This special issue presents a series of papers about financialization and it follows on from a concern, expressed within CPA, about clarifying the ‘problematics of financialization’ (Haslam, 2010). This critical challenge might best be summarized as that of ‘articulating the meaning of financialization’, which we argue to be an elastic term. To try and take this forward, this special issue addresses a series of questions that arise out of this critical challenge. In what ways does financialization reflect a neo-liberal agenda with the purpose of generating shareholder value for wealth accumulation? Indeed, in what ways have financial regulatory and reporting systems yielded to and absorbed these narrow financial objectives and how have they become culturally embedded and amplified? Why might outcomes be potentially dysfunctional at the level of the firm, industry and national economy and how might levels of analysis, grounded in accounting and business models, inform us about policy framing and the way forward?