Establishing and maintaining a professional accounting body in Samoa: the role of the Samoa Institute of Accountants (SIA)

by Love Muese Ioane

Institution: AUT University
Year: 0
Keywords: Accounting profession in Samoa; Accounting body in Samoa; Samoa Institute of Accountants (SIA); Institutional theory; Neo-Institutional sociology; Regulative, Normative and cultural-cognitive pressures; Environmental changes and influences; Accounting in developing countries; Talanoa method; Qualitative research
Record ID: 1308642
Full text PDF: http://hdl.handle.net/10292/8436


Extensive research has been done on the early establishments of the most influential accounting bodies in the United Kingdom (UK). It was a struggle for professional bodies to achieve and maintain professionalization with state and society during a time of rapid market growth. This created rivalry and competition among the accounting bodies in an attempt to establish a place in the market. Consequently, the roles of accounting bodies were influenced by pressures from the state, market and society which encouraged professional bodies to engage in various strategies and membership policies. The unique roles of accounting bodies were later exported throughout the British Empire and its colonies establishing other accounting bodies such as CPA Australia and NZICA. Today, the same traits of competition still exist and professional bodies still continue to export their qualifications and memberships overseas. While previous studies have focused on the expanding accounting profession in developed nations, research on professional accounting bodies in developing countries is scarce. Hence, the aim of this dissertation is to investigate the expansion of the accounting profession in Samoa, a developing country. Samoa is unique in terms of its culture and way of life. Unlike western countries where society is of an individualistic nature, Samoa is based on collectivism. Samoa is currently undergoing rapid transformation in terms of globalisation of the market and economy which is imposing changes in the accounting profession and the accounting body. These changes are potentially contradictory with the cultural-cognitive elements of society causing the role of the accounting body in Samoa to be unique in accommodating societal norms. Therefore, the main research question is “how have changes in the environment influenced the role of the professional accounting body in Samoa?” This study draws upon the regulative, cultural-cognitive, and normative pillars of neo-institutional theory to make sense of the pressures that influence what the role of the Samoa Institute of Accountants (SIA) is today. Data was collected using semi-structured interviews and archival documents. A number of significant findings arise from this study. One major finding is that the regulative pressure arising from the establishment of the Samoa Institute of Accountants (SIA) Act 2006 has helped create positive interactions with practitioners and establish a reciprocal relationship with the Ministry of Revenue (MOR). This relationship has in turn strengthened the normative role of the SIA, especially in promoting higher quality standards and expertise in the field of tax practice amongst the accounting profession. The introduction of the International Mutual Funds Act 2008 aggravates the common issue of a lack of funding, and is found to exert regulative pressure influencing the role of SIA to incorporate fundraising mechanisms through the normative pillar of professional activities and networks. The impact of globalisation including affiliation,…