Sara Closs-Davies

Division: Accounting

Location: Room 0.02, Hen Goleg

Telephone: 01248 388163

Email: s.closs-davies@bangor.ac.uk

Lecturer in Accounting (Welsh Medium)

FCCA, CTA, MRes, PGCertHE (Bangor University), FHEA, PhD candidate (Bangor University)

Personal profile

I am a Fellow member of the Association of Chartered and Certified Accountants (ACCA) and member of the Chartered Institute of Taxation (CIOT). I am also a Lecturer in Accounting and taxation for undergraduate and postgraduate programmers and Researcher in Accounting at Bangor University.

I was appointed as a Welsh-medium Lecturer in Accounting in 2013, fully funded by the Coleg Cymraeg Cenedlaethol. The Coleg Cymraeg Cenedlaethol aims to increase and develop the Welsh-medium provision in Higher Education across all Welsh Universities. Before this, (between 2008 and 2013) I was a lecturer in accounting and taxation, teaching both undergraduate and postgraduate modules through the medium of English. In addition, I was a tutor on the ACCA (Association of Chartered and Certified Accountants) professional course programmes, teaching taxation, advanced taxation and corporate reporting to trainee accountants. Providing and facilitating space to deliver and maintain high quality teaching and learning is very important to me. I record teaching sessions using Panopto so that students have access to this crucial learning resource outside of the lecture room. I have also delivered several sessions on using Information Technology, such as Panopto and SmartBoard, to other lecturers in order to enhance teaching and learning in higher education at Bangor University and the Coleg Cymraeg Cenedlaethol.

Prior to my academic career, I have several years’ experience of working in the accountancy and taxation industry. I owned and managed an accountancy firm offering accountancy services, taxation advice and planning to businesses, individuals and professionals of other accountancy firms. I managed tax enquiry cases (personal and business) and coordinated and managed a busy tax department at an accountancy firm, where I was also Training Officer and Mentor for accountancy and taxation staff.

I embarked on a career in academia in 2008. My research is multidisciplinary and transcends across several disciplines to include: accounting, public management & administration and taxation. My research focuses on the role of accounting in public administration. In particular, I examine the tax credit and universal credit systems by examining the interactions between policy-makers, government officials, claimants and the general public. There is a growing interest in welfare programs, given the current economic and political climate. There is an increased movement towards having welfare programs which encourage people to work and to top-up low-income families. My work also explores how power relations are formed, maintained and change within society; and how power can constitute and persuade audiences to accept a particular version of reality through accounting technologies. My work is interdisciplinary and encompasses the development of conceptual and theoretical frameworks, adopting a critical interpretive approach, developing and applying ethnography, grounded theory and critical discourse analysis. I draw from my background in research and accounting (MRes and current PhD in accounting; ACCA and CIOT professional) and real-life experiences stemming from my work in practice since 1997.

In addition to my research, I hold several important roles at Bangor University. In addition to being an undergraduate and postgraduate Lecturer in Accounting and Taxation, I am a Teaching Fellow at Bangor University, PGCertHE Examiner and Fellow Higher Education Academy Reviewer Panel Member. I am also a tutor on the ACCA (Association of Chartered and Certified Accountants) professional course programmes.

I also hold key roles outside of Bangor University. I serve as Treasurer for the British Accounting and Finance Association (BAFA): Interdisciplinary Perspectives Special Interest Group (SIG). I also serve as Auditor for the Conference of Professors of Accounting and Finance (CPAF). I am also a steering committee member for the Tax Research Network (TRN).  I am External Examiner for the BA (Hons) Professional Studies in Taxation degree at Manchester Metropolitan University. I am also an External Associate Member for the Centre on Household Assets and Savings Management (CHASM) at Birmingham University.

My awards include Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (FHEA) (UK); Bangor University Teaching Fellowship (UK); Nominated for Teacher of the Year category, by the Students’ Union and the Student Led Teaching Awards Panel (UK); 5-year Lectureship in Accounting (Welsh Medium) funded by the Coleg Cymraeg Cenedlaethol (UK); and 5-year Welsh Medium Postgraduate Scholarship in Accounting from Coleg Cymraeg Cenedlaethol (UK).

Further information and details are provided below:

Roles within Bangor Business School

  • Lecturer in Taxation
  • Lecturer in Accounting (Welsh medium)
  • Open Day Officer Welsh-medium (2015)
  • Higher Education Academy (HEA) Fellowship Panel member (2014)
  • Higher Education Academy (HEA) Fellowship Reviewer (2014)
  • Teaching Mentor for the Centre for Excellence in Learning and Teaching (CELT)
  • Teaching Fellow of Bangor University
  • Leader and co-ordinator for the provision of teaching Accounting and Finance through the medium of Welsh in Wales
  • PGCertHE Examinations Panel Member
  • PGCertHE Examiner
  • Personal Tutor
  • Representing Bangor University in the media regarding taxation and government budgetary issues

Teaching since 2013

Undergraduate

  • Taxation (English) (ASB-3212)
  • Trethiant (Taxation) (ADB-3212)
  • Cyfrifeg Ariannol (Financial Accounting) (ACB-2504)
  • Cyfrifeg Reolaeth ac Ariannol (Management and Financial Accounting) (ACB-1110)

