Steven Toms

Steven Toms
University of Leeds · Division of Accounting and Finance

PhD

About

166
Publications
62,289
Reads
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2,982
Citations
Citations since 2016
37 Research Items
1431 Citations
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2016201720182019202020212022050100150200
2016201720182019202020212022050100150200
2016201720182019202020212022050100150200
Introduction
My main research interests cover the role of accounting, accountability and corporate governance in the development of organisations, particularly from a historical perspective. I am interested in perspectives that integrate financial models with economic and organisational theory and corporate strategy. Specific applications range from business history, in particular cotton and other textiles trades to capital markets and social and environmental accounting. I use quantitative and qualitative research methods.
Additional affiliations
July 2012 - present
University of Leeds
Position
  • Professor (Full)
January 2004 - June 2012
The University of York
Position
  • Head of Department

Publications

Publications (166)
Article
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This article considers how international economic expansion impacts on the composition of elite groups on boards of companies. We examine, why, at the height of the British Empire, boards of national, imperial, and international railway companies, financed from London, were dominated by elites drawn differentially from the aristocracy, the military...
Preprint
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Forthcoming: Accounting and Business Research I examine the incidence of fraud from c.1720 to 2009 and relate it to the occurrence of significant financial scandals. Focusing on the UK, and US prior to Enron, and using a detailed dataset of significant events and news content, underpinned by examination of specific watershed scandals, the paper hi...
Article
We consider two sources of innovation, technical and financial, and examine their separate and joint impacts, through the process of financial intermediation, on the nature of entrepreneurial opportunity. These impacts are time dependent and reflect the institutional context of entrepreneurship. As illustrations, we investigate three historical epi...
Article
Full-text available
Jonathan E. Robins . Cotton and Race across the Atlantic: Britain, Africa and America, 1900–1920. Rochester Studies in African History and the Diaspora 73. Rochester: University of Rochester Press, 2016. Pp. 312. $112.50 (cloth). - Volume 56 Issue 4 - Steven Toms
Article
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The article reconsiders the mid-1890s boom in which a large number of firms in the bicycle, pneumatic tyre and related industries were floated. It investigates why so many of these issues featured aristocratic directors in their prospectuses and finds that they represented social connections that were a necessary condition for regional industrial f...
Article
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We demonstrate that social movements can use accounting for progressive purposes, and that such outcomes can be promoted where they are aligned with the material interests of key fractions of capital. Such fractionalization is a function of technology and labour process, underpinned by adopted ideology. Alignment with social movement objectives ove...
Article
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We employ archival evidence to investigate events culminating in the nationalisation of the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company (AIOC) in 1951, which followed disagreements over profit allocations arising from a previously negotiated concession. The case study expands the traditional obsolescing bargain model (OBM) by accommodating the use and impact of acco...
Article
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From the end of World War II, British clothing retailers—most notably, Marks & Spencer (M&S)—increasingly dominated the domestic textile industry, to some extent arresting its decline. This article uses financial and archival evidence to examine the distribution of costs and benefits in the M&S vertical network. It shows that these benefits became...
Article
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The paper addresses the debate raised by the reinterpretation of Dean, Clarke, and Capalbo (20166. Dean, G., F. Clarke, and C. Capalbo. 2016. “Pacioli's Double Entry – Part of an Intellectual and Social Movement.” Accounting History Review 26 (1): 5–24.View all references) of the origins of double-entry bookkeeping (DEB) and its implications. It of...
Article
It is well recognized that the nature of entrepreneurial activity varies by context and historical epoch. But are there systematic underlying factors that cause such significant differences in the entrepreneurial opportunity set? This paper presents a conceptualization of entrepreneurship based on the interaction of product market innovation and fi...
Article
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Purpose The purpose of this paper is to examine the determinants of the volume of environmental disclosures and their quality, with particular focus on the role of audit committees (ACs) and the effects of the Smith report recommendations for the UK Corporate Governance Code. Design/methodology/approach Quantitative large sample analysis of UK FTS...
Article
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By investigating surplus and risk distribution in the British brewing industry, this article shows that risk and risk transfer are important dimensions of vertical supply chain relationships. A comparative financial analysis shows the effects of models of vertical ownership before and after the break-up of producer controlled tenanted estates and t...
Article
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Narrative reporting has been identified as potentially playing one of two contrasting rather than complementary roles: incremental information (II) and impression management (IM). II denotes the disclosure of information needed to help in investors’ decision-making, whilst IM relates to its selective use in enhancing reputation or protecting from c...
Article
