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A revenue management perspective of management accounting practice in small businesses

Frederick Ng (Department of Accounting & Finance, The University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand)
Julie A. Harrison (Department of Accounting & Finance, The University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand)
Chris Akroyd (Department of Accounting, Oregon State University, Corvallis, Oregon, USA)

Meditari Accountancy Research

ISSN: 2049-372X

Article publication date: 4 November 2013




The purpose of this paper is to develop a framework for the systematic examination of management accounting practices in small businesses using a revenue management perspective. This highlights the multi-faceted nature of size as a contextual factor and emphasises the role of management accounting in supporting profit-oriented decision-making, rather than its traditional role of co-ordination, control, and accountability.


The framework is theoretically derived from the management accounting, revenue management, and small business literature. An illustrative case study of a small fast-food business is presented to demonstrate the applicability of this framework to practice.


The paper identifies that various dimensions of business size have different and sometimes opposing effects on management accounting practices. Given heterogeneity is a common feature of small businesses, the framework considers alternative specifications of the size contingency variable.

Research limitations/implications

The synthesis of small business characteristics and revenue management perspective offers a more incisive understanding of what has traditionally been considered a simple practice. The case study illustrates some of the influences of small business characteristics identified in the framework. Given its narrow scope, the findings are used for theorisation rather than offering generalisable results. Further cross-sectional comparisons of small businesses are needed to confirm size influences.

Practical implications

The framework can assist practitioners to gauge the strengths and weaknesses of their management accounting practices and can help assess the value of adopting more sophisticated management accounting practices, given their particular business environment. A synthesis of these small business attributes can help practitioners identify key barriers to implementation.


The revenue management perspective and the inclusion of key characteristics of small businesses provide a new approach to evaluating management accounting practices in small businesses.



The authors would like to thank Paul Rouse, William Maguire, Charl de Villiers, Susan Poffley, and participants at the AFAANZ 2009 annual conference and the University of Auckland management accounting group seminar series for their helpful comments. The authors would also like to acknowledge the financial support of the University of Auckland's Thesis and Research Essay Publications Scholarship programme and the New Zealand Institute of Chartered Accountants.


Ng, F., A. Harrison, J. and Akroyd, C. (2013), "A revenue management perspective of management accounting practice in small businesses", Meditari Accountancy Research, Vol. 21 No. 2, pp. 92-116.



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Copyright © 2013, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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