Integrated reporting using the IIRC framework: a UK perspective

Research student spotlight | Elizabeth Middleton, PhD


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I have worked in accounting all of my life, achieving my Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) qualification in 2012 for which I became a fellow in 2017. This enabled me to start my new passion of researching so I was able to enrol to do my Masters in accounting, which I undertook at Leeds Beckett and achieved in 2013.

  • PhD title: An investigation into integrated reporting using the IIRC Framework: A UK perspective
  • Supervisors: Dr Moada Shubita and Dr Fiona Robertson 

Tell us a bit about yourself and your path into your PhD program

I previously enrolled to do my PhD, but due to ill health I had to leave after just a year. I was determined that I would not give up on my dream, so in 2020 I made changes to my life to allow me to use more of my limited energy to start my PhD once again. I was lucky that I had previously worked with Fiona and Moade so I was able to submit a new proposal and be accepted on to the course in October 2020. 

Why did you choose Leeds Beckett?

I am familiar with Leeds Beckett with doing my Masters here, but more importantly, having the support of my supervisor (Fiona) and my director of studies (Moade) made me want to come back to Leeds Beckett. Having a good relationship with your supervisors I feel is the most important part of this six-year journey I am on.

I have always found the facilities within Leeds Beckett to be excellent too. The library and IT staff I have to say are some of the most helpful people I have known.

What is your research about and what you makes you passionate about it?

Looking at corporate financial statements and seeing any correlations between the International Integrated Reporting Council (IIRC) framework on financial and non-financial information, and the quality and comparability of the information reported.

I would not be able to do my research if I did not have an accounting background. I think it’s important to study an area you have much knowledge in and you are passionate about.

I have been working in accounts for 30 years now and have done everything associated with financial and management accounting. I have always worked in industry rather than practice and I feel this makes me see the true issue and difficulties with corporate reporting. I also feel when scandals hit that it puts a negative jab at all of us. Accounting should be solid enough that these things are not allowed to happen. My passion is to try and make financial reporting the best it can be, where transparency and trust go hand in hand. Where an issue like agency theory due to information asymmetry is a thing of the past.

What has been your favourite experience at Leeds Beckett? How would you reflect on your time as a postgraduate researcher at Leeds Beckett?

I am probably one of the only people who has welcomed remote learning. As a disabled student I only have so much energy in a day and a week to do the most important tasks in my life. Being able to view conferences and training online has been truly wonderful and I do hope the university looks at the positive outcomes studying from home has had on some students.

I also feel that when I am looking at non-financial reporting I am looking at issues related to climate and global warming; how much carbon has been saved by not having to travel. I know this does not help everyone but I am especially grateful for it.

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