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Jill Atkins

Professor Jill Atkins

Professor of Accounting

Cardiff Business School

+44 29225 14116
Aberconway Building, Room Room T41, Colum Road, Cathays, Cardiff, CF10 3EU
Available for postgraduate supervision


I am currently Deputy Head of Section (Research Impact Innovation) (DHSRII). I am an academic in accounting and finance, with my research crossing interdisciplinary boundaries and informing practice. My primary focus is on sustainable accounting and finance, with my current research interests including extinction accounting, extinction governance, extinction finance, ESG (environmental social and governance) accounting and ESG investment. I also have an interest in exploring the historical roots of environmental and ecological accounting. Accounting for biodiversity and financial mechanisms for the protection of biodiversity and species is an overriding theme across all of my current projects.























Book sections




My academic research spans accounting and finance although I focus on publishing in internationally excellent academic accounting journals, with over 50 journal publications, as well as writing books, book chapters and professional, practitioner reports.

There are three areas where I believe I have made the most substantial contribution to the sustainability accounting literature, specifically in: private social and environmental reporting (SER); extinction accounting, and; exploring the historical roots of environmental, ecological and extinction accounting.

Private Social and Environmental Reporting: Sustainable Investment

In a project funded by the Nuffield Foundation, we investigated the process of private SER by interviewing members of the institutional investment community. We identified the content of private SER as well as elements of impression management in one-on-one meetings between institutional investors and their investee companies. This work led me to detect a transformation in private SER from a process which was essentially separate from private financial reporting into ‘private integrated reporting’, as institutional investor engagement processes were increasingly integrating social, environmental and financial issues into the mainstream private financial reporting process. Recently I have been extending this research to develop frameworks for ‘extinction engagement’, whereby private reporting incorporates engagement on species protection and biodiversity.

Extinction Accounting

I feel I have contributed substantially to the sustainability accounting research literature by developing the concept of ‘extinction accounting’. My research into accounting for biodiversity over the last decade led me to perceive a change in the reporting but also to identify a need to explore and develop new forms of accounting, given the urgency and acceleration of species extinctions. I developed and published an extinction accounting framework. This research resulted in a book identifying the financial materiality of pollinators, The Business of Bees, that has influenced the development of pollinator engagement strategies by leading investment institutions, and was recently highlighted in a Reuters story online (see link below). The extinction accounting framework has inspired extensive international academic research into extinction accounting practice across different sectors. I guest-edited a special issue of Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal on ‘Extinction Accounting and Accountability”, published in 2018. I have developed this work further by constructing an extinction governance model which brings together extinction accounting and a wide range of governance mechanisms aimed at preventing species extinctions and biodiversity loss. The development of extinction accounting also integrates concepts of emancipatory accounting from the critical accounting literature, as one of the ways in which extinction accounting may be differentiated from accounting for biodiversity, in its intentionality to engender emancipatory change, i.e. prevention of species extinction. This extinction governance model forms part a recent book, ‘Extinction Governance: Implementing a Species Protection Action Plan for the Financial Markets’. The book includes nine chapter contributions from international academics in sustainability accounting, and 13 leading practitioners in responsible investment, sustainability ratings, financial analysts, and reporting framework providers, including  the Capitals Coalition, Moody’s, Vigeo Eiris, AXA, Ossiam Investors, ShareAction, Hermes EOS, Business for Nature, the WWF and the Endangered Wildlife Trust. The aim is to show-case cutting edge practice integrating biodiversity and extinction prevention into every aspect of the financial markets and accounting frameworks.

Exploring the Historical Roots of Environmental and Ecological Accounting

For around 15 years, I have focused on developing another area of sustainability accounting research, exploring the historical roots of environmental accounting, accounting for biodiversity and extinction accounting. This body of research brings together the fields of accounting history research and sustainability accounting research. It also connects with the alternative accounting research area, as well as with interdisciplinary research into art and accounting. As part of this long-term project, I have published a series of papers in internationally renowned accounting journals exploring early forms of environmental accounting from different eras, including Victorian external water pollution accounting, the influence of William Morris’ works on the evolution of environmental accountability, and 18th century accounting for biodiversity and extinction in nature diaries. I am currently working on further papers exploring emancipatory accounts of air pollution in 17th century London and interpreting 18th century travel diaries as early accounts of industrial pollution that reveal the beginnings of impression management, in my view. I am currently co-guest-editing a special issue of Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, entitled, “Exploring the Historical Roots of Environmental and Ecological Accounting”. This Special Issue should inspire accounting researchers around the world to explore further the historical development of sustainability accounting, in a wide variety of geographical, cultural and disciplinary contexts, leading to a substantial growth in this area of research.



My main area of teaching and lecturing is Corporate Governance

Over the years I have written a leading international textbook for undergraduates, postgraduates and researchers in the corporate governance area, 'Corporate Governance and Accountability' which is currently in its 5th edition. The text covers theory and practice, summarises the academic governance literature and provides up to date case studies.


Professor Atkins is a Professor in Accounting at Cardiff Business School and is also a Visiting Professor at the University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa. Her research focuses on corporate governance, responsible investment, sustainability, integrated reporting and extinction accounting. She is Series Editor for the de Gruyter Studies in Corporate Governance, and is directly involved in commissioning and editing the manuscripts for this series. She edited The Business of Bees: An Integrated Approach to Bee Decline and Corporate Responsibility which arises from a long-term project investigating the role of accounting and responsible investment in preserving biodiversity. She also wrote and edited, Around the World in 80 Species: Exploring the Business Case for Extinction Prevention, published by Routledge in 2019 as well as ‘Extinction Governance, Accounting and Finance’, co-edited with Martina Macpherson. Professor Atkins co-authored Chief Value Officer: Accountants Can Save the Planet. Her leading textbook, Corporate Governance and Accountability, is now in its 5th edition. Professor Atkins’ academic qualifications include a BA Hons (First Class) in European Economics with a Licence ès Sciences Economiques from the University of Nantes, an MSc in Corporate and International Finance from the University of Durham, and a PhD in Finance from the University of Manchester. Professor Atkins is well-known throughout the ESG investment industry and governance area as a thought leader and is regularly invited to give keynotes at international practitioner and academic events on sustainability accounting, finance and governance.


I am primarily interested in supervising doctoral candidates in the following areas:

Extinction Accounting

Extinction Governance

ESG Investment (Environmental, Social and Governance)

Accounting for Biodiversity

Corporate Governance (qualitative research)