Advances in Management Accounting: Volume 12


Table of contents

(18 chapters)

Advances in Management Accounting (AIMA) is a professional journal whose purpose is to meet the information needs of both practitioners and academicians. We plan to publish thoughtful, well-developed articles on a variety of current topics in management accounting, broadly defined.Advances in Management Accounting is to be an annual publication of quality applied research in management accounting. The series will examine areas of management accounting, including performance evaluation systems, accounting for product costs, behavioral impacts on management accounting, and innovations in management accounting. Management accounting includes all systems designed to provide information for management decision making. Research methods will include survey research, field tests, corporate case studies, and modeling. Some speculative articles and survey pieces will be included where appropriate.AIMA welcomes all comments and encourages articles from both practitioners and academicians.Review Procedures AIMA intends to provide authors with timely reviews clearly indicating the acceptance status of their manuscripts. The results of initial reviews normally will be reported to authors within eight weeks from the date the manuscript is received. Once a manuscript is tentatively accepted, the prospects for publication are excellent. The author(s) will be accepted to work with the corresponding Editor, who will act as a liaison between the author(s) and the reviewers to resolve areas of concern. To ensure publication, it is the author’s responsibility to make necessary revisions in a timely and satisfactory manner.

Although the “new economy” once again resembles the old economy, the drivers of success for many firms continue to be intangible or service-related assets. These changes in the economic basis of business are leading to changes in practice which are creating exciting new opportunities for research. Management accounting still is concerned with internal uses of and demands for operating and performance information by organizations, their managers, and their employees. However, current demand for internal information and analysis most likely reflects current decision making needs, which have changed rapidly to meet economic and environmental conditions. Many management accounting research articles reflect traditional research topics that might not conform to current practice concerns. Some accounting academics may desire to pursue research topics that reflect current problems of practice to inform, influence, or understand practice or influence accounting education.

This study analyzes attributes of nearly 2,000 research and professional articles published during the years 1996–2000 and finds numerous, relatively unexamined research questions that can expand the scope of current management accounting research. Analyses of theories, methods, and sources of data used by published management accounting research also describe publication opportunities in major research journals.

An important management topic across a wide spectrum of firms is reconfiguring the value delivery system – defining the boundaries of the firm. Profit impact should be the way any value chain configuration is evaluated. The managerial accounting literature refers to this topic as “make versus buy” and typically addresses financial impact without much attention to strategic issues. The strategic management literature refers to the topic as “level of vertical integration” and typically sees financial impact in broad “transaction cost economics” terms. Neither approach treats fully the linkages all along the causal chain from strategic actions to resulting profit impact. In this paper we propose a theoretical approach to explicitly link supply chain reconfiguration actions to their profit implications. We use the introduction by Levi Strauss of Personal Pair™ jeans to illustrate the theory, evaluating the management choices by comparing profitability for one pair of jeans sold through three alternative value delivery systems. Our intent is to propose a theoretical extension to the make/buy literature which bridges the strategic management literature and the cost management literature, using A-P-L and SCM, and to illustrate one application of the theory.

What is measured gets managed – especially if rewards depend on it. For this reason many companies (over 70% in this survey) have upgraded their performance measurement systems so as to include a mix of financial and non-financial metrics. This study compares how companies currently measure performance for compensation purposes with how their managers think performance should be measured. We find significant measurement gaps between actual and preferred measures, and we find that larger measurement gaps are related to lower overall performance. The choice of performance measures for compensation purposes is also related to the attitudes of managers towards manipulation of reported results.

Despite arguments that traditional product costing and variance analysis operate contrary to the strategic goals of advanced manufacturing practices such as just in time (JIT), total quality management (TQM), and Six Sigma, little empirical evidence exists that cost accounting practices (CAP) are changing in the era of continuous improvement and waste reduction. This research supplies some of the first evidence of what CAP are employed to support the information needs of a world-class manufacturing environment. Using survey data obtained from executives of 121 U.S. manufacturing firms, the study examines the relationship between the use of JIT, TQM, and Six Sigma with various forms of traditional and non-traditional CAP. Analysis of variance tests (ANOVA) indicate that most traditional CAP continue to be used in all manufacturing environments, but a significant portion of world-class manufacturers supplement their internal management accounting system with non-traditional management accounting techniques.

