Belinda Williams

UTAS Home Assoc Prof. Belinda Williams

Belinda Williams

Head of School and Associate Professor

Tasmanian School of Business & Economics

Room D107 , Block D

+61 3 6324 3661 (phone)

This accounting expert is looking beyond financial numbers

Where the industry is headed next.

“Most of my research in the last eight years has gone towards a broadening of accounting beyond just the financial perspective,” says Dr Belinda Williams from the Tasmanian School of Business and Economics, an expert in the fast-expanding area of sustainability reporting.

By focusing on the non-financial aspects of her field, such as environmental reporting, social reporting, and diversity reporting, Dr Williams is part of a movement in accounting that is applying financial principles to other areas of society.

“It’s about moving beyond the numbers, but also encapsulating the numbers, and broadening them to provide a wider perspective,” she explains.

Dr Williams’ interest in non-financial accounting arose during her early PhD work in 2009.

“When I started reading the research on it, it was like opening up another world, because I had just been so focused on numbers,” she explains.

“But there was this accounting academic community that was moving away from the financial focus and looking at a broader perspective – that accounting wasn’t just numbers, and it’s not just looking at profitability. It’s looking across every sphere to bring other aspects in.”

Over the course of her PhD, which she completed in 2011, Dr Williams investigated local council sustainability reporting, and measured whether accountants were getting involved in sustainability reporting in this area.

“I asked the question of whether they were getting involved in local council sustainability reporting, and found that at the time, they were not.”

Since then, Dr Williams has been investigating the ways accountants can move beyond looking purely at profit-and-loss statements, and towards sustainability, diversity, and integrated reporting.

“Accountants can bring a great wealth of experience – we know how to report, so I see accountants as a key part of this process, whether it be sustainability reporting, integrated reporting, or social and environmental reporting,” she says.

Collaborating with Associate Professor Sumit Lodhia from the University of South Australia, Dr Williams is now looking at the role accountants can play in integrated reporting, which attempts to consolidate many aspects of a business – financial, sustainability, strategy, and governance – together into one forward-looking report that assesses value creation in the future.

By working with local councils, Dr Williams is able to measure how the involvement of accountants has changed. And what she’s found is encouraging.

“From my PhD studies, I found that accountants weren’t getting involved in these different dimensions of reporting,” she says. “But what we’re finding now is that accountants are more and more involved in this non-financial reporting realm, which is great.”

According to Dr Williams, one of the main reasons local councils haven’t used accountants in their reporting process in the past is because they just haven’t considered using them. She’s hopeful that her research can change this.

“For so long, accountants have been seen as just bean-counters and number-crunchers,” she says. “But this is actually helping local councils see that accountants can bring the perspective of how to report in a way that is factual and consistent.”

Research that makes a difference

Dr Belinda Williams is the Head of School for Accounting, Economics and Finance in the College of Business and Economics. Belinda is focused on research that seeks to understand and improve organisational accountability to stakeholders. Belinda's work spans sustainability reporting, corporate social responsibility, corporate governance and diversity.


Prior to moving to an academic appointment in 2001, Belinda worked in a number of accounting professional positions spanning a ten-year period. This including working as an accountant at KPMG before taking up a managerial position at the University of Tasmania within the Division of the Chief Operating Officer.

Career summary


DegreeTitle of ThesisUniversityCountryAwarded
PhDAre Local Government Authorities Reporting on Sustainability?University of TasmaniaAustralia2011
MCommAccounting for SGARAs – Has Comparability and Consistency been Achieved?University of TasmaniaAustralia2007
BBus University of TasmaniaAustralia1991


Professional practice

  • Fellow of CPA Australia
  • Fellow of Institute of Public Accountants

Committee associations

  • CPA Divisional council member
  • CPA Northern Regional Network meeting member
  • Editorial Board Member, Meditari Accounting Research
  • Editorial Board Member, Accounting Forum
  • Editorial Board Member, Sustainability Accounting, Management and Policy Journal
  • Gender Policy and Strategy Group UTAS

Administrative expertise

Belinda has held a number of administrative positions over her 20 years in academia. This includes Head of School (current), deputy Head of School, Associate Head, Learning and Teaching, graduate research coordinator, course coordinator for the Bachelor of Business undergraduate degree, research seminar coordinator for the Discipline of Accounting and Corporate Governance,  Faculty Board member and chair of the Accounting Focus Group (external professional/industry stakeholder group).


