Associate Professor Sharron O'Neill
Associate Professor

Associate Professor Sharron O'Neill

Academic qualifications

  • Bachelor of Commerce, major: accounting, University of Western Sydney 1993
  • Master of Commerce (Honours), in management accounting, University of New South Wales 2003. Supervisor: Prof. W.F. Chua. 2003
  • PhD, corporate accountability for work health and safety (WHS), RMIT University. Supervisor: Prof. C. Deegan 2010

Professional qualifications

  • CPA Australia program 1996
  • Australian Institute of Company Directors course 2017

Professional affiliations and memberships

  • CA, Chartered Accountants of Australia and New Zealand
  • GAICD, Australian Institute of Company Directors
  • Australian Institute of Health and Safety
  • NSCA Foundation (National Safety Council of Australia)
UNSW Canberra
School of Business

Dr Sharron O'Neill is an Associate Professor of Accounting in the School of Business at UNSW, Canberra.

Sharron's research examines the design, measurement and reporting of performance measures for operational decision-making, governance and accountability. She has particular expertise in non-financial indicators of work health and safety (WHS) and advises government, investors and industry (executives and Boards) on WHS performance measurement and reporting. Sharron leads collaborative research projects that bring the accounting and safety professions together with industry, government and academia and has been chief investigator on funded research projects totalling over $1,656,200 and has published her research in publications including journal articles, industry research reports and media and delivered keynote and invited conference presentations at more than 70 academic and industry conferences in Australian and Internationally.

Sharron's research has contributed to global policy debate and reform on the measurement and reporting of WHS performance through roles including Chair of the Global Reporting Initiative's international GRI403 project working group, the Queensland Government's safety leadership expert reference group (2018), the ACT Government's Work Safety Council (ministerial appointee 2017-2019) and the evaluation working group of the National Mental Health Commission's National Workplace Initiative. 

Sharron currently teaches introductory financial and management accounting at postgraduate and undergraduate levels, and the postgraduate elective, leadership of safe and healthy work. She has previously taught advanced accounting, accounting theory, research methods and issues in corporate social responsibility. Her academic research and teaching is underpinned by financial accounting industry experience gained in manufacturing, transport and healthcare sectors, as well as academic and professional accounting qualifications and a PhD in corporate accountability for work health and safety (WHS). Sharron is a member of Chartered Accountants of Australia and New Zealand (CAANZ), Australian Institute of Company Directors (AICD), the Australian Institute of Health and Safety (AIHS) and the National Safety Council of Australia (NSCA).

Expertise:  developing performance indicators to support WHS due diligence; performance management, governance and assurance of WHS and other employment relations issues.

+61 2 5114 5673
Building 27, Room 217, School of Business, UNSW Canberra

Research income for funded research projects on which Sharron is/was lead or chief investigator since 2012 exceeds  $1,653,637.
This includes $956,131 in research funding for projects 2019-2023 ($667,531 to UNSW).

  Current funded research projects include,

  • Lead: WHS Measurement Evidence Review (AIHS)
  • CI: Strengthening the priority of WHS for business leaders (Centre for Workplace Health & Safety, NSW Government)
  • CI: Public Sector Accountability (PSRG, School of Business, UNSW Canberra)

  Funded research projects completed: 

  • 2022 CI: Mentally Healthy Workplaces (Centre for Workplace Health & Safety, NSW Government)
  • 2022 CI: Healthy Older Worker (HOW) Toolkit (Centre for Workplace Health & Safety, NSW Government)
  • 2021 Lead: Measures to support mentally healthy workplaces (National Workplace Initiative, National Mental Health Commission)
  • 2020 Lead: Measuring and Reporting Guide (Safe Work NSW)
  • 2019 Lead: Developing Executives' Intellectual Capital through Peer to Peer Networks (SafetyWorks, Australian Govt.)
  • 2019 CI: Assessing the Wellbeing System (UNSW & Australian Government)
  • 2017 Lead: Testing and Evaluating WHS Guidelines (Safe Work Australia, CAANZ, SIA)
  • 2017 Joint lead: Evaluating Approaches to Regulating WHS in the Road Transport Industry (TEACHO Ltd)
  • 2017 CI: Achieving Behaviour Change for the Prevention & Management of Lynch Syndrome (Cancer Institute NSW)
  • 2016 Lead: The Role of Accounting in Work Health and Safety Governance (CPA Australia, Safe Work Australia, Safety Institute of Australia, Macquarie University)
  • 2016 CI: Investigating perceptions of Chain of responsibility requirements (National Heavy Vehicle Regulator)
  • 2015 CI: Impact of NSW Workers' Compensation Legislation Reforms (Unions NSW)
  • 2013 CI: National disability insurance (Centre for the Health Economy, Macquarie University)
  • 2012 CI: National portable long service leave (McKell Institute)

Research awards:  

2014: Faculty of Business & Economics Research Impact Excellence Award. Macquarie University.

2014: Vice Chancellors Research Excellence Award (FBE) - Highly Commended. Macquarie University.

2014: United Nations - Principles for Responsible Investment (UNPRI), Academic-Investor network conference,  Best Paper Award - Highly commended.


Teaching awards:

2004: College of Law and Business, Individual Teaching Excellence Award. Western Sydney University.

2003: Vice-Chancellor’s Teaching Excellence Award, Highly Commended. Western Sydney University.


University service award:

2003: Vice-Chancellor’s Excellence Awards – Excellence in Social Justice, Commended. Western Sydney University.



  • Evaluation working group, National Workplace Initiative, National Mental Health Commission


  • Chair, GRI403 working group, Global Reporting Initiative (2016-2018)
  • Ministerial appointee, ACT Work Safety Council, ACT Government (2017-2019)
  • Judging panel, WHS Award, Australasian Reporting Awards (2014-2018)
  • Invited member, Supply chain reference group, Office of Industrial Relations, QLD Government (2016)
  • Invited member, Research grant assessment panel, WorkCover NSW, NSW Government (2015)

      >70 speaking engagements for the accounting profession, WHS profession, industry and Government


My Research Supervision

Current: 3 PhD students
Completions: 4 PhD students, 1 MPhil student

Examinations: 1 MCom(hons) thesis and 3 PhD theses.


My Teaching

Postgraduate program
   ZBUS8108: Accounting and Financial Management   

   ZBUS8114: Leadership of Safe and Healthy Work

Executive education
   Measuring and Reporting on Work Health and Safety