Professor Adam Leaver

Management School

Chair in Accounting and Society
+44 114 222 3360

Full contact details

Professor Adam Leaver
Management School
Room C061
Sheffield University Management School
Conduit Road
S10 1FL

Adam Leaver is Professor in Accounting & Society and Director of the Centre for Research on Accounting and Finance in Context (CRAFIC). Prior to that he was Professor in Financialization and Management at the University of Manchester.

Adam’s primary research interest is in the financialization of the firm. His recent work examines the dimensions of time and space in accounting and finance across a number of projects:

A first examines the role of the accounting regime in facilitating higher shareholder distributions by allowing managers to pull income forward in time.

A second explores the tension between an accounting regime which discounts the future, and an impending ecological disaster whose costs are exponential; and whether it is possible to reimagine the temporality of financial reporting to bring forward green investments.

A third analyses and visualises the changing social networks within financial services across space and time.

A fourth tries to understand the different calculative frames and speeds of accumulation in city-region development.

Adam is interested in novel methodological combinations which allow social-constructivist such as forensic follow-the-money accounting and social network analysis to explore His work appears in leading international peer-reviewed journals including Work, Employment & Society, British Journal of Management, Organization, Economy & Society, Critical Perspectives in Accounting, Review of International Political Economy, New Political Economy and The Journal of Cultural Economy.

Adam currently holds an ESRC open call grant to investigate Manchester as a ‘centripetal city’ and a Luminate grant to examine audit failure and audit reform. He was also ISRF Political Economy Research Fellow 2017-18.

Research interests

Adam's current research interests include:

  • using social network analysis methods to map the social relationships that underlie certain complex securities markets
  • developing a relational theory of the firm to understand the impact of financialization in the corporate sphere
  • exploring the inter-temporal transfers and tensions that arise as a consequence of financialization
  • theorising the relations between accounting and the built environment.


Journal articles


  • Leaver AD (2018) Crowding out investment, disgorging the social settlement: financialisation and the search for sinecures in a failed free market experiment In Berry C (Ed.), What We Really Mean When We Talk About Industrial Strategy View this article in WRRO RIS download Bibtex download
  • Leaver AD, Engelen E, Erturk I, Froud J & Williams K (2017) Reconceptualizing financial innovation: frame, conjuncture, bricolage In Erturk I & Gabor D (Ed.), The Routledge Companion to Banking Regulation and Reform (pp. 111-134). Oxford: Routledge. RIS download Bibtex download
  • Froud J, Johal S, Leaver A & Williams K (2017) Financialized Business Models and the Corporation, The Corporation (pp. 291-302). RIS download Bibtex download
  • Leaver AD (2015) The Metropolitanisation Of Gains, The Nationalisation Of Losses In Christensen J (Ed.), The Greatest Invention – Tax and the Campaign for a Just Society (pp. 220-223). Common Wealth Publishing / Tax Justice Network RIS download Bibtex download
  • Leaver AD, Bowman A, Froud J, Johal S & Williams K (2015) Reframing Industrial Policy In Bailey D, Cowling K & Tomlinson P (Ed.), New Perspectives On Industrial Policy For A Modern Britain (pp. 60-78). Oxford: Oxford University Press. RIS download Bibtex download
  • Froud J, Leaver A, Tampubolon G & Williams K (2008) Everything for sale: how non-executive directors make a difference, REMEMBERING ELITES (pp. 162-186). RIS download Bibtex download
  • Leaver A () The Temporalities Of Financialized Accounting In Vollmer H (Ed.), The Handbook of Accounting In Society Edward Elgar Publishing RIS download Bibtex download
  • Leaver A () Financialization In Bozkurt O, Finn R, Granter E, Hunter C, Kivinen N, McCann L & Wierman B (Ed.), Encyclopedia of Critical Management Studies Edward Elgar Publishing RIS download Bibtex download
  • Leaver AD, Haslam C & Tsitsianis N () Global Wealth Chains & Public Utilities In Seabrooke L & Wigan D (Ed.), Global Wealth Chains Oxford: Oxford University Press. View this article in WRRO RIS download Bibtex download


