The Association of Chartered Certificated Accountants (ACCA) has begun a review of the practical steps firms can take to improve their corporate cultures, governance, risk management and performance.

The review, in cooperation with the UK Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and consulting firm Paradigm Risk, will examine the ways corporate culture affects decision making and general business performance.

According to ACCA, recent reports addressing the issue encourage boards and executives to improve their corporate idiosyncrasy, yet measures and practical solutions are difficult to realise.

ACCA head of corporate governance Paul Moxey said culture is a vital ingredient in a firm’s governance and performance and added: "But it is often tricky to identify what that means and what you can actually do to improve [it]."

Paradigm Risk managing director Peter Bonisch said the idea of having simple levers to pull, by which an organisation can improve its culture, is far from reality.

"We need greater insight about the relationship between managerial actions and routines and behaviour and the complex processes through which culture emerges from people’s attitudes, intentions, interactions, decisions and behaviours," Bonisch said.

ESRC deputy head, economic performance and environment said companies need to understand what motivate people’s behaviour, how that influences a firm’s culture and how it acts in its markets.

A panel of experts will hold roundtable talks, debates and interviews in the UK and abroad to develop the review. ACCA, ESRC and Paradigm Risk’s joint project is dubbed ‘Culture in Practice’ and it is due for release in early 2014.

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The Association of Chartered Certificated Accountants