Professor Lisa Jack
Professor of Accounting
I began my career as an ACCA graduate trainee with Eastern Electricity and then with Ernst & Whinney (now Ernst & Young) in Ipswich. Subsequently, I worked as an auditor in local government and higher education. After ten years auditing, I moved into teaching professional accountancy and management programmes, becoming a qualified teacher as well as a qualified accountant.
Whilst teaching at Writtle College - a land-based higher education institution - I became interested in how accounting practices in the agri-food industry were very different to those in other industries. This formed the basis of my thesis, a socio-historic analysis entitled 'The persistence of post war accounting practices in UK agriculture', which won the Coleman Prize for the best thesis on a British business history subject 2004/5 awarded by the Association of Business Historians. After six years University of Essex, I moved to Portsmouth as Professor in Accounting in 2009 where I have continued my research into management control in food supply chains.
At Portsmouth, I have developed my expertise in forensic accounting and since the horsemeat scandal in 2013, have been able to bring this, together with my expertise in food supply chains, to the study of fraud in the food and drinks industry. I set up the Food Fraud Group within the University of Portsmouth Centre for Counter Fraud Studies in 2014, which works alongside the Gate-to-Plate research group in the BusinessSchool.
I am currently Chair of Trustees of the British Accounting and Finance Association (BAFA) (President (2016-18; Vice-president 2015-16). I am also a member of the council for the Management Control Association, the Finance and Management Committee of the ICAEW and the advisory board of CIEH Food.
In general terms, my research interests lie in management information for decision-making, including accounting communication and education. I am particularly interested in the use of social theory investigate the reasons why accounting tasks are done in the way they are and why they might be done differently, to paraphrase Raymond J. Chambers. My book 'Accounting and Social Theory: an Introduction' was published in October 2016 and explores the use, mis-use and abuse of accounting communications and how these affect relationships in societies. I am involved in international networks using strong structuration theory and pragmatic constructivism in accounting research, as well as the study of management control and accounting. I have co-edited a themed issue for Accounting, Auditing and Accountability Journal on strong structuration theory in accounting with Alan Coad and Ahmed Kholeif (AAAJ Vol. 29 Issue 7 2016).
My main area of research is the agri-food industry. In 2011, a team consisting of myself and Dr Juan M. Ramon Jeronimo and Dr Raquel Florez-Lopez of University Pablo Olavide in Seville, was one of only four successful bids under CIMA’s ‘Relevance Required’ Initiative, investigating risk and inter-organisational performance measures in intermediate food chain companies. I am currently developing a new project, 'Feeding a City of 2.5m: accounting, fraud and future food systems'.
The Gate to Plate group is also investigating the use of AI in food traceability and audit processes based on research-consultancy work I have carried out for assurance and certification bodies in the UK. We are also engaged with Regina Frei from University of Portsmouth School of Engineering in another research-consultancy project entitled 'Buy Online Return in Store' and the impacts of increased returns on costs, management and sustainability practices.
I have supervised a number of PhD projects with the most recent being in food safety governance; consumer fraud in lean retail environments; target cost management and NPD in food manufacturing; and the expectations gap in accounting education. Ongoing projects include investigations into food deserts and fraud in organics and the wine trade.