Professor Lesley Stainbank.

Professor Lesley Stainbank, an academic in the School of Accounting, Economics and Finance in the College of Law and Management Studies, has been declared South Africa’s most published researcher in the discipline of accounting.

This is revealed in the research study titled: “A Profile of Accounting Research in South African Accounting Journals”, which appears in the latest volume of the South African journal Meditari Accountancy Research (MEDAR).

Researchers at the University of Johannesburg examined the nature of accounting research in South Africa from 2000-2009, focusing on the journals: South African Journal of Accounting Research (SAJAR) and MEDAR.

In response to this achievement, Stainbank – a qualified chartered accountant – said: ‘It is nice to be recognised in an objective assessment.  I feel as if finally all my hard work had paid off.’

Stainbank’s area of research is financial accounting with the emphasis on accounting education, differential corporate reporting and professional accountancy education. 

Her PhD dissertation title: Employers’ and Public Accountants’ Attitudes Towards Employee Reporting in South Africa, sought to determine the necessity for employers and public accountants to provide their staff with audited employee reports containing company information, just as they (employers) presented an annual report to investors or creditors. 

Stainbank, a National Research Foundation (NRF) C-rated researcher, is presently working on a research paper concerning the pre-requisites for an African country before it can adopt the International Financial Reporting Standards, and is conducting research in the area of corporate governance.

Her prominence in accounting research extends beyond South Africa. She has worked on several international research projects and has contributed towards the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD’s) Accountancy Development Toolkit which measures a country’s ability to produce high quality corporate reports and offers guidance if necessary. 

She was also instrumental in formulating an Accountancy Development Index (ADI) aimed at helping countries establish detailed information of their accounting status, thus improving decision-making on economic policies and institutional reform.

To improve accounting research publication in South Africa, Stainbank suggests: ‘Because most accounting academics are CAs, they have little knowledge of research methodology or the research process. Research methodologies need to be de-mystified for accounting academics. De-mystifying the research process and creating space for accounting academics to do research would assist in boosting South African accounting research and publications.’

Stainbank serves as convenor for the Economics, Management, Accounting and Administration Assessment Panel for the NRF rating process.