The evolution of accounting in the Solomon Islands: an interpretative study on the impact of culture
Understanding the impact of culture on the practice of accountancy in businesses in indigenous settings is important. In many indigenous societies such as the Pacific islands, local businesses struggle to adopt the western concept of accounting that is often not aligned with the local value systems and customs that exist. This study seeks to investigate the cultural influences affecting the evolution of accounting across businesses in the Solomon Islands. The study takes on the phenomenological approach of cultural studies in accounting drawing on the life experiences of individuals and groups who have been at the forefront of this development. Participants included business owners and operators, four of the long-standing local businesses and several persons in the accounting profession in Solomon Islands. The study concludes by making two key contributions to the literature. The first is the empirical contribution to the Pacific Islands business literature and the second includes contributions to cultural studies in the development and practice of accountancy in indigenous settings. The findings have been analysed based on two central themes which are related to culture and its influence on accounting evolution in the Solomon Islands. The themes highlight that culture significantly affects the evolution of accounting in the Solomon Islands in two ways. The first is related to how colonialism affected the mentality of local business owners insofar as their willingness to adopt and practice accounting. The second relates to how the western individualistic framework, that is the basis of the various concepts and principles of accounting, clash with the values and customs that exist in the local Solomon Island business environment. The cultural effect on the evolution of accounting in the Solomon Islands has been to act as a barrier to its adoption and effectiveness in practice.