Financial Accounting, Accounting Theory, Triple Bottom Line

Teaching expertise

Belinda has coordinated and taught across a wide range of units in both the Accounting and the Corporate Governance major with the Tasmanian School of Business and Economics.  This is at both undergraduate and post-graduate level, face-to-face and online. She has developed online units in the areas of Social and Environmental Accounting, Corporate Sustainability and taught for a number of years into one of the UTAS's breadth unit offerings,  'Confronting Sustainability'.

Teaching responsibility

Research Invitations

  • Presentation on Strengthening Governance in our Community (with Dr S Shimeld) at the Tasmanian IPA Congress (2015)
  • Presentation on Accountants and Sustainable Business Practices in SMEs (with A/Prof Sue Hrasky and Prof Gary O'Donovan) at the Tasmanian IPA Congress (2012)

View more on AssocProf Belinda Williams in WARP


  • Sustainability reporting
  • Corporate social responsibility
  • Corporate governance
  • Public sector
  • Workplace diversity
  • Gender diversity
  • Board structures

Research Themes

Belinda's research aligns to two of the University's research themes: Creativity, Culture and Society and Environment, Resources and Sustainability.  Her research interests include sustainability reporting, corporate social responsibility, diversity and corporate governance.


Belinda has a corporate industry background and retains strong links with the corporate community. She has an extensive network of academic colleagues across a range of disciplines that she is in regular contact with through academic forums.  This is enhanced through her role as research seminar coordinator for the Discipline of Accounting and Corporate Governance.

Current projects

Belinda is working on a number of current projects as follows:

  • Corporate governance and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) This project critiques the linkages between corporate governance and CSR from a workplace diversity perspective.
  • Social reporting at the local government level This project examines the levels of social reporting at a local government level using institutional theory.
  • Gender diversity This project focuses on the gender effect at corporate board level in light of the 2010 ASX Corporate Governance Amendments
  • Independent non-executive directors This project provides empirical evidence as to the role changes that have occurred for independent non-executive directors in light of the global financial crises.
  • The role of Breadth units in the curriculum This interdisciplinary project focuses on the recent inclusion of breath units at the University of Tasmania and provides empirical evidence from one of the initial unit offerings
  • Flipped learning techniques This study examines the role of flipped learning techniques as a deep learning approach in a first year accounting undergraduate class.

Fields of Research

  • Financial accounting (350103)

Research Objectives

  • Expanding knowledge in philosophy and religious studies (280119)


Total publications


Journal Article

(17 outputs)
2021Lewis GK, Williams B, Allen S, Goldfarb B, Lyall K, et al., 'Developing an evaluation tool to provide a 360-degree reflection on work-integrated learning in accounting education', Accounting Education pp. 1-20. ISSN 0963-9284 (2021) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1080/09639284.2021.1963994 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 3Web of Science - 2

Co-authors: Lewis GK; Allen S; Goldfarb B; Lyall K; Kling R; Statham P


2021Williams B, Lodhia S, 'Integrated reporting in public sector organisations: A study of Australian local councils', Journal of Environmental Management, 280 pp. 1-8. ISSN 0301-4797 (2021) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1016/j.jenvman.2020.111833 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 2Web of Science - 2


2021Williams B, Lodhia S, Arora MP, McManus L, 'The institutional change in the role of the public sector accountant in facilitating accountability: a longitudinal study of Australian local councils', Managerial Auditing Journal, 36, (2) pp. 314-333. ISSN 0268-6902 (2021) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1108/MAJ-02-2020-2558 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 1Web of Science - 1


2019Lohrey RC, Horner CA, Williams BR, Wilmshurst TD, 'Coming to grips with corporate governance in local government', Australian Journal of Public Administration, 78, (4) pp. 596-612. ISSN 1467-8500 (2019) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1111/1467-8500.12395 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 1Web of Science - 2

