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School of Business and Management

Dr Ishani Chandrasekara


Reader in Accounting; Programme Director for BSc Accountancy (Flying Start)

Telephone: +44 (0)20 7882 2707
Room Number: Room 4.02a, Francis Bancroft Building, Mile End Campus
Office Hours: Monday 10.00am - 12.00pm




Ishani is the first child (in fact first female) to go to university in her family and she received a full scholarship from the Indian Council for Cultural Relations to study BCom Management with Commerce degree at the University of Bangalore. She then worked as an audit trainee for PricewaterhouseCoopers (Sri Lanka) for a year before moving to the UK for postgraduate and doctoral studies. She joined University of Leicester School of Management as a teaching associate where she obtained her PhD. Ishani has taught on distance learning programmes in Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong and Bangkok and Australia. She has acted as an adviser for several NGOs in Sri Lanka including Worldwide Women’s Organisation, Women’s Development Centre, and the Centre for Social Concerns.



  • BUS021: Financial Accounting
  • BUS155: Accounting Skills


  • BUSM059: International Accounting


Ishani studied under the eminent French feminist philosopher, Professor Luce Irigaray, with whom she continues to cooperate on forthcoming publications. Her previous consultations with Professor Gayatri Spivak have also been a great influence in her recent work. 

Ishani is passionate about accounting education and the accounting professional qualifications, whether that is ICAEW, ACCA or CIMA. She believes valuing education leads to better outcomes for future generations and she really like to make a difference by leading education transformation projects within Queen Mary and beyond. She believes that it is important to inspire and support young people to make decisions to join the higher education especially for those children otherwise would not have thought about the opportunities that education will give them in their later life.

She is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and holds a Postgraduate Certificate in Academic Practice (PGCAP).

In 2021 Ishani was awarded the President and Principal's Education Excellence Award for her leadership and development of undergraduate Accountancy provision, particularly with regard to her work on promoting women and social mobility in the profession, including the new Flying Start programme in partnership with PWC. 



Areas of Supervision Expertise:

Ishani's research interests are in the field of Critical Accounting and Finance with a particular focus on the presence of a feminine narrative in response to the phallocentric culture that has defined women's subjectivity in the Western philosophy of management. Her research investigates subaltern knowledge of finance and accounting. In particular, she is interested in the way women in Sri Lanka, in local organisations, develop alternative understandings of finance and accounting, and how both international finance, and large NGOs' seek to convert these women into globalised financial subjects by disregarding this subaltern knowledge. She welcomes PhD proposal applications from researchers in these areas.

Current Doctoral Students:

2nd Supervisor

  • Manesha Peiris, 'Exploring Women’s Practice of Entrepreneurship: the case of Sri Lanka.'




Public Engagement

Ishani has carried out extensive fieldwork with women in Sri Lanka. At present myself together with the Centre for Women’s Research (CENWR) are working on: Impact of austerity measures on INGO/NGOs working with locally based women organisations in Sri Lanka.

Invited talks

  • ‘Research in Globalised World: Possibilities for Postcolonial Thought and Practice​’ Senate House, London, 2014
  • ‘Philosophies of Ethnography in Accounting Research’, PhD seminar School of Accounting, La Trobe University, Melbourne, Australia, 2011.
  • ‘What is our Social Project?’, Post-ethnic conflict workshop series, Women’s Development Center (WDC), Kandy, Sri Lanka, 2011.
  • ‘Social Work for Who?’, Center for Women’s Research (CENWOR), Colombo Sri Lanka, 2011.
  • ‘The Role of Accountability and the Global Governance in Conflict Resolution: A case study from Sri Lanka’, Center for Philosophy and Political Economy, University of Leicester, 2010.
  • ‘Ethnographic Investigation into Accounting Practices and Self-Organisation of Subaltern Women in Sri Lanka’, University of York, Toronto, Canada, 2010.
  • ‘Beyond Borders: Auto-biographical Notes from Northern Sri Lanka’, Center for Post-colonial Studies, University of Leeds, 2010.
  • ‘Subaltern Women: Impossibility of Translation’, Gayatri Spivak Graduate Seminar, Queen Mary, University of London, 2008.
  • ‘Ethnofinance: Possibilities and Impossibilities of Researching the Other’, New Development Management, University of Lancaster, 2008.
  • ‘Subaltern Women: A Dialogue with a Sinhalese Community’, Luce Irigaray Graduate Conference, University of Liverpool, 2007.


