Corporate reporting implication in migrating from defined benefit to defined contribution pension schemes

a focus on the UK

J. Josiah, O. Gough, J. Haslam, N. Shah

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Abstract

    Pensions are intricately linked to employees' well-being in the latter part of their life and during their working life in that they provide a sense of financial security in retirement. Since the 1980s, pension schemes have changed both in concept and detail with significant consequences for beneficiaries. This paper explores one of the major changes: the migration from defined benefit (DB) to defined contribution (DC) pension schemes focusing on this change's interface with accounting. In exploring this shift from DB to DC schemes, the paper uses a critical perspective to reflect on this interface including how the change is accounted for in corporate reporting narrative. The key focus is on issues of political economy: it is found in this respect that while wealth is effectively distributed from pension holders efforts are made to legitimise or displace attention from pension changes. An analysis of narratives of corporate annual reports is undertaken to critically explore corporate communication to stakeholders vis-à-vis pension scheme changes. Findings suggest limited and problematic engagement with employees as per the corporate annual report narrative. We also point to a lack of appetite on the part of existing employees to engage employers on these changes. The change is framed to give workers an impression that they are taking responsibility for their future whilst an alternative view is that in actuality the organisation is decoupling from pension responsibility and devolving associated risks to employees for greater profitability. Counter accounting may be a way forward.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)18-37
    Number of pages20
    JournalAccounting Forum
    Volume38
    Issue number1
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - Mar 2014

    Fingerprint

    Defined contribution
    Corporate reporting
    Defined benefit
    Pension scheme
    Pensions
    Employees
    Responsibility
    Corporate annual reports
    Workers
    Employers
    Retirement
    Critical perspective
    Profitability
    Political economy
    Stakeholders
    Employee well-being
    Wealth
    Corporate communications
    Financial security
    Decoupling

    Keywords

    • Accounting for pensions
    • Annual corporate report narrative
    • Critical perspective
    • Defined benefit
    • Defined contribution
    • Policy making

    Cite this

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    Corporate reporting implication in migrating from defined benefit to defined contribution pension schemes : a focus on the UK. / Josiah, J.; Gough, O.; Haslam, J.; Shah, N.

    In: Accounting Forum, Vol. 38, No. 1, 03.2014, p. 18-37.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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