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This article assesses the validity of John Maynard Keynes' claim that the Lancashire cotton industry failed to restructure because the banks as debt holders prevented firms exiting the industry, creating persistent over-capacity. Using case studies from a substantial sample of Lancashire firms, the article explores archival evidence to establish th...
Chapter
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The “Enron stage of capitalism” illustrates how an accounting scandal, with serious implications for financial reporting and regulation, may also be an exemplar of the political and economic processes governing the evolution of global capitalism.
Article
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The chapter illustrates the benefits of using business history to gain perspective on a significant problem for present day business and regulators: the continuing occurrence of financial fraud and financial scandals. To do so, it presents a conceptual framework of financial fraud based on the historical interaction of opportunity and impediment. I...
Article
We examine the impact of the volume and quality of environmental disclosures in corporate annual reports on the creation and sustenance of firms’ reputation for environmental responsibility, and the extent to which these effects are enhanced by the quality of audit committees. Using a sample of UK FTSE350 companies from 2007-2011, we find evidence...
Article
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The paper examines the role of environmental disclosures and their effect on the accuracy of financial analysts’ forecasts. Specifically it examines and compares the effects of the volume and quality of disclosure. In doing so, it distinguishes between ‘greenwash’ and more specific, quantified and comparable disclosures that have the potential to p...
Article
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The paper argues that by examining accounting’s technical/objective and relational/social characteristics simultaneously, a deeper understanding can be gained of accounting transition at key stages of economic development. Using the case of Boulton & Watt (B&W), a pioneering firm of the British Industrial Revolution (BIR), the paper critiques prior...
Article
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Accounting-based risk management (ABRM) is a theoretically consistent and practical tool for calculating the cost of capital from underlying financial ratios. In this paper, a sample of ABRM-generated discount factors is used to generate risk-adjusted returns, which are compared to CAPM equivalent discount factors. In view of the debates about CAPM...
Article
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The paper re-analyses the evidence presented by pro and anti-regulation interests during the debates on factory reform. To do so it considers the interrelationship between fixed costs, the rate of profit and the length of the working day. The interrelationship casts new light on the lobbying positions on either side of the debate. It does so by com...
Article
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The essay provides a review of Alfred Chandler's contribution to the theory of the firm in his three main works: Strategy and Structure (1962), The Visible Hand (1977) and Scale and Scope (1990). Focusing on the economic components of Chandler's analysis, it examines linkages to subsequent developments in the theory of the firm, including the resou...
Article
Full-text available
This article assesses the validity of John Maynard Keynes' claim that the Lancashire cotton industry failed to restructure because the banks as debt holders prevented firms exiting the industry, creating persistent over-capacity. Using case studies from a substantial sample of Lancashire firms, the article explores archival evidence to establish th...
Article
Recent debates on the industrial revolution have continued to showcase the role of the cotton textile industry. These discussions have centred on the Schumpeterian view of rapid growth based on a disequilibrium model in which capital market imperfections allow innovative firms to restrict entry, thereby earning long run super-normal profits. Neo-cl...
Article
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There has been a substantial debate about the benefits rationalisation might have conferred on British manufacturing during the interwar years. One industry which has featured prominently is the Lancashire cotton-textile industry. This article assesses the validity of John Maynard Keynes’ claim that the industry failed to restructure because the ba...
Article
Full-text available
The paper examines the relationship between managerial share ownership and firm performance for British stock-exchange listed firms. We seek to establish a link between the predictions of agency theory and the corporate control environment using key governance and disclosure thresholds as determinants of the nonlinear relationship between manageria...
Article
The paper examines the relationship between share ownership by boards of British stock exchange listed companies and accrual based earnings management. It provides the first empirical evidence that the relationship is impacted by UK Company Law and the institutional governance framework.We specifically model nonlinear relationships between the equi...
Article
The paper examines an early case of creative accounting, and how, during British industrialization, accounting was enlisted by the manufacturers’ interest to resist demands, led by the ‘Ten hours’ movement, for limiting the working day. In contrast to much of the prior literature, which argues that entrepreneurs made poor use of accounting techniqu...
Article
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The paper uses accounting and stock market data to evaluate the power of protagonists in a political crisis and their respective ability to assert control over disputed assets. It employs a case study of the expropriation of the assets of the AIOC by the Iranian government in 1951. An event study and accounting data analysis show that the stock mar...
Article
Full-text available
Discount factors have a long tradition of being computed using capital market inputs for the estimation of systematic risk. They are of increasing importance in financial accounting, including the valuation of goodwill and other intangibles. In view of the volatility of stock market returns and their inaccuracy and disjunction from the underlying c...
