Wild about accounting

Dr. Lisa Powell

Wild about accounting

Leveraging her deep connection with nature, Dr Lisa Powell is challenging the accounting status quo to prepare students for the greatest challenge of our time – climate change.

Dr Lisa Powell has always struggled with the deeply human-centred approach of traditional accounting and business studies.

And so, the long-time animal rescue volunteer reshaped her teaching practice based on the concept of ‘rewilding’ – a form of conservation that decentralises human intervention to restore ecosystems and mitigate climate change.

“Responding to the climate crisis requires an interdisciplinary approach, the ability to think holistically, and an understanding of complex ecological systems,” Dr Powell says.

“My work in rewilding accounting education is an extension of my passion for the natural world.”

Her ecocentric curricula recognises the complex interrelationships between humans, animals and the natural environment, and aims to foster the skills required to address climate change.

“Through rewilding accounting education, students learn that accounting can contribute to addressing the global crisis in ways they may not have considered before,” she says.

“This involves acknowledging the role of humans in broader ecosystems, and understanding that accounting is more than technical practice, it extends to the wider socio-ecological context.”

"My work in rewilding accounting education is an extension of my passion for the natural world."

Her rewilding learning interventions include reflecting on the missing component of accounting – animals and natural environment – through interdisciplinary perspectives that learn with and from nature.

Dr Powell says collaboration is essential to effect change, and she works together with colleagues across Monash Business School and San Francisco State University and has been invited to collaborate with universities in the UK, Colombia and Malaysia.

She also shares her work widely at national and international conferences.

“I’ve received invitations to present my rewilding accounting education work at the 2021 research seminar series at Audencia University, France and as guest speaker at the National University of Colombia for National Day of Accountants in March 2022,” she says.

Dr Powell says she feels exhilarated by new opportunities for creating change after winning a Monash Business School 2021 Dean's Award for Teaching Excellence.

“It’s my own sense of purpose and knowing that I can make a difference, however small, that keeps me motivated to continue this work,” she says.

“I hope to inspire students to find what it is that they are deeply passionate about, so that they can harness that passion and use their skills gained to make meaningful change when they go on to become the business leaders of the future.”