Co-authors: Horner CA; Wilmshurst TD


2019Oosthuizen H, Willett R, Wilmshurst T, Williams B, 'The constraining effect of incomplete contracts on the public reporting of waste management data', Australasian Journal of Environmental Management, 26, (4) pp. 370-385. ISSN 1448-6563 (2019) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1080/14486563.2019.1645751 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 1Web of Science - 1

Co-authors: Oosthuizen H; Wilmshurst T


2019Williams B, Horner C, Allen S, 'Flipped v's traditional teaching perspectives in a first year accounting unit: an action research study', Accounting Education, 28, (4) pp. 333-352. ISSN 0963-9284 (2019) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1080/09639284.2019.1609536 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 16Web of Science - 16

Co-authors: Horner C; Allen S


2018Oosthuizen H, Willett R, Wilmshurst T, Williams B, 'Accounting for national waste data: a Southern Tasmania outsourcing perspective', Public Money and Management, 38, (5) pp. 393-402. ISSN 0954-0962 (2018) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1080/09540962.2018.1478495 [eCite] [Details]

Co-authors: Oosthuizen H; Willett R; Wilmshurst T


2017Shimeld SF, Williams B, Shimeld J, 'Diversity ASX corporate governance recommendations: a step towards change?', Sustainability Accounting, Management and Policy Journal, 8, (3) pp. 335-357. ISSN 2040-8021 (2017) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1108/SAMPJ-12-2016-0089 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 8Web of Science - 7

Co-authors: Shimeld SF


2017Williams BR, 'Disability in the Australian workplace: corporate governance or CSR issue', Equality, Diversity and Inclusion, 36, (3) pp. 206-221. ISSN 2040-7149 (2017) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1108/EDI-12-2016-0111 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 8Web of Science - 5


2015Williams B, Bingham S, Shimeld S, 'Corporate Governance, the GFC and independent directors', Managerial Auditing Journal, 30, (4/5) pp. 324-346. ISSN 0268-6902 (2015) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1108/MAJ-05-2014-1030 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 7Web of Science - 6

Co-authors: Bingham S; Shimeld S


2015Williams BR, 'Reporting on sustainability by Australian councils - A communication perspective', Asian Review of Accounting, 23, (2) pp. 186-203. ISSN 1321-7348 (2015) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1108/ARA-12-2013-0079 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 13


2015Williams BR, 'The Local Government Accountants' Perspective on Sustainability', Sustainability Accounting, Management and Policy Journal, 6, (2) pp. 267-287. ISSN 2040-8021 (2015) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1108/SAMPJ-07-2014-0043 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 14Web of Science - 15


2015Williams BR, O'Donovan G, 'The Accountants' Perspective on Sustainable Business Practices in SMEs', Social Responsibility Journal, 11, (3) pp. 641-656. ISSN 1747-1117 (2015) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1108/SRJ-07-2014-0096 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 6

Co-authors: O'Donovan G


2014James AJ, Chin CKH, Williams B, 'Using the flipped classroom to improve student engagement and to prepare graduates to meet maritime industry requirements: A focus on maritime education', WMU Journal of Maritime Affairs, 13, (2) pp. 331-343. ISSN 1651-436X (2014) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1007/s13437-014-0070-0 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 21

Co-authors: James AJ; Chin CKH


2011Williams B, Wilmshurst T, Clift R, 'Sustainability reporting by local government in Australia: Current and future prospects', Accounting Forum, 35, (3) pp. 176-186. ISSN 0155-9982 (2011) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1016/j.accfor.2011.06.004 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 78

Co-authors: Wilmshurst T; Clift R


2009Williams BR, Wilmshurst TD, 'The achievability of sustainable reporting practices in agriculture', Corporate Social Responsibility and Environmental Management, 16, (3) pp. 155-166. ISSN 1535-3958 (2009) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1002/csr.190 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 4Web of Science - 5

Co-authors: Wilmshurst TD


2009Williams BR, Wilmshurst TD, 'Accounting for SGARAs: Towards Comparability and Consistency', Australian Accounting Review, 19, (2) pp. 117-127. ISSN 1035-6908 (2009) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1111/j.1835-2561.2009.00050.x [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 1