Article
The resetting of the risk management agenda through successive capital accords has had little impact on the ability of many firms to prevent losses which raises concerns as to whether the risk calculation methods applied in the calibration of regulatory capital are fit for purpose. This has been the focus of recent public comment by global regulato...
Article
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The relative efficiency of producer co-operatives is investigated through an examination of the financial performance of a group of cotton spinning firms that emerged from the spread of co-operative ideals after the mid-nineteenth century. Reflecting such influences these firms adopted two particularly important aspects of democratic governance: us...
Article
The paper analyses the role of private equity in restructuring the UK corporate economy. It develops a theoretical synthesis to show that the evolution of the PE industry and firms in which it invested were governed by the relations of corporate governance between investor and investee companies. Effective governance relations were a necessary cond...
Chapter
The essay provides a review of Alfred Chandler's contribution to the theory of the firm in his three main works: Strategy and Structure (1962), The Visible Hand (1977) and Scale and Scope (1990). Focusing on the economic components of Chandler's analysis, it examines linkages to subsequent developments in the theory of the firm, including the resou...
Article
Full-text available
Discount factors have a long tradition of being computed using capital market inputs for the estimation of systematic risk. They are of increasing importance in financial accounting, including the valuation of goodwill and other intangibles. In view of the volatility of stock market returns and their inaccuracy and disjunction from the underlying c...
Article
Full-text available
The paper is organized in six chapters. For all interested readers chapter two contains a detailed explanation of the ABRM technique with numerical illustrations. For academic researchers in particular, chapter three provides a detailed discussion of the research methodology. For the corporate investment decision maker, financial analyst and financ...
Article
A new conceptualization of corporate social responsibility (CSR) is presented as a means of asserting and maintaining corporate control in the face of political, economic, and social challenges. The Anglo-Iranian Oil Company (AIOC) applied different strategies to maintain control of its Iranian assets in the face nationalist demands—political and c...
Article
A new conceptualization of corporate social responsibility (CSR) is presented as a means of asserting and maintaining corporate control in the face of political, economic, and social challenges. The Anglo-Iranian Oil Company (AIOC) applied different strategies to maintain control of its Iranian assets in the face nationalist demands - political and...
Article
The relative efficiency of producer cooperatives is investigated through an examination of the financial performance of a group of cotton spinning firms that emerged from the spread of cooperative ideals after the mid nineteenth century. Reflecting such influences these firms adopted two particularly important aspects of democratic governance: use...
Article
The refinancing of PFI (Private Finance Initiative) projects represents one of the most contentious aspects of Public Private Partnerships (PPPs) in the UK. The negative publicity associated with UK PFI refinancing deals is associated with several factors, including, evidence of massive private sector profit making, the failure of private sector fi...
Article
The question of how an individual firm's social and environmental performance impacts its firm risk has not been examined in any empirical UK research. Does a company that strives to attain good environmental performance decrease its market risk or is environmental performance just a disadvantageous cost that increases such risk levels for these fi...
Article
In the very first edition of Business History T.S Ashton described economic history as 'the parent study', arguing that business history's principal role was to highlight micro-economic perspectives. Much has happened in the intervening 52 years to undermine this view. Indeed, business history would now claim to be a discipline in its own right, wi...
Article
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Predictions from dominant strands of the management strategy and business history literature suggest that the adoption of the multi-divisional form is associated with corporate success. There is theoretical support for this contention and, in certain non-British contexts and historical periods, also some confirmatory evidence. To examine the relati...
Article
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During the past decade, companies operating in environmentally and political sensitive areas have placed increasing emphasis on corporate social responsibility (CSR) and corporate social disclosure (CSD). While there is clear evidence that the amount of ‘socially’ relevant information reported within the annual reports of most companies has increas...
Article
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The objective of this article is to compare the United States and British systems of business organisation and corporate governance during the last 50 years. Of particular interest is the contrasting relationship between governance systems and the pursuit of diversification and refocusing strategies. In order to explain these relationships, a theor...
Article
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Using the example of the creation of corporate environmental reputation, the article offers a theoretical extension of the resource-based view of the firm to include quality signalling via the channel of accounting disclosure. The proposed framework is then tested via an empirical survey into the relationship between environmental disclosure and en...
Article
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Purpose This paper aims to argue that the principal components of the Resource‐Based View (RBV) as a theory of sustained competitive advantage are not a sufficient basis for a complete and consistent theory of firm behaviour. Two missing elements are value theory and accountability mechanisms. Design/methodology/approach The paper proposes a link...
