Staff Profile

Prof Laura Spira

Emeritus Professor

Department of Accounting, Finance and Economics

Location:  Wheatley

E-mail:  lfspira@brookes.ac.uk


 About Laura

After training as a chartered accountant with Peat Marwick Mitchell & Co (now KPMG) in London, Laura worked for the Oxford Regional Health Authority and then began teaching students for professional accountancy examinations at several local colleges. She joined Brookes in 1986 and undertook a variety of roles, including head of the accounting department for twelve years. In 2003 she became Professor of Corporate Governance.

Laura retains close links with the accountancy profession. Since 2004 she has been Research Relationships Adviser to the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW), bridging the gap between theory and practice by assisting technical staff to establish links with accounting academics and to use accounting research in their work. She is also a member of the ICAEW Research Advisory Board.

Laura was a founder member of the British Accounting Association Corporate Governance Special Interest Group. She is a former joint editor of the Journal of Applied Accounting Research and remains on the editorial board. From 2006 to 2014 she was a member of ESRC Peer Review College.

Laura's contribution to the academic accounting community was recognised in 2012 by a Lifetime Achievement Award from the British Accounting and Finance Association. She was awarded the title of Emeritus Professor on her retirement in 2014.

Research

Laura's research interests encompass aspects of governance and accountability in a broad range of organisations. She is particularly interested in using qualitative approaches to undertake research in corporate governance. Her published work includes a monograph and articles on the role of the audit committee in large UK companies, and studies of the role of internal audit and the management of risk. Her work has received funding from the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Scotland, the British Academy and HM Treasury. Her book The Cadbury Committee: a History, jointly authored with Judy Slinn, was published by Oxford University Press in 2013.

 Research

Laura's research interests encompass aspects of governance and accountability in a broad range of organisations. She is particularly interested in using qualitative approaches to undertake research in corporate governance. Her published work includes a monograph and articles on the role of the audit committee in large UK companies and studies of the role of internal audit and the management of risk. Her work has received funding from the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Scotland, the British Academy and HM Treasury. Laura has recently completed a study of the Cadbury Committee which will be published by Oxford University Press during 2013.

Laura retains close links with the accountancy profession. Since 2004 she has been Research Relationships Adviser to the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW), bridging the gap between theory and practice by assisting technical staff to establish links with accounting academics and to use accounting research in their work. She is also a member of the ICAEW Research Advisory Board.. During 2004/5 she acted as academic adviser to the Financial Reporting Council Turnbull Review Group.

Laura was a founder member of the British Accounting Association Corporate Governance Special Interest Group. She is a former joint editor of the Journal of Applied Accounting Research and remains on the editorial board. Since 2006 she has been a member of ESRC Peer Review College.

 Journal articles

  • Grendron, Y. and Spira, L. (2010) 'Identity Narratives under Threat: A Study of Former Members of Arthur Andersen', Accounting, Organizations and Society, vol. 35, no. 3, pp. 275-300, January, ISSN 0361-3682.

  • Spira, L. and Page, M. (2010) 'Regulation by Disclosure: the Case of Internal Control', Journal of Management and Governance, vol. 14, no. 4, pp. 409-433, January, ISSN 1385-3457.

  • Page, M. and Spira, L. (2009) 'Economia, or a Woman in a Man's World', Accounting, Auditing and Accountability Journal, vol. 22, no. 1, pp. 146-160, January, ISSN 0951-3574.

  • Gendron, Y. and Spira, L. (2009) 'What went wrong? The downfall of Arthur Andersen and the construction of controllability boundaries surrounding financial auditing', Contemporary Accounting Research, vol. 26, no. 4, pp. 987-1027, January, ISSN 0823-9150.

  • Spira, L. (2006) 'Black boxes, red herrings and white powder, UK audit committees in the 21st century', Journal of International Banking Regulation, vol. 7, no. 1, pp. 180-188, March, ISSN 0969-6458.

  • Page, M. and Spira, L. (2005) 'Ethical codes, independence and the conservation of ambiguity', Business Ethics: A European Review, vol. 14, no. 3, pp. 301-316, January, ISSN 0962-8770.

  • Page, M. and Spira, L. F. (2004) 'After box-ticking ... now what?', Internal Auditing and Business Risk, vol. 28, no. 11, pp. 33-34, November, ISSN 1475-1984.

  • Spira, L. F. and Bender, R. (2004) 'Compare and contrast: perspectives on board committees', Corporate Governance: An International Review, vol. 12, no. 4, pp. 489-499, January, ISSN 0964-8410.

  • Spira, L. F. and Page, M. (2003) 'Risk management: the reinvention of internal control and the changing role of internal audit', Accounting, Auditing and Accountability Journal, vol. 16, no. 4, pp. 640-661, October, ISSN 0951-3574.