Academic awards

  • 2010 Feminist Review Trust Award for an individual academic research project
  • 2010 Best Paper Award at the Global Accounting and Organization Conference 2010 for the paper making the most substantial contribution to Critical Accounting and Organization Studies.

Scholarly Contributions

She recently had been part of a programme design team in partnership with PwC and the ICAEW. She believes working in partnership with industry, third sector organisations and the accounting professional bodies can give the students the best potential to thrive in accounting field. 

Centre and Group Membership:

Pedagogic publications:

Refereed journal articles

  • ‘Why Finance is Critical? A dialogue with a Sinhalese Women’s Community’ (2010), ephemera: theory and politics in organization 9 (4): 300-317.
  • ‘Ethno-Accounting: The Daily Accounting Practices of a Sinhalese Women’s Community’, Critical Perspectives on Accounting (revised and re-submitted).
  • ‘Hidden Women in the Phenomena of Global Finance’, Journal of Feminist Economics (submitted)



  • Ethnofinance: The Daily Accounting and Finance Practices of a Sinhalese Women’s Community, University of Leicester.


Conference presentations

  • ‘Impact of austerity measures on INGO/NGOs working with locally based women organisations in Sri Lanka’ European Sociological Association Mid-term Conference, School of Business and Management, Queen Mary University of London, 4-5 September 2014.
  • ‘Internally Displaced Women’s Collective’, Feminist Review Trustees, London, 13 February 2012.
  • ‘Hidden Women in Global Finance’, New Zealand Regional Accounting Conference, Auckland University of Technology, Auckland, New Zealand, 24 November 2011.
  • ‘Ethno-accounting: The Daily Accounting Practices of a Sinhalese Women’s Community in Sri Lanka’, Global Accounting and Organizational Change Research, Boston, USA, 21 – 24 July 2010.
  • ‘Ethno-accounting: The Daily Accounting Practices of a Sinhalese Women’s Community in Sri Lanka’, Global Accounting and Organizational Change Research, Boston, USA, 21 – 24 July 2010.
  • ‘Feminist Ethnography in Accounting Research’, European Group for Organizational Studies Conference, Lisbon, Portugal, 1 – 3 July 2010.
  • ‘Microfinacialization of Sinhalese Women’s Daily Lives’, 1st Critical Accounting and Society Symposium, Turkey, Istanbul, 17 – 18 May 2010.
  • ‘Beyond Borders’, Between Kismet and Karma: South Asian Women Artists Respond to Conflict Symposium, University of Leeds, Leeds, 6 March 2010.
  • ‘Postcolonial Pedagogy: Accounting Research and Societal Impact’, Centre for Philosophy and Political Economy Annual Symposium, 10 September 2009.
  • ‘Any Answers?’ The 6th International Critical Management Conference – roundtable discussion, University of Warwick, Warwick, 13 – 15 July 2009.
  • ‘The Business School and the financial crisis and Critical Pedagogy’ – roundtable discussion, ephemera symposium, Bristol Business School, 15 May 2009.
  • ‘Encountering the Other: “Empirical insights from the South Asian Non- Governmental Sector, Academy of Management”’, Anaheim, California, 11 – 13 August 2008 (with Dar Sadhvi).
  • ‘Organizational Accounts and the Other: Discovering Plurality in the Non – Governmental Sector’, European Group for Organizational Studies, VU University Amsterdam, Netherlands, 9 – 11 July 2008 (with Dar Sadhvi).
  • ‘Women: Absent from the Political? Respond to Judith Revel’s Paper’, Goldsmiths College, University of London, 4 June 2008.

Grants, Contracts and Awards:

  • Seedcorn Funding (£5,000) to continue research and data collection with the ‘Internally Displaced Women’s Collective’ in Northern Sri Lanka (June 2011, Principle Investigator)
  • Feminist Review Trust (£5,000) to initiate the ‘Internally Displaced Women’s Collective’ in Northern Sri Lanka (November 2010, Principle Investigator. The second round of funding application has just submitted to the Trustees of the FRT on the basis of the successful completion of the previous project)
  • Prospects Fund (£10,000) to initiate NGO Clinic at the School of Business and Management, Queen Mary University of London (January 2010, Co-investigator).
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