Article
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This article uses accounting concepts to assist the field of strategic management in its search for a theory of value, competitive advantage and superior profitability. Specifically, it argues that the resource-based view of the firm requires a labour theory of value creation. Using the circuit of capital as an organizing framework this article int...
Article
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The paper offers a new perspective on the management and accounting practices at this pioneering firm of the British industrial revolution. Using a historical materialist approach, it offers an alternative to the economic rationalist, Foucauldian and Marxist explanations in the prior literature. Based on preliminary archival research, it shows how...
Article
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The paper introduces the notion of different methods of calculating and analysing profitability as signatures of capitalism at different stages of development. Its point of departure is Bryer's thesis of the capitalist mentality, which is subject to theoretical and empirical critique and developed in new directions. Interactions between the develop...
Article
The paper responds to Stefano Harney's critique, ‘Accounting, Risk and Revolution’ and in doing so offers a further extension of Toms (2006, 2010) perspective on labour rents and capitalist risk. Harney's challenge, to ask what is left out of critical accounting's account of risk, is an important one. Therefore the social rent–risk (SRR) hypothesis...
Article
The article offers a defence of business history and responds to the suggestion from Taylor et al.(2009) that it should engage more with reflexive historiography and in particular with the work of the continental philosopher, Paul Ricoeur. We argue that such an engagement would not be helpful to business history in general, and would not address th...
Book
Full-text available
The research project analysed the role and effectiveness of LIFT via a multi-method study which included semi-structured interviews with policy elites and users, as well as case studies and an exploratory analysis of the financial characteristics of three LIFT Companies. While the team felt that it was able to identify key aspects relating to the a...
Article
The paper sets out a theoretical model linking stock market financial risk to labour market conditions, including labour intensity and the risk arising from the specification of labour contracts. A value added analysis is conducted combining national and firm level accounts data to examine the relationship between the share of value and the share o...
Article
The financial crisis has awoken financial service organizations to the reality that when financial transactions enter their operating environments they trigger real time risk exposures that can go well beyond nominal transaction values, capital charges and other measures deemed appropriate for preventing unexpected losses. Traditional risk accounti...
Article
The paper examines the determinants of corporate social disclosure (CSD) using a sample drawn from environmentally sensitive industries. It extends the traditional literature in two respects. First, it is international in scope, examining the accounting disclosure responses of multi-national companies to the pressures implied by the nature and scop...
Article
Full-text available
The paper introduces the notion of different methods of calculating and analysing profitability as signatures of capitalism at different stages of development. Interactions between the development of the productive forces and the socialisation of capital ownership jointly impact on these signatures, such that profit calculations are historically co...
Article
The paper examines the determinants of corporate social disclosure (CSD) using a sample drawn from environmentally sensitive industries. It extends the traditional literature in two respects. First, it is international in scope, examining the accounting disclosure responses of multi-national companies to the pressures implied by the nature and scop...
Article
Full-text available
[First Paragraphs] As political history is signposted by decisive battles and the rise and fall of great leaders, so the history of finance is marked by speculative booms and busts. From the failure of the futures market in Dutch tulips in the seventeenth century, to the South Sea Bubble of 1720, and more recently the Wall Street crash and, more re...
Article
The book presents a history of the most influential financial Centers, "the capitals of capital." Youseff Cassis evaluates the significance of these Centers by examining their concentration of financial services, their capacity to process surplus capital, particularly its export, and their role in the intermediation of financial transactions. Their...
Article
CassisYouseff. Capitals of Capital: A History of International Financial Centres, 1780–2005. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006. xiv + 385 pp. ISBN 13-978-0-521-84535-9, $40.00. - Volume 9 Issue 1 - Steven Toms
Article
Using information collected by the National Audit Office, a comparison of several aspects of performance on recent Private Finance Initiative (PFI) contracts is conducted. The first aspect is a sector by sector comparison of refinancing profits, bearing in mind differential risk levels and in house expertise when negotiating contracts. Secondly pro...
Article
Full-text available
The Private Finance Initiative (PFI) and Local Improvement Finance Trust (LIFT) were both introduced by the UK government as part of a drive to improve public service provision. Both PFI and LIFT focus on leveraging the key strengths of the public and private sectors when developing new facilities. This paper does not seek to question the need for...
Article
Full-text available
The article presents a history of the Lancashire cotton textile industry from the perspective of decision-making entrepreneurs as embedded historical actors, in contradistinction to the economics-based counterfactuals that dominate the recent historiography of the industry.A simulation approach is used to recreate the decision- making parameters fa...

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