  • Spira, L. F. (2003) 'Audit Committees: begging the question?', Corporate Governance: An International Review, vol. 11, no. 3, pp. 180-187, July, ISSN 0964-8410.

  • Skinner, D. and Spira, L. F. (2003) 'Trust and control: a symbiotic relationship?', Corporate Governance: The International Journal of Business in Society, vol. 3, no. 4, pp. 28-35, January, ISSN 1472-0701.

  • Spira, L. F. (2001) 'Enterprise and accountability: striking a balance', Management Decision, vol. 39, no. 9, pp. 739-748, January, ISSN 0025-1747.

  • Spira, L. and Page, M. (2000) ''Who steals my purse steals trash...': Reputation as a factor in establishing the value of non-executive directors and members of audit committees', International Journal of Management and Decision Making, vol. 1, no. 1, pp. 14-27, January, ISSN 1462-4621.

  • Page, M. and Spira, L. (1999) 'The conceptual underwear of financial reporting', Accounting, Auditing and Accountability Journal, vol. 12, no. 4, pp. 489-501, September, ISSN 0951-3574.

  • Spira, L. (1999) 'Ceremonies of governance: perspectives on the role of the Audit Committee', Journal of Management and Governance, vol. 3, no. , pp. 231-260, January, ISSN 1385-3457.

  • Spira, L. (1999) 'Independence in corporate governance: the Audit Committee role', Business Ethics: A European Review, vol. 8, no. 4, pp. 262-273, January, ISSN 0962-8770.

  • Spira, L. (1998) 'Creative accounting', Critical Perspectives on Accounting, vol. 9, no. , pp. 376, June, ISSN 1045-2354.

  • Spira, L. (1998) 'An evolutionary perspective on the Audit Committee effectiveness', Corporate Governance: An International Review, vol. 6, no. 1, pp. 29-38, January, ISSN 0964-8410.

  •  Other publications including books, book chapters and reports

  • Spira, L. and Slinn, J. (2013) 'The Cadbury Committee. A History', , Oxford University Press: Oxford, ISBN 978-0199592197.

  • Spira, L. and Gowthorpe, C. (2008) 'Reporting on Internal Control in the UK and the US: Insights from the Turnbull and Sarbanes-Oxley Consultations'. Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland: Edinburgh.

  • Spira, L. and Gowthorpe, C. (2008) 'Reporting on Internal Control in the UK and the US: Insights from the Turnbull and Sarbanes-Oxley Consultations'. : .

  • Spira, L. F. and Page, M. (2004) 'The Turnbull Report, Internal Control and Risk Management: the Developing Role of Internal Audit'. Institute of Chartered Accountants: Scotland.

  • Spira, L. F. (2002) 'The Audit Committee: Performing Corporate Governance', , Kluwer Academic Press: Boston, ISBN 0-7923-7649-8.

  • Spira, L. (1997) 'Review of "Finishing First with Ethics"', by Ritchie, F., in Teaching Business Ethics, vol. 1, no. 2, pp. 228-230, January, ISSN 1382-6891.

  • Slinn, J. and Spira, L. () 'The Cadbury Committee: a history', , oxford university Press: Oxford, .

  •  Conferences

  • Spira, L. (2013) 'Corporate Governance and Management - a Blurred Boundary?'. Paper presented at the 34th Annual Management Accounting Research Group conference, London School of Economics, April.

  • Spira, L. (2012) 'Be careful what you wish for: the consequences of mandating board composition'. Paper presented at the Inaugural Professorial Lecture, University of Greenwich, October.

  • Spira, L. (2012) 'Can non-executive directors make a difference?'. Paper presented at the 10th Corporate Governance Conference, Birmingham, June.

  • Spira, L. (2012) 'Be careful what you wish for: consequences of mandating board composition'. Paper presented at the Oxford Brookes - Burgundy Business School Joint Research Conference, Oxford, May.

  • Spira, L. and Page, M. (2011) 'Is a picture worth a thousand words? Visualising corporate governance and strategy'. Paper presented at the Brunel Business School Accounting Symposium, Brunel University, July.

  • Spira, L. (2011) 'Is a picture worth a thousand words? Visualising corporate governance and strategy'. Paper presented at the 2nd EIASM workshop on Imagining Business, Segovia, May.

  • Spira, L. (2011) 'Can Non-Executive Directors Make a Difference? A Historical Perspective'. Paper presented at the Oxford Brookes Business School - Burgundy Business School Joint Research Conference, Dijon, May.

  • Spira, L. (2011) 'Can Non-Executive Directors Make a Difference? A Historical Perspective'. Paper presented at the 8th EIASM workshop on corporate governance, Brussels, May.

