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Professor Joanne Horton

Professor Joanne Horton

Professor of Accounting


+44 (0) 1392 722535

Xfi Building, University of Exeter, Rennes Drive, Exeter, EX4 4ST, UK

Joanne Horton joined the Business School here Exeter in October 2009. She was formerly a Senior Lecturer at the London School of Economics, in the Department of Accounting.

Joanne graduated with a PhD from the University of Wales, Aberystwyth, and went on to work for KPMG in London. She was also awarded a Research Fellowship by the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales. Joanne specialized in accounting for banks and insurance companies and has worked for the OECD in training former Soviet countries (e.g. Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania) in the art of insurance reporting.

Joanne has published extensively in leading academic journals and was recently commissioned by the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales on behalf of the EU Commission to investigate the impact of International Financial Reporting Standards on EU countries.

Joanne’s current research activity involves investigation of the effects of social networking on certain corporate governance mechanisms and corporate disclosure e.g. impact of networks on analysts forecast accuracy, impact of executive and non-executive connectedness on their remuneration package, and the impact of networks on corporation’s level of communication with the market.

Nationality: British


PhD, MPhil, BSc (Econ)

Research clusters

Research interests

  • Issues relating to financial reporting
  • Financial institutions
  • Social Network Theory: Impacts on financial market participants

Social network research: A fundamental feature of today’s corporate world is the multi-layered network of connections among organisations; the medium through which resources such as information, funds and coordinated action are mobilised, transferred and shared. It would be virtually impossible for a corporation to operate effectively in isolation from numerous ‘network neighbours’, its supplier, investors, collaborating corporations, auditors, consultants, advisors and others. Arguably, the connections among organisations – their connectedness – are so vital to their functioning that it would not be accurate to say that corporations have networks. Instead, it would be much more accurate that corporations are networks. As such, Professor Horton’s research focuses on these very networks and attempts to offer a new conceptual lens through which corporate governance, e.g. financial reporting, transparency and regulation etc., can be examined and analysed and new insights can be developed.

Insurance reporting: Professor Horton has been investigating how the developments being adopted by listed UK proprietary life insurance companies, in providing experimental, supplementary ‘realistic reporting’, may be regarded as able to satisfy the likely criteria for an international standard for profit reporting in the primary financial statements, based on adoption of an alternative to the traditional, solvency-based, methods. IFRS 4 and FRS27 were issued in 2004 but did not materially alter the existing basis of profit measurement – this is now the objective for ‘Phase II’ on which IASB (supported by ASB) is still currently engaged. The research has involved a uniquely valuable collaboration between the academic researchers and firms representative of the two major professions that are involved in the development of reporting practice. Both the actuarial division of Deloitte (formerly B&W Deloitte, consulting actuaries) and the insurance division of KPMG have collaborated in the project and are contributing sponsorship to the CBP.

Research projects

Selected current research in progress: working papers

  1. Horton, J and Serafeim, G (2009), ‘Security Analyst Networks, Performance and Career Outcomes’, Harvard and Exeter Working Paper, Revise and Resubmit Journal of Finance.
  2. Horton, J., Serafeim, G., and Tuna, I. (2010), ‘Social Networks: The Impact on Firms Information Environment and Corporate Communication’, Exeter, Harvard and LBS Working Paper, Revise and Resubmit, The Accounting Review.

External positions

  • Appointed External Examiner to Lancaster University (2009-2012)
  • LSE Senior Tutorial Fellow

  • Financial reporting: Theory and practice

The course focuses on inter alia: accounting practice and its relation to accounting theory. Conceptual frameworks for corporate financial accounting and reporting. Attempts to improve financial reporting by deriving accounting theories based on principles. Economic concepts of value, wealth and income and their accounting implications by reference to contemporary controversies including those relating to the valuation of liabilities and accounting for pensions.

After completing the course students should have an informed understanding of the way in which corporate reporting is currently changing in the UK and internationally, and of the context and manner in which accounting and reporting issues arise, are defined, are debated and are ‘resolved’ in official pronouncements; an insight into the theoretical and institutional reasons why so many of these issues remain controversial; and an appreciation of why dispute over these issues is not only technical interest to accountants and auditors but, more importantly, is of practical and economic significance to company managers, investors and investment analysts in preparing, using and appraising reports of corporate performance.