  • Brackley J, Jose T, Leaver A & Tischer D (2023) Audit failure in the UK energy supply industry RIS download Bibtex download
  • Goulding R, Leaver A & Silver J (2022) Manchester Offshored: A Public Interest Report on the Manchester Life Partnership Between Manchester City Council + The Abu Dhabi United Group RIS download Bibtex download
  • Fernandez R, Klinge T, Leaver A & Linsi L (2022) Pay and the Pandemic: The decoupling of Dutch boardroom pay from performance during the Covid-19 outbreak RIS download Bibtex download
  • Leaver A & Murphy R (2021) How To Estimate Distributable Reserves RIS download Bibtex download
  • Leaver A, Baker A, Haslam C, Murphy R, Seabrooke L, Stausholm S & Wigan D (2020) Against Hollow Firms: Repurposing The Corporation For A More Resilient Economy View this article in WRRO RIS download Bibtex download
  • Leaver A & Murphy R (2020) Financial Engineering And The Productivity Crisis View this article in WRRO RIS download Bibtex download
  • Leaver A, Seabrooke L, Stausholm S & Wigan D (2020) Auditing With Accountability: Shrinking The Opportunity Spaces For Audit Failure View this article in WRRO RIS download Bibtex download
  • Barbera F, Barnet O, Bassens D, Bifulco L, Bowman A, Calafati L, Dagnes J, de Boeck S, de la Cuesta M, Earle J , Engelen E et al (2020) What Comes after the Pandemic? A Ten-Point Platform for Foundational Renewal View this article in WRRO RIS download Bibtex download
  • Leaver AD (2018) Written evidence from Professor Adam Leaver1 (LCC 43) View this article in WRRO RIS download Bibtex download


Research group

Centre for Research into Accounting and Finance in Context (CRAFiC)

Date Funding Body Title Grant Value Principal Investigator Co-Investigators
2020 Independent Research Fund Denmark TIME MIRROR: Accounting for the Green Transition Approx. £1.4 Mil. Thomas Riise Johansen, Copenhagen Business School Adam Leaver; Len Seabrooke (CBS); Caroline Pontoppidian (CBS); Richard Murphy (CAN)
2020 ESRC Inside And Outside The Centripetal City: The Implications Of Manchester’s Property-Led Regeneration For The Northern Powerhouse Agenda £572,516, all allocated to Sheffield. Adam Leaver Jon Silver
2020 Luminate 'Building An International Centre for Audit and Accounting Reform' £150,000 approximately, of which £45,000 for Sheffield Adam Leaver Richard Murphy (CAN); Duncan Wigan (CBS)
2020 ESRC/Productivity Insights Network Rethinking Capital Allocation In A Context of Financialization: Producing An Index Of High Productivity/Low Financial Engineering Firms For Investors £49k, all allocated to Sheffield Adam Leaver  
2019 ESRC/Productivity Insights Network Financialization & Productivity £10k, all attributable to Sheffield Adam Leaver  
2019 Luminate ‘Conflicts of Interest in the Auditing Sector’ £65k; of which roughly 2/5ths were allocated to Sheffield Adam Leaver Leonard Seabrooke &
Duncan Wigan (Copenhagen Business School)
2019 ISRF ‘A Network For Lemons, Phase I’ £14k, all attributable to Sheffield Adam Leaver  
2018 ISRF ‘A Theory Of The Financialized Firm’ £60k, split 50/50 between Sheffield and University of Oslo Adam Leaver/Keir Martin  
Teaching interests

Adam's teaching is research-led and uses 'follow-the-money' methods to explore contemporary economic issues.

His teaching uses case studies drawn from his research to illustrate broader economic themes and issues, with a strong social responsibility theme.

In the past this has included accounting analysis of outsourcers, pharmaceutical firms, banks, supermarkets, water companies, car manufacturers, new economy retailers and football clubs.

This approach allows students to enhance their practical accounting skills with topical and relevant cases, whilst as well as developing the transferable skills of critical reflection and independent thought.

PhD supervision

Adam is available to supervise PhD students in the following areas:

  1. Critical accounting using 'follow-the-money' methods
  2. Financialization
  3. Heterodox economic/accounting approaches to financial crisis
  4. Economic sociology of finance