  • Spira, L. (2010) 'Can Non-Executive Directors Make a Difference? A Historical Perspective'. Paper presented at the 10th European Corporate Governance Conference, Brussels, December.

  • Spira, L. and Page, M. (2010) 'Visualising corporate governance and strategy'. Paper presented at the Financial Reporting and Business Communication conference, Bristol University, July.

  • Spira, L. (2010) ''Can non executive directors make a difference? A historical perspective', invited keynote address'. Paper presented at the Conference on Governance and Accountability in Financial Services, hosted by the Centre for Global Finance, the Bristol Centre for Leadership and Organizational Ethics and the Foundation for Governance Research and Education, Bristol Business School, March.

  • Spira, L. and Page, M. (2009) 'Visualising corporate governance, strategy and knowledge management'. Paper presented at the Journal of Management and Governance, Universita Ca Foscari, Venice, October.

  • Slinn, J. and Spira, L. (2009) 'The Cadbury Archive: first impressions'. Paper presented at the Symposium on Governance, the Judge Business School, Cambridge, June.

  • Spira, L. and Page, M. (2009) 'Visualising the abstract:an analysis of pictorial metaphors of corporate governance and strategy'. Paper presented at the European Accounting Association, Finland, May.

  • Spira, L. and Page, M. (2008) 'Economia, or a woman in a man's world'. Paper presented at the British Accounting Association South East Area Group Annual Conference, Oxford Brookes University Business School, September.

  • Spira, L. and Page, M. (2008) 'Making risk meaningful: How internal auditors construct risk and risk management'. Paper presented at the Second International Conference of CADAAD Critical Approaches to Discourse Analysis Across Disciplines, University of Hertfordshire, July.

  • Spira, L. and Page, M. (2008) 'Economia, or a woman in a man's world'. Paper presented at the EIASM Workshop 'Imagining Business', Said Business School, Oxford, June.

  • Spira, L. and Page, M. (2008) 'Economia, or a woman in a man's world'. Paper presented at the European Accounting Association Congress, Rotterdam, April.

  • Page, M. and Spira, L. (2007) 'Regulation by disclosure: The case of internal control'. Paper presented at the 10th International Conference on Corporate Governance and Board Leadership, Henley, October.

  • Page, M. and Spira, L. (2007) 'Regulation by disclosure: The case of internal control'. Paper presented at the EIASM Workshop on Accounting and Regulation, Sienna, September.

  • Page, M. and Spira, L. (2007) 'Regulation by disclosure: The case of internal control'. Paper presented at the 5th International Corporate Conference, Centre for Corporate Governance Research, University of Birmingham, July.

  • Page, M. and Spira, L. (2007) 'Regulation by disclosure: The case of internal control'. Paper presented at the European Accounting Association Congress, Lisbon, May.

  • Gendron, Y. and Spira, L. (2007) 'Identity narratives in turmoil: A study of former members of Arthur Andersen'. Paper presented at the European Accounting Association Congress, Lisbon, May.

  • Bender, R., Spira, L., Franken, A. and Braganza, A. (2006) 'The inner workings of Audit Committees in the UK: Operationalising 'Best Practice''. Paper presented at the 9th International Conference on Corporate Governance and Board Leadership, Henley, October.

  • Spira, L. and Bender, R. (2006) 'The inner workings of audit committees in the UK: Operationalising 'best practice''. Paper presented at the 9th International Conference on Corporate Governance and Board Leadership, The Henley Management College, October.

  • Gendron, Y. and Spira, L. (2006) 'Identity narratives in turmoil: a study of former members of Arthur Andersen'. Paper presented at the Eighth Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Accounting Conference, Cardiff, July.

  • Spira, L. and Page, M. (2005) 'Understandings of risk management: an exploratory analysis of risk metaphors'. Paper presented at the EIASM 2nd Workshop on Corporate Governance, Amsterdam, November.

  • Spira, L. and Page, M. (2005) 'Understandings of risk management: an exploratory analysis of risk metaphors'. Paper presented at the 28th Congress of the European Accounting Association, Gothenberg, May.

  • Spira, L. (2004) 'Black holes, red herrings and elephant powder: a sceptical look at audit committees'. Paper presented at the Conference on Corporate Governance of Financial Institutions, Institute of Advanced Legal Studies, University of London, October.

  • Spira, L. F. (2004) 'A company of players: the performance of the Annual General Meeting'. Paper presented at the 2nd International Corporate Governance Conference, Centre for Corporate Governance Research, University of Birmingham, July.

  • Spira, L. F. (2004) 'A company of players: the performance of the Annual General Meeting'. Paper presented at the Finance Reporting and Communication Conference, Cardiff University Business School, July.

  • Spira, L. F. and Page, M. (2004) 'Ethical codes, independence and conservation of ambiguity'. Paper presented at the 13th International Symposium on Ethics, Business and Society, University of Navarra, University of Navarra, Barcelona, Spain, May.

