Globalisation/regionalisation of accounting firms and their sustainability services

Ans Kolk, Andreea Margineantu, Stanley J. Paliwoda
2009 International Marketing Review  
Purpose -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
more » ... n spectrum, and appear to standardise or adapt in main countries in the various regions around the world. Design/methodology/approach -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 -While overall the Big Four are somewhere between globalisation and biregionalisation, 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. Research limitations/applications -This exploratory study can be a starting point for further in-depth analyses into sustainability and/or services sector(s), and the way in which they figure in current realities of international business. 3 Practical implications -The paper gives insight into the variety of sustainability services around the world, as well as the way in which the accounting firms have dealt with global issues that also have local dimensions. Originality/value -The paper sheds light on a topic in a sector so far unexplored in the globalisation/regionalisation debate, bringing new dimensions and perspectives to it.
doi:10.1108/02651330910971959 fatcat:qluw7wywwbdlfdqg5iipfunl24