The study re-examines if lean production manufacturing practices (i.e. TQM and JIT) interact with the compensation system (incentive vs. fixed compensation plans) and information system (i.e. attention directing goals and performance feedback) to reduce production costs (in terms of manufacturing and warranty costs) using a recursive partitioning model. Decision trees (i.e. recursive partitioning algorithm using Chi-square Automatic Interaction Detection or CHAID) are constructed on data from 77 U.S. manufacturing firms in the electronics industry. Overall, the “decision tree” results show significant interaction effects. In particular, the study found that better manufacturing performance (i.e. lower production costs) can be achieved when lean production manufacturing practices such as TQM and JIT are used along with incentive compensation plans. Also, synergies do result from combining TQM/JIT with more frequent performance feedback along with attention directing goals. These findings suggest that if organisational infrastructure and management control systems are not aligned with manufacturing practices, then the potential benefits of lean manufacturing (i.e. TQM and JIT) may not be fully realised.

To survive in the turbulent, global business environment, companies must apply strategies to increase their competitiveness. Expectancy theory indicates that salary rewards can motivate employees to achieve company objectives (Vroom, 1964). First, we develop an analytical model to predict that companies using a high-reward strategy could outperform those using a low-reward strategy. Then, we obtain archival data from banking firms in Taiwan to test the proposed model empirically. We control the effects of operating scale (firm size) and assets utilization efficiency (assets utilization ratio). Empirical results show that salary levels and assets utilization efficiency significantly affect banks’ profitability.

Since quality cannot be manufactured or tested into a product but must be designed in, effective product design is a prerequisite for effective manufacturing. However, the concept of effective product design involves a number of complexities. First, product design often overlaps with such design types as engineering design, industrial design and assembly design. Second, while costs are key variables in product design, costing issues often arise that add more complexities to this concept.

The management accounting literature provides activity-based costing (ABC) and target costing techniques to assist product design teams. However, when applied to product design these techniques are often flawed. First, the product “user” and “consumer” are not identical as often assumed in target costing projects, and instead of activities driving up the costs, managers may use budgeted costs to create activities to augment their managerial power by bigger budgets and to protect their subordinates from being laid off. Second, each of the two techniques has a limited costing focus, activity-based costing (ABC) focusing on indirect costs and target costing on unit-level costs. Third, neither technique accounts for resource interactions and cost associations.

This paper applies the new method of associative costing (Bayou & Reinstein, 2000) that does not contain these limitations. To simplify the intricate procedures of this method, the paper outlines and illustrates nine steps and applies them to a hypothetical scenario, a design of a laptop computer intended for the college-student market. This method uses the well-known statistical techniques of clustering, Full Factorial design and analysis-of-variance. It concludes that in product design programs, the design team may need to make tradeoff decisions on a continuum beginning with the design-to-cost point and ending at the cost-to-design extreme, as when the best perceived design and the acceptable cost level of this design are incongruent.

Performance measurement has benefited from several management accounting innovations over the past decade. Guiding these advances is the explicit recognition that it is imperative to understand the causal linkage that leads a firm to profitability. In this paper, we contend that the relationship quality experienced between two organizations has a measurable impact on performance. Guided by prior models developed in distribution channel and relationship marketing research (Cannon et al., 2000; Morgan & Hunt, 1994) we build a causal model of relationship quality that identifies key relationship qualities that drive a series of financial and non-financial performance outcomes. Using the healthcare industry to illustrate its applicability, the physician practice – insurance company relationship is described within the context of the model’s constructs and causal linkages. Our model offers managers employing a causal performance measurement system such as, the balanced scorecard (Kaplan & Norton, 1996) or the action-profit-linkage model (Epstein et al., 2000), a formal framework to analyze observed outcome metrics by assessing the underlying dynamics in their third party relationships. Many of these forces have subtle, but tangible impacts on organizational performance. Recognizing them within performance measurement theory adds explanatory power to existing performance measurement systems.

The flexibility of managers to respond to risk and uncertainty inherent in business decisions is clearly of value. This value has historically been recognized in an ad hoc manner in the absence of a methodology for more rigorous assessment of value. The application of real option methodology represents a more objective mechanism that allows managers to hedge against adverse effects and exploit upside potential. Of particular interest to managers in the merger and acquisition (M&A) process is the value of such flexibility related to the particular terms of a transaction. Typically, stock for stock transactions take more time to complete as compared to cash given the time lapse between announcement and completion. Over this period, if stock prices are volatile, stock for stock exchanges may result in adverse selection through the dilution of shareholder wealth of an acquiring firm or a target firm.