Postgraduate

  • International Taxation: Policy and Practice

Teaching before 2013

Undergraduate

  • Taxation (English) (ASB-3212)
  • Taxation (developing and delivering Welsh workshops) (ASB-3212)
  • Management and Financial Accounting (developing and delivering Welsh workshops) (ASB-1110)
  • Financial Statement Analysis (ASB-3208)

Postgraduate

  • Financial Analysis (ASB-4406)

Teaching on Professional Courses: ACCA (Association of Chartered and Certified Accountants)

  • Advanced Taxation paper P6
  • Taxation paper F6
  • Corporate Reporting paper P2

Research interests

  • Accounting
  • Accounting as a technology of governance
  • Public administration
  • Welfare benefit systems
  • Taxation

Working papers

  • “How does the HMRC affect the financial hardship of claimants? A critical discourse analysis of targeting in the UK tax credits system” (co-authors: Doris Merkl-Davies & Koen Bartels)
  • "A Conceptual Framework of Tax Credits: The Claimant’s Perspective" (co-authors: Doris Merkl-Davies & Lynn Hogkinson)
  • "Tax credits: Does the HMRC increase the financial hardship of claimants?" (co-authors: Doris Merkl-Davies & Koen Bartels)

Awards, grants & achievements

  • Centre for the Enhancement of Learning and Teaching (CELT) Associate award
  • Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (FHEA)
  • Bangor University Teaching Fellowship (2013)
  • Nominated for Teacher of the Year category, by the Students’ Union and the Student Led Teaching Awards Panel (2013)
  • 5-year Lectureship in Accounting (Welsh Medium) funded by the Coleg Cymraeg Cenedlaethol (2013)
  • 5-year Welsh Medium Postgraduate Scholarship in Accounting from Coleg Cymraeg Cenedlaethol (2011)

Other roles

  • Tax Examinations Co-ordinator for The Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) (2017).
  • Main committee board member & Tax Benefit sub-group committee board member for the Low Incomes Tax Reform Group (LITRG) of The Chartered Institute of Taxation (CIOT), UK.
  • International and UK Tax Co-ordinator for the Association of Chartered and Certified Accountants (ACCA)
  • External Associate Member for the Centre on Household Assets and Savings Management (CHASM) at Birmingham University (2016 onwards)
  • Auditor for the Conference of Professors of Accounting and Finance (CPAF)
  • Treasurer for British Accounting and Finance Association (BAFA): Interdisciplinary Perspectives Special Interest Group (SIG) (2013)
  • Member of the steering committee for the Tax Research Network (TRN) (2012)

Invited research seminars

Tax Administration Research Centre (TARC) Research Seminar Series, University of Exeter Business School, 13 November 2015

CHASM research seminar series, Department of Social Policy and Social Work, The University of Birmingham, 2 December 2015

Invited research-based workshops

Workshop delivered to HMRC senior officials, January 2017

Conference presentations

  • Presentation at the BAFA (British Accounting and Finance Association) Annual Academic Conference, University of Bath, 21-23 March 2016
  • Presentation at the Tax Research Network Annual (TRN) Conference, Hull, September 2015. 
  • Presentation at the Interpretive Policy Analysis (IPA) International Annual Conference, Lille, France, July 2015.
  • Presentation at the Tax Administration Research Centre (TARC), Exeter, April 2015.
  • Presentation at the BAFA (British Accounting and Finance Association) Annual Academic Conference, Manchester, 23-25 March 2015
  • Presentation at the BAFA (British Accounting and Finance Association) Annual Academic Conference, London, 14-16 April 2014
  • Presentation at the BAFA (British Accounting and Finance Association) Annual Doctoral Conference, London, 13-14 April 2014
  • Poster presentation at Her Majesty‚Äôs Revenue and Customs (HMRC) & The Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) International Conference on Taxation Analysis and Research, HM Treasury, Parliament, London, 20 January 2014
  • Presentation at the joint conference of the BAFA (British Accounting and Finance Association) North West Group and the Interdisciplinary Perspectives Special Interest Group), Nottingham, 9-10 September 2013
  • Presentation at the TRN (Tax Research Network) Annual Doctoral Colloquium and Academic Conference, Exeter, 2-4 September 2013
  • Presentation at the Accounting & Finance Colloquium, Gregynog, 13-15 May 2013
  • Presentation at the BAFA (British Accounting and Finance Association) Annual Doctoral and Academic Conference, Newcastle-Upon-Tyne, 8-11 April 2013
  • Presentation at the Tax Research Network Annual Conference, Roehampton, London, 5-7 September 2012
  • Presentation at the Accounting and Finance Annual Colloquium, Gregynog, Wales, 23-25 May 2012.

Briefing papers

“How does the HMRC affect the financial hardship of claimants? A critical discourse analysis of power asymmetries in the UK tax credits system”, The Centre on Household Assets and Savings Management (co-authors: Dr. Koen Bartels and Dr. Doris Merkl-Davies), accessible at: http://www.birmingham.ac.uk/research/activity/social-policy/chasm/publications/briefing-papers.aspx

Published articles

'Fixing HMRC's performance management system could benefit vulnerable claimants as well as staff', Civil Service World, 12 January 2017: http://www.civilserviceworld.com/articles/opinion/fixing-hmrcs-performance-management-system-could-benefit-vulnerable-claimants-well

External Examiner

HM Revenue and Customs BA (Hons) Professional Studies in Taxation, Manchester Metropolitan University, 2016-2019