Accounting History and Religion: a review of studies and a research agenda

Carolyn J. Cordery

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Since around 2003, the number and extent of studies into accounting history and religion has increased significantly from their prior scarcity. This growing interest in the junction of accounting, religion and theology recognizes the social and economic importance of belief systems and religious institutions. Yet, publications are unevenly distributed, with a focus on a micro-perspective – analysing the manner in which accounting is practised within organizations. Few studies take a macro-perspective to consider how religion influenced (or potentially could influence) accounting outside of religious institutions. The purpose of this article is to review the contributions in the last three decades, to highlight the topics that remain relatively unexplored, and thus to encourage more research into accounting history and religion. Opportunities for extending knowledge include: comparative studies, studies of countries, people and faiths that have been left largely unexplored, and studies from theologians concerning key concepts (such as ethics) which impact academic understandings, as well as the practical application, of accounting.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)430-463
JournalAccounting History
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2015

Bibliographical note

© Sage 2015. The final publication is available via Sage at


  • Accountability
  • sacred–secular divide
  • accounting history
  • religion
  • literature analysis


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