The paper develops a real option collar model that may be employed by managers to measure the market price risk involved to their shareholders in offering or accepting stock. We further discuss accounting issues related to this contingency pricing effect. Using an acquisition example from U.S. banking industry we illustrate how the collar arrangement may be used to hedge market price risk through flexibility to renegotiate the deal by exercising managerial options.

As manufacturers continue to increase their level of automation, the issue of how to allocate machinery costs to products becomes increasingly important to product profitability. If machine costs are allocated to products on a basis that is incongruent with the realities of machine use, then income and product profitability will be distorted. Adding complexity to the dilemma of identifying an appropriate method of allocating machine costs to products is the changing nature of machinery itself. Depreciation concepts were formulated in days when a machine typically automated a single operation on a product. Today’s collections of computer numerically controlled machines can perform a wide variety of operations on products. Different products utilize different machine capabilities which, depending on the function used, put greater or less wear and tear on the equipment. This paper presents a mini-case that requires management accountants to consider alternative machine cost allocation methods. The implementation of an activity-based method allows managers to better match machine cost consumption to products. Better matching of machine costs to products enables better strategic decisions about pricing, mix, customer retention, capacity utilization, and equipment acquisition.

We examine the sample self-selection and the use of LIFO or FIFO inventory method. For this purpose, we apply the Heckman-Lee’s two-stage regression to the 1973–1981 data, a period of relatively high inflation, during which the incentive to adopt the LIFO inventory valuation method was most pronounced. The predicted coefficients based on the reduced-form probit (inventory choice model) and the tax functions are used to derive predicted tax savings in the structured probit. Specifically, the predicted tax savings are computed by comparing the actual LIFO (FIFO) taxes vs. predicted FIFO (LIFO) taxes. Thereafter, we estimate the dollar amount of tax savings under different regimes. The two-stage approach enables us to address not only the managerial choice of the inventory method but also the tax effect of this decision. Previous studies do not jointly consider the inventory choice decision and the tax effect of that decision. Hence, the approach we use is a contribution to the literature. Our results show that self-selection bias is present in our sample of LIFO and FIFO firms and correcting for the self-selection bias shows that the LIFO firms, on average, had $282 million of tax savings, which explains why a large number of firms adopted the LIFO inventory method during the seventies.

Acquisition is one of key corporate strategic decisions for firms’ growth and competitive advantage. Firms: (1) diversify through acquisition to balance cash flows and spread the business risks; and (2) eliminate their competitors through acquisition by acquiring new technology, new operating capabilities, process innovations, specialized managerial expertise, and market position. Thus, firms acquire either unrelated or related business based on their strategic motivations, such as diversifying their business lines or improving market power in the same business line. These different motivations may be related to their assessment of market growth, firms’ competitive position, and top management’s compensation. Thus, it is hypothesized that firms’ acquisition decisions may be related to their industry growth potential, post-acquisition firm growth, market share change, and CEO’s compensation composition between cash and equity. In addition, for the two alternative acquisition accounting methods allowed until recently, a test is made if the type of acquisition is related to the choice of accounting methods. This study classifies firms’ acquisitions as related or unrelated, based on the standard industrial classification (SIC) codes for both acquiring and target firms. The empirical tests are, first, based on all the acquisition cases regardless of the firm membership, and then, deal with the firms acquiring only related businesses or unrelated businesses exclusively.

The type of acquisitions was more likely related to industry growth opportunities, indicating that the unrelated acquisition cases are more likely to be followed by higher industry growth rate than the related acquisition cases. While there were a substantially larger number of acquisition cases using the purchase method, the related acquisition cases used the pooling-of-interest method more frequently than in the unrelated acquisition cases. The firm-level analysis shows that the type of acquisition decisions was still related to acquiring firms’ industry growth rate. However, the post-acquisition performance measures, using firm’s growth and change in market share, could support prior studies in that the exclusive-related acquisitions helped firms grow more and get more market share than the exclusive-unrelated acquisitions. CEO’s compensation composition ratio was not related to the types of acquisition.

Technological advances and increasing competition are forcing organisations to monitor their performance ever more closely. The concept of the balanced scorecard offers a systematic and coherent method of performance measurement that in particular concentrates on assessing present performance in the light of an organisation’s strategy and takes into account the importance of the various policy aspects. In this paper we study the extent to which the concept contributes to the desired improvement of performance. To this end, we examine the motives for adopting the concept and the decision-making process around this adoption. We study the functioning of the balanced scorecard as a means to control performance, assuming that its functioning is linked to an organisation’s problems and is influenced by other control instruments used. This is why we have done case research.

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Advances in Management Accounting
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Emerald Publishing Limited
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