Creating a global network of shared service centres for accounting

Jan Lindvall (Department of Business Studies, Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden)
Einar Iveroth (Department of Business Studies, Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden Department of Management and Engineering, Linköping University, Linköping, Sweden)

Journal of Accounting & Organizational Change

ISSN: 1832-5912

Publication date: 20 September 2011

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to contribute to the understanding of the practice of IT‐enabled management control change, in particular how IT‐driven change is made possible from a practical perspective in a global context. It does so by investigating the redesign of the telecommunications company Ericsson's global finance and accounting function from an independent structure of numerous national chief financial officer units into one interdependent global network of shared service centres.

Design/methodology/approach

Ericsson's transformation was followed by drawing mainly on interviews and documents. The data were analysed using narrative and temporal bracketing strategies for theorising from process data.

Findings

The paper illustrates how IT‐enabled management control change unfolds as a continuous interaction between a dynamic organisational structure (social dimension) and a less, but still, dynamic IT (material dimension) across time. The study also highlights how such a process is metaphorically similar to the form of a hermeneutic spiral rather than the common perspective of an arrow from the present to the future.

Research limitations/implications

The focus of the paper is on positive organisational change and how transformation is possible from a strategic and managerial point of view. Hence, less focus is placed on the employee perspective.

Practical implications

This paper stresses the importance of pre‐understanding, an openness to trials and learning, and a dynami stance towards the moving targets of IT and organisation.

Originality/value

The paper provides rich empirical material. The analysis includes contemporary issues, and the practice of IT‐enabled management control change.

Keywords

Citation

Lindvall, J. and Iveroth, E. (2011), "Creating a global network of shared service centres for accounting", Journal of Accounting & Organizational Change, Vol. 7 No. 3, pp. 278-305. https://doi.org/10.1108/18325911111164213

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Publisher

:

Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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