The madness of flexibility now means the evolution of accounting models

The madness of flexibility now means the evolution of accounting models

The idea of ​​”resilience” does not go back to 2020. Originally, that term It comes from the physical sciences Geometry is referred to as the ability of an object To resist disturbances And to take a shock before it regains its initial shape.

Recently, the concept has been mobilized in various disciplinary areas: psychology, geography, physics, and the environment. The health crisis associated with Covid-19 has led to its spreading dramatically.

If we look at the dictionary, flexibility indicates a person’s ability not to allow himself to be defeated. But far from this individual vision, it can be thought of on a systematic scale as suggested by him Stockholm Center for Resilience :

“Resilience is the ability of a system, whether it is an individual, forest, city, or economy, to adapt to change and to continue to evolve.”

In the context of the economic crisis, the concept of Organizational flexibility, To set the company’s ability to Adapt to the environment In a permanent change. This now conforms to the ISO standard.

The insanity of this concept permeates the entire society. However, its measurement in accounting systems is worth questioning.

One way to account?

The definition of organizational resilience appears to focus attention on the economic and financial aspects of performance. We consider the company within its traditional boundaries and thus environmental and social resources are taken into consideration in one direction.

This appears, for example, when shareholders in major oil companies require directors a Better account for climate change. Above all, it is about questioning the financial resilience of these organizations in facing the Anthropocene, that is, the era marked by the predominant role of the human being in the modification of his environment.

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In the same sense, the Group of Seven countries created a working group, named Climate-related Financial Disclosures Task Force (TCFD). The Report From this working group, which returned in June 2017, it recommends that organizations submit a report on the impacts that global warming may have on their activities and the strategies adopted to reduce its negative impact.

However, this view from the outside in finds its limits. Since resilience and adaptability, in a dynamic and uncertain environment, are the key qualities of achieving resilience, companies have integrated their dependence on a multidimensional ecosystem but have also modified their controls to reflect the consequences of their activities on their environment.

This is particularly the case with the approach to international relations and coalition capitals. They are working towards the emergence of a multi-capital accounting system, the purpose of which is to control the evolution of the value of the capital on which it depends. Thus, a relationship can be established between the concepts of flexibility and corporate social responsibility.

To change direction

However, the researchers showed that there may be an Disconnect Between corporate actions and corporate social responsibility communications. Firms, intentionally or unintentionally, focus on factors that seem essential to them, neglect certain aspects that are essential to other societies or ignore the connected and inclusive nature of the social and environmental systems that the current crisis has revealed.

In addition to an external and internal vision, organizations must also adopt a backward vision: internal and external. It seems desirable for the accounts to include indicators of the organizations ’contribution to the resilience of a system undergoing multiple crises.

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Exercise is no longer limited to the pursuit of resilience of the organization, but its discipline. Of course, this change is necessary in order for companies to meet the increasingly important challenges and issues of the Anthropocene.

This is accompanied by a paradigm shift: by incorporating the constraints of the system in which it operates, the organization then moves from calculating its resilience to taking into account the resilience of the social and environmental system.


This article was written by a group of researchers as part of a collaborative microblogging organized on the sidelines of the CSEAR France / EMAN Europe 2021 online academic conference. The quick filing consisted of writing in a limited time, in collaboration, an article on the topic of the “Accounting for Development” conference Sustainable in the Anthropocene. ” At the end of this event, he has co-written 3 articles by senior researchers, juniors and PhD students.

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