The School’s research focus and niche areas (RNA) follow:

Explore the best teaching, learning, and pedagogical strategies to gain evidence-based insights into the most effective methods for educating the next generation of accountancy professionals.  Investigating how different student groups respond to teaching so that educators are best-placed to deliver effective tailored education.  Explore how digital platforms can increase teaching & learning opportunities. This RNA contains four thematic areas, namely: (i) Student learning; (ii) Student development and support; (iii) Quality assurance, including assessment and (iv) Digitalisation of learning and teaching.

The UN report: Our Common Future defines sustainable development as “development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”  Sustainability entails accelerating the advent of sustainable energy, water use, food production, manufacturing, recycling, transport, and supply chain management, enabling imagination far into the future today.  On the other hand, governance consists of the processes, customs, policies, laws, and institutions affecting how people direct, administer, or control an organization. Governance also includes the relationships among the many players (stakeholders) and the organizational goals.  The need for sustainability governance has led to the rise of sustainability management systems and non-financial factors considered in making and managing investments. Environmental, social, and governance (ESG) factors are becoming increasingly important in investment decisions that companies need to account for and report.  Pioneering work concerning ESG accounting and reporting, such as the Global Reporting Initiative, the International Integrated Reporting Council, and the Economics of Mutuality, has been conducted.  However, accounting for and reporting ESG factors is less mature than financial accounting and reporting. In time, universally applicable standards for ESG will likely be established, further promoting our ability to govern sustainably.  The research on sustainability governance will focus on the following three research themes: (i) Environmental, social, and governance (ESG) issues; (ii) The role of accounting in sustainable development and (iii) Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning use in traceability and assurance systems and its impact on industry and accounting practice.

Strategic financial analytics is a review framework that uses data science, machine learning, and artificial intelligence to analyze performance, assesses organizational goals, and adjust forecasts and strategy based on actual results.  Strategic planning and implementation, institution risk management, and strategic financial analysis are inherently linked.  The alignment of strategic financial goals with actions and risk assessment will improve strategic decision-making and chances of institutional success.  Strategic financial analytics provides methods and tools to evaluate financial risks, conditions, and operations and communicate this information effectively to institutional stewards using data science, big data, and artificial intelligence (AI).  Research on strategic financial analytics will focus on the following three research themes: (i) Strategic financial analysis; (ii) Financial stability, viability, and sustainability; and (iii) Public sector financial efficacy.

Tax-related research in South Africa usually involves narrow public finance or a tax law approach.  However, the nature of the tax environment requires a more holistic approach to trans-and multi-disciplinary research.  The tax environment has many specializations requiring a research theme aligned with national priorities.  The Tax Policy and Governance (TPoG) Research Niche Area (RNA) will focus specifically on tax policy issues – given that good tax administration and governance depend on sound tax policy.  The following research thematic areas form part of the TPoG RNA: (i) Fourth Industrial Revolution and the Tax Environment (E.g., taxation of Cryptocurrency); (ii) Taxation history; (iii) Land and Property Taxes (E.g., transfer duty, tax on rental income, donations tax, CGT, land tax amongst others); (iv) Tax Policy and Rural Development; and (v) Sustainable development taxation such as environmental tax, mining tax, sustainable tax in Africa, oil and gas tax, carbon tax, mineral, and petroleum resource taxation.


The SoA employs a variety of quantitative and qualitative methods.  The approach will consist of content analysis, doctrinal research, archival analysis, regressions, structural equation models, linguistic analysis, and interviews.  The SoA encourages using in-depth case studies, large-N case survey meta-analysis, experiments, focus groups, ethnography, grounded theory, observation, conceptual framework development, models, and systems. Integration of the fourth industrial revolution 4.0 (data science, big data, and artificial intelligence – AI) in data collection, analysis, and reporting is preferred.


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