Business monitoring and evaluation

How society views businesses, the way they operate, and their effects on people and the environment is changing. It’s a subject that researchers at BCEF are investigating in depth to add to UWE Bristol’s education programme, and to help local businesses improve their practices.

Businesses now have more information than ever to allow them to analyse their own performance and that of their competitors. As well as its own detailed accounts, a business can access huge amounts of external financial data. At the same time, they face pressure to show how they are acting responsibly and contributing to the wellbeing of society.

Financial reporting is closely related to governance, which in turn is linked to a business agenda for Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). How companies balance responsibilities to their shareholders and to society is an issue that has risen to prominence recently. Our researchers are studying the value created by businesses, and the costs and benefits of reputational effects and attitudes on compliance with standards of corporate behaviour.

Business operations in the modern world are more complicated than the traditional model of products or services being created, then marked up for sale. Decisions by management are now being influenced by external factors related to corporate behaviour and how their businesses are viewed by society. The way productivity was used to measure national income historically has little direct relevance to modern organisations.

These shifts have prompted our members to address a range of issues with relevance to the modern world of business: how CSR evolves in newly industrialising countries, how a business identifies its value to society, whether the reliance of governments on the third sector and charities is creating instability in that area; these are topics we are analysing in depth.

Key to our work is that our members engage with organisations outside of UWE Bristol. We train small businesses on how they can understand their value, and understand what drives their productivity and growth. We advise on accountancy, and work with local government and devolved government bodies on business performance in the Bristol region.

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