  • Spira, L. F. and Bender, R. (2003) 'Compare and contrast: perspectives on board committees'. Paper presented at the 6th International Conference on Corporate Governance and Direction, The Henley Management College, October.

  • Spira, L. F. and Page, M. (2003) 'From compliance to communication: perspectives on the changing role of internal audit'. Paper presented at the 2nd Symposium of European Auditing Research Network, Manchester, October.

  • Page, M. and Spira, L. F. (2003) 'From compliance to communication: perspectives on the changing role of internal audit'. Paper presented at the European Accounting Association Congress, Seville, April.

  • Spira, L. F. and Bender, R. (2003) 'Compare and contrast: perspectives on board committees'. Paper presented at the European Accounting Association Congress, Seville, April.

  • Spira, L. F. (2002) 'The role of the Audit Committee: the gap between expectation and reality'. Paper presented at the Second European Conference on Corporate Governance, Brussels, Belgium, November.

  • Spira, L. F. (2002) 'Audit committees - begging the question?'. Paper presented at the 5th International Conference on Corporate Governance and Direction, Henley Management College, October.

  • Slinn, J. and Spira, L. (2002) 'A jolly good lunch: the evolution of the non-executive director'. Paper presented at the European Business History Association Conference, Helsinki, August.

  • Spira, L. F. and Page, M. (2002) 'Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? The changing role of Internal Audit. 3'. Paper presented at the Corporate Governance Seminar, Judge Institute, Cambridge, May.

  • Spira, L. F. and Skinner, D. (2002) 'The trust-control nexus: an unrecognised interdependence'. Paper presented at the European Academy of Management (EURAM), Stockholm, May.

  • Spira, L. F. and Page, M. (2002) 'Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? The changing role of Internal Audit. 2'. Paper presented at the European Accounting Association Congress, Copenhagen, April.

  • Spira, L. F. and Page, M. (2002) 'Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? The changing role of Internal Audit 1'. Paper presented at the National Auditing Conference, Stirling, March.

  • Skinner, D. and Spira, L. F. (2001) 'The relevance of a PhD in business and management: who chooses to undertake a PhD and why'. Paper presented at the Society for Research into Higher Education Conference, Cambridge, December.

  • Brown, R. B., Spira, L. F. and Williams, S. (2001) 'Mapping the temporal landscape: the case of university business school academics'. Paper presented at the Conference on Spacing and Timing: Rethinking Globalisation and Standardisation, Palermo, Italy, November.

  • Spira, L. F. (2001) 'Enterprise and accountability: striking a balance'. Paper presented at the 4th Annual Conference on Corporate Governance, The Henley Management College, October.

  • Spira, L. F. and Page, M. (2001) 'From frog to prince: the metamorphosis of Internal Audit 3'. Paper presented at the Asian Pacific Interdisciplinary Conference, Adelaide, Australia, July.

  • Spira, L. F. and Page, M. (2001) 'From frog to prince: the metamorphosis of Internal Audit 2'. Paper presented at the EIASM Workshop, Copenhagen, June.

  • Spira, L. F. and Page, M. (2001) 'From frog to prince: the metamorphosis of Internal Audit 1'. Paper presented at the National Auditing Conference, Leicester, March.

  • Spira, L. (1999) 'Constructing consensus: a case study of an audit committee'. Paper presented at the European Accounting Association Conference, Bordeaux, France, May.

  • Spira, L. and Page, M. (1999) ''Who steals my purse steals trash '. Reputation as a factor in establishing the value of non-executive directors and members of audit committees'. Paper presented at the European Accounting Association Conference, Bordeaux, France, May.

  • Spira, L. (1999) 'Independence in corporate governance: the Audit Committee role'. In Hackley, C. (eds.) Proceedings of the The Fourth EBEN-UK Conference, Oxford Brookes University, April, pp. 119-134, ISBN 0-9535692-0-9

  • Spira, L. (1998) 'Ceremonies of governance: perspectives on the role of the Audit Committee'. Paper presented at the International Conference on Accounting and Governance, Naples, October.

  • Spira, L. (1997) 'The comforting role of the Audit Committee'. Paper presented at the British Accounting Association South East Area Regional Conference, Northampton, September.

  • Spira, L. and Page, M. (1997) 'The conceptual underwear of financial reporting'. Paper presented at the British Accounting Association South East Area Regional Conference, Northampton, September.

  • Spira, L. (1997) 'They don't work, they can't work, they shouldn't work: some perspectives on Audit Committees'. Paper presented at the International Financial Reporting Conference, Cardiff, July.

  • Spira, L. (1996) 'The evolution of the Audit Committee'. Paper presented at the British Accounting Association National Conference, Cardiff, April.