Teaching the concept of decision-usefulness, and accounting as a technical, social and moral practice: the case of COVID-19 “case number” reporting

Shannon I.L. Sidaway, Daniela Juric, Craig Deegan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to demonstrate how teaching broader accounting concepts through real life non-financial case study information (such as COVID-19 case reporting) can assist students understanding accounting’s technical, social and moral perspectives. Accounting education and practice has traditionally focussed on the technical aspects of accounting and has situated accounting within a financial context. Design/methodology/approach: This exploratory study uses content analysis of COVID-19 case and death numbers reported by several international health reporting agencies. This study does not set out to provide a detailed technical or comparative jurisdictional analysis of the decision-usefulness of COVID-19 information. Rather, this study looks at the “decision-usefulness” of the COVID-19 case and death number information, and provides examples that educators can draw upon for inspiration when showing how the qualitative characteristics of decision-useful information can be applied to non-financial information. This study also highlights, by use of a “novel data set”, the technical, social and moral aspects of accounting. Findings: This study finds that the COVID-19 pandemic provides an opportunity for accounting education by positioning the qualitative characteristics of decision-useful information beyond a financial context. The exploration of accounting within this setting effectively demonstrates that accounting has “technical”, “social” and “moral” dimensions. Originality/value: This paper fulfils an identified need to include teaching of decision-usefulness of non-financial information in the accounting curriculum to ensure that future professional accountants possess technical and professional competency skills.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)121-140
Number of pages20
JournalMeditari Accountancy Research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 7 Feb 2023


  • Accounting as a technical, social and moral practice
  • Accounting education
  • COVID-19 case and death number reporting
  • Decision-usefulness
  • Non-financial information

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