Co-authors: Wilmshurst TD


Chapter in Book

(1 outputs)
2020Lodhia S, Kaur A, Williams B, 'Integrated reporting in the public sector', The Routledge Handbook of Integrated Reporting, Routledge, C de Villiers, P-C K Hsiao and W Maroun (ed), United Kingdom, pp. 266-277. ISBN 9780367233853 (2020) [Research Book Chapter]

DOI: 10.4324/9780429279621 [eCite] [Details]

Co-authors: Lodhia S


Conference Publication

(14 outputs)
2014Shimeld JM, Williams Belinda, 'Diversity in a 'chilly climate': difficulties with new ASX Corporate Governance Recommendations', Gender Economics Global Conference, 10 -11th June, Sydney, pp. 1-28. (2014) [Non Refereed Conference Paper]

[eCite] [Details]

Co-authors: Shimeld JM

2013O'Donovan GM, Williams Belinda, 'Small Business and Sustainability: The Accountant's Role', I Love Small Business Seminar, 5th June, Hobart (2013) [Conference Extract]

[eCite] [Details]

Co-authors: O'Donovan GM

2013O'Donovan GM, Williams Belinda, 'Accountants and Sustainable Business Practices in Small to Medium Enterprises', Institute of Public Accountants, Tasmanian Symposium, 19-20th May, Barnbougle Dunes (2013) [Conference Extract]

[eCite] [Details]

Co-authors: O'Donovan GM

2013Williams BR, Bingham SA, Shimeld SF, 'The accountability role of independent directors and the GFC: Evidence from corporate governance disclosures', 12th A-CSEAR Conference, 01 - 03 December 2013, Waikato in Hamilton, New Zealand, pp. 1-22. (2013) [Non Refereed Conference Paper]

[eCite] [Details]

Co-authors: Bingham SA; Shimeld SF

2013Williams Belinda, O'Donovan GM, Hrasky S, 'The Accountants' Perspective on Sustainable Business Practices in SMEs', 12th A-CSEAR Conference, 01 - 03 December 2013, Waikato in Hamilton, New Zealand, pp. 1-17. (2013) [Non Refereed Conference Paper]

[eCite] [Details]

Co-authors: O'Donovan GM; Hrasky S

2012Williams BR, 'Sustainability reporting in local authorities - an interview approach', Proceedings of The RMIT Accounting for Sustainability Conference 2012, 28 May 2012, RMIT University, Melbourne, pp. 1-24. (2012) [Non Refereed Conference Paper]

[eCite] [Details]

2012Williams BR, 'The public sector accountants' perspective on sustainability', Online, 2-4 December 2012, Wollongong, Australia, pp. 1-20. (2012) [Non Refereed Conference Paper]

[eCite] [Details]

2011Williams BR, 'GRI Reporting Guidelines in the Local Government Sector - Are they being utilized?', 10th Australasian Conference on Social and Environmental Accounting Research, 5th - 7th December 2012, Launceston EJ (2011) [Non Refereed Conference Paper]

[eCite] [Details]

2010Conway SL, Wilmshurst TD, Williams BR, 'ASX Guidelines for Disclosure on Company Websites - are Australian Listed Companies conforming?', Conference website, 4-7 December 2010, Charles Sturt University Albury Wodonga EJ (2010) [Non Refereed Conference Paper]

[eCite] [Details]

Co-authors: Conway SL; Wilmshurst TD

2010Conway SL, Wilmshurst TD, Williams BR, 'ASX guidelines for disclosure on Australian company websites. Changing times is the ASX perception of stakeholders information needs met?', Proceedings of the 9th Conference on Social and Environmental Accounting Research (CSEAR), 5-7 December 2010, Albury, Wodonga, pp. 1-17. (2010) [Refereed Conference Paper]

[eCite] [Details]

Co-authors: Conway SL; Wilmshurst TD

2010Williams B, Wilmshurst T, Clift R, 'The role of accountants in sustainability reporting - a local government study', Conference Proceedings, APIRA 2010, 11-13 July 2010, Sydney Australia, pp. 1-18. (2010) [Refereed Conference Paper]

