounting academics have been involved in studying and thinking about the questions this poses for research and practice. Despite many accounting scholars have explored the responses to the pandemic crisis and provided important preliminary insights about its impact, several issues require further in-depth investigations. These include, for example, questions of interaction, construction of new spaces, implications of cognitive and temporal adjustments, and role of interpersonal influence.

As accounting research now had time to grow, this seems an opportune time to analyse and reflect upon the progression of this body of literature. A structured analysis can help identify the role and relevance of accounting scholarship in a way that might not be as clear when examining individual aspects. The purpose of the address is to reflect on the developments of accounting scholarship by reconciling insights from an understandably fragmented emerging literature. The address will provide a retrospective and prospective analysis of the themes explored in literature as investigated by accounting researchers, identify important gaps, and sketch an agenda for future research.


Dr Leonardo Rinaldi

Senior Lecturer in Accounting

School of Business and Management

Royal Holloway University of London

Professor Istemi Demirag


Accounting and Accountability in times of exceptional times: A review of themes, methods, and conclusions.


In times of exceptional circumstances and the Pandemic, the presentation will review several recently published papers in accounting journals and identify key themes and methodologies used to highlight accounting and accountability issues. The role of accounting and the accountability mechanisms used in these studies will be discussed in the context of various types of organizations; PPPs, Hybrids, NGOs, etc.  The review will be concluded by illustrating how accounting in these studies has enabled organizational partners and other stakeholders to compromise and also caused unexpected issues. Further research areas and themes will be identified and discussed. 

Professor John Cullen


Managing the costs of supply chain risks beyond the pandemic


The paper has recently been published by the authors in the Financial Management Magazine, AICPA & CIMA, September 2021 and addresses one of the themes of the conference. Building on our own supply chain research experiences, we interviewed three senior practitioners who operated in different contexts about their own experiences during the pandemic and reflected on the ways in which management accounting practices were utilised to meet the challenges of the pandemic. The paper contributes to discussions about global supply chain challenges arising during the pandemic as well as resulting changes in strategic, operational and management accounting processes. Specific reference is made to debates around just-in-time or just-in-case inventory strategies and associated warehousing implications, product ranging decisions based on the financial contribution of SKU's to profits, the use of open book accounting across networks that resulted in increased transparency across supply chains, collaborative contracting associated with open book accounting, the increase in online shopping in retail and the implications of this rise, innovations in workforce management, supply chain resilience practices and implications for management accounting practices going forward. The paper combines academic thinking with a range of experiences of the real life challenges that both organisations and supply networks faced during the global pandemic as well as planning for life beyond the pandemic.

The conference will have a mix of plenary and parallel sessions in which research in various stages of development will be presented. PhD-students and early career researchers are particularly encouraged to present their work in this setting.

Conference information 

Conference fees and booking deadline 

The in person Conference fee for all presenters and non presenters includes 2 days of proceedings, delegate pack lunches and refreshments .  
Not included in the fee: Conference dinner  and accommodation

PhD student in person presenter: One night‘s accommodation is available free of charge for one PhD student presenter per paper.

Conference dinner 18th November: Includes a drinks reception and 3 course meal £25


  • In person Full fee £125
  • In person PhD students fee £75
  • Conference dinner £25 (18th November)
  • Virtual attendees £75 

Booking deadlines

  • In-person attendees - 14th November
  • Virtual attendees - 14th November
  • We would request all presenters to register by the 24th October


Programme overview

If you are not a registered Conftool user, you can still access the full conference programme (may still be subject to minor changes) without having to set up an account by going to the Conftool log in page and clicking on the Conference programme link

Call for Papers

This year, the conference theme will focus on “Management Accounting in Challenging Times". We aim to interpret this theme broadly, and encourage submissions on, for example:

  • Management control in conditions of extreme uncertainty
  • Financial/organisational resilience and economic recovery post-pandemic
  • Management accounting for closure, re-opening and takeover decisions
  • Management accounting and supply chain management in a post-Brexit era
  • Capital structure, tax planning and treasury management
  • Green investment and SDGs performance in the current economic climate
  • Impact of economic recovery on public services and not-for-profit sector

Although papers focusing on the conference theme are preferred, contributions are invited that address any area of research, education and practice within management accounting and control. Presentations from practitioners are welcome, especially with ideas for future research 

The submission system in Conftool will be open from 18th June 2021, via the following link here.    


  • Submission of full paper or extended abstract 10th September
  • Author notification of submission status/c 27th September
  • Accepted Author booking deadline 11th October
Management Control Association Prize

In line with its aims, the Management Control Association (MCA) offers an annual prize for the best paper (judged by the organising committee) to be presented at the MARG conference at Aston, currently worth £300.

The MCA is a charity established as a network of researchers who are interested in the broad area of control in organisations. The ethos of the MCA is to develop critical insights into control processes and encourage research that recognises the organisational, personal and social contexts of control.

Conference Aston Hotel

To book accommodation on campus in the Conference Aston Hotel:

Either contact 0121 204 3011 and ask for reservations, or to book online please click here. 

Hotel check-in takes place at the Aston Business School Conference Centre reception (campus map) from 14.00hrs.
Luggage room facilities are available.  
Check-out is by 11am.

Alternatively to Conference Aston, there are many other hotel options nearby to the university’s campus; here are a few which we recommend, and their distance to the university:

You may book any of these hotels via their websites or the links above, or most of them are available to book via www.booking.com or www.hotels.com and may be cheaper via these sites.

Conference Organising Committee
  • Elaine Harris, Honorary Professor, Aston Business School and Professor of Accounting and Management, University of Roehampton
  • Salman Ahmed ,Dr, Lecturer, Accounting Department  Aston Business School
  • Melina Manochin,   Dr, Senior Lecturer, Deputy Head of the Accounting Department , Aston Business School
Panel Member
  • Professor Nicholas O'Regan ,Associate Dean - Research, Aston University 
  • Emeritus Professor John Cullen, Sheffield University
  • Professor Liz Warren, Accounting & Business Education, University of Greenwich
  • Dr Chris Ford, Accounting & Management, Lancaster University
Conference Administration
  • Maria Podsiadly, Conference and Events Manager
  • Ruqayyat Lawal, Conference  and Events Assistant

For more information, please see the MARG conference webpage here

Contact details: Marg2021@aston.ac.uk

We acknowledge with thanks funding from ICAEW, CIMA and MCA.

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