Purpose The purpose of this paper is to discuss the themes emerging from the first studies exploring accounting, accountability and management practices during the COVID-19 pandemic and coming from a diversity of experiences, across countries, organizations and individuals. In so doing, the paper gives an overview of the most recent findings about the role of accounting and accountability in times of crisis that are hosted in this special issue of Accounting, Auditing and Accountability Journal (AAAJ). Design/methodology/approach The paper draws together and identifies emerging themes related to the current COVID-19 pandemic and its impacts on accounting, accountability and management practices and considers how the studies in this issue extend one's knowledge of accounting and contribute to accounting research. Findings Three emerging themes are drawn and their contribution to accounting scholarship is discussed. The first theme deals with the role of accounting and numbers in supporting governmental responses to COVID-19. The second theme considers accounting practices used to make exceptional decisions at the organizational level in times of crisis. The third theme addresses a relevant frontier of research into accounting and inequalities. Practical implications In considering the diverse contributions of this special issue, the paper points out how uncertainty and change can impact the design, use and understanding of accounting, management and accountability practices and can be accepted by scholars and practitioners as part of such practices. Originality/value This paper provides a timely and comprehensive picture of the first reflections and research findings on the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on one's interpretation of accounting, accountability and management practices.
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