[eCite] [Details]

Co-authors: Wilmshurst T; Clift R


2009Williams B, Wilmshurst T, Clift R, 'Sustainability reporting in local government in Australia - a preliminary analysis', Proceedings of the 8th Australasian Conference on Social and Environment Accounting Research (CSEAR) 2009, 6-8 December 2009, Christchurch, New Zealand, pp. 1-28. (2009) [Refereed Conference Paper]

[eCite] [Details]

Co-authors: Wilmshurst T; Clift R


2006Williams BR, 'Accounting for Biological Assets - An Examination', Proceedings of the 2006 Australasian Business and Behavioural Sciences Association (ABBSA) International Conference, 29 September - 1 October 2006, Adelaide, South Australia EJ ISBN 9780975189221 (2006) [Refereed Conference Paper]

[eCite] [Details]

2006Williams BR, 'Accounting for SGARAs - has comparability and consistency been achieved?', Proceedings of the Asian Academic Accounting Association Conference 2006, 17-19 September , Sydney, Australia EJ ISBN 1741381843 (2006) [Refereed Conference Paper]

[eCite] [Details]



(2 outputs)
2011Williams BR, 'Sustainability Reporting in Local Government Authorities' (2011) [PhD]

[eCite] [Details]

2007Williams BR, 'Accounting for SGARAs' (2007) [Masters Research]

[eCite] [Details]

Other Public Output

(1 outputs)
2014Williams B, Bingham S, Shimeld S, 'Independent Directors in Australia: A Changing landscape?', Institute of Chartered Accountants in Australia, Australia (2014) [Report of Restricted Access]

[eCite] [Details]

Co-authors: Bingham S; Shimeld S

Grants & Funding

Belinda has a funding record in the areas of sustainability, corporate governance and workplace diversity. She is currently working to draw these three areas together for future research funding opportunities.

Funding Summary

Number of grants


Total funding



Assessing the impact of the diversity policy amendment to ASC Corporate Governance Principles 2010 (2013)$10,000
University of Tasmania ($10,000)
Grant-Research Enhancement (REGS)
Administered By
University of Tasmania
Research Team
Shimeld SF; Williams BR
Independent Directors in Australia: A Changing Landscape? (2012)$9,344
Institute of Chartered Accountants in Australia ($9,344)
Administered By
University of Tasmania
Research Team
Williams BR; Shimeld SF; Blackman SA
2012: 11th Australasian Conference on Social and Environmental Accounting Research, Australia (2012)$750
University of Tasmania ($750)
Grant-Conference Support Scheme
Administered By
University of Tasmania
Research Team
Williams BR
Local Government Accountants and Sustainability Reporting - A Mismatch? (2011)$2,150
Accounting & Finance Association of Australia and New Zealand Ltd ($2,150)
Mentoring Developing Researchers
Administered By
University of Tasmania
Research Team
Williams BR; Wilmshurst TD

Research Supervision

Belinda's supervisory experience covers areas including sustainability, corporate governance, accountability and corporate social responsibility. Belinda is interested in hearing from potential higher degree students seeking supervision in any of her research areas.






PhDThe Impact of Family Ownership on Firm Performance: Evidence from the Asia-Pacific Region2021
PhDVolunteer Leadership2021


PhDCorporate Governance in Local Government: Exploring interpretation and practice in Tasmania
Candidate: Robin Claire Lohrey
PhDEssays on Modern Finance and Financial Networks
Candidate: Hamidreza Esmali Falak
PhDInvestigating Organisational Aspects of Cyber Resilience in Large Organisations
Candidate: Seyedehsaba Bagheri
PhDThe Reporting of Non-GAAP Profit Figures in Australia: An impression management perspective
Candidate: Patricia Ann O'Keefe
PhDStakeholder Engagement and Corporate Social and Environmental Reporting: Are companies meeting their accountability obligations?
Candidate: Daria Varenova
PhDOrganisational Legitimacy: The case of the Australian Red Cross
Candidate: Debbie Isabel Wills
PhDAccountability of Australian Local Government Authorities for National Waste Data from Outsourced Services
Candidate: Heinrich Oosthuizen