Advances in Management Accounting: Volume 15

Cover of Advances in Management Accounting

Table of contents

(18 chapters)
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Editorial Board

Pages xi-xii
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Introduction

Pages xvii-xx

This volume of Advances in Management Accounting (AIMA) begins with a paper by Kowalczyk, Rafai, and Taylor on a new budgeting format, strategic budgeting, based on the notion that incorporating information symmetry into budgeting processes can reduce slack. This study incorporates information symmetry via mutual monitoring through a “group budget buffer.” They compare this budget format to a traditional format, which does not incorporate information symmetry, and investigate differences in spending decisions among managers. The results show that groups using Strategic Budgeting spent less of the budget excess than those using Traditional Budgeting. This study is the first to experimentally examine the effects of this new type of budgeting technique, as compared to Traditional Budgeting, on managerial budgeting behavior.

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Prior research indicates that incorporating information symmetry into budgeting processes can reduce slack. This study investigates a new budgeting format, Strategic Budgeting, which incorporates information symmetry via mutual monitoring through a “group budget buffer”, or pool, that supports funding non-budgeted expenditures. Department managers must seek approval from other managers to use pooled funds. We compare this budget format to a traditional format, which does not incorporate information symmetry, and investigate differences in spending decisions among managers. The results overwhelmingly show that groups using Strategic Budgeting spent less of a budget excess than those using Traditional Budgeting. The effect of the availability of unspent funds for a subsequent year's budget was also compared, with results indicating that this factor may potentially mitigate benefits gained from information symmetry over time. This study is the first to experimentally examine the effects of this new type of budgeting technique, as compared to Traditional Budgeting, on managerial budgeting behavior.

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This paper investigates the extent to which formal capital budgeting methods are used in small high-tech firms. We define high-tech firms by their R&D intensity. In addition, we define software industry as a special type of R&D-intensive firm. We focus on the methods that are used by the small high-tech firms in evaluating the profitability of investment projects, estimating the cost of capital and making decisions related to the capital structure. Our results based on two surveys of Finnish firms indicate that the high-tech firms use similar capital budgeting methods and estimate their cost of capital in a similar way to other small-sized firms in other industries. Moreover, high-tech firms seek external financing and co-owners.

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Performance management involves budgeting, performance evaluation, and incentive compensation. This study describes a model that encompasses these three elements of performance management. To illustrate the model, survey data were examined using path analysis. The empirical evidence supports the model, and suggests several intervening variables that mediate the direct and indirect effects of budgeting, performance evaluation, and incentives on gaming behaviors and individual performance.

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The absence of the reasoning stage in the analysis of long-term investment decision creates a serious gap in this classic topic in management accounting literature. The purpose of this paper is to fill this gap. The traditional analysis focuses on the evaluation stage using capital budgeting tools to rank alternative investment proposals. It tacitly assumes that the decision is to be made, thereby bypassing the reasoning stage. However, the reasoning stage may reveal that there is no sufficient justification (reasoning) to consider searching for and evaluating alternative proposals for this decision. Focusing on the reasoning component, the paper combines Fritz's (1989, 1990) “creative tension” and Janis and Mann's (1977) “challenges” as the driving forces for the problem-finding step. To demonstrate the significance of filling the reasoning gap in the long-term investment decision, the paper selects the modular manufacturing system and the complex investment decision required for its adoption. Using hypothetical data, the paper employs the Dempster-Shafer Theory of Evidence and Omer, et al's (1995) algorithm to compute the belief and plausibility values of the three reasoned actions: (1) maintain the status quo, (2) adopt Level 2 (assembly) modularity or (3) adopt Level 2 (design) modularity.

The contributions of the paper include (1) highlighting a critical gap currently existing in one of the classical decisions in the management accounting literature; (2) developing a framework for filling this gap and (3) applying this framework to the intricate nature of the modular manufacturing system and its complex investment decision.

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The relationship between CEO compensation and firm performance is a field of intense theoretical and empirical research. The purpose of this study is to gain additional insights into the nature of this relationship by examining empirically the relatively unexplored areas of its non-linearity. The findings of this study show strong evidence that supports the view that the relationship between executive compensation and firm performance is non-linear and asymmetric. Additionally, the structure of asymmetry is found to be dependent upon the measure of performance. Convexity characterizes the asymmetry of the relationship between executive compensation and market returns, while concavity distinguishes the asymmetry of the relationship between executive compensation and accounting returns.

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For many years management accountants have been involved in the design of information systems for decision-making. To be effective in system design, accountants need pertinent and reliable performance measures within a valid framework. The Balanced Scorecard (BSC) has received a great deal of attention as a comprehensive model of performance that takes into account both financial and non-financial measures. This paper examines the empirical reliability and validity of the BSC framework and its associated measures. With reference to content validity, internal consistency reliability, and factorial validity, results show that BSC, with measures grouped into its four dimensions, is a valid performance model.

Previous studies have called for better reliability and validity of BSC measures. The present study may help in the design and implementation of BSCs in business units by adding robustness to the BSC framework, and by suggesting a set of valid measures associated with the four BSC dimensions. The results may lead to reduced costs of BSC design and implementation, and enhanced consistency of future studies of the BSC.

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The purpose of this study is to investigate whether the emergence of specialized journals has affected management accounting research paradigms. Articles published in eight leading accounting journals from 1991 to 2000 are analyzed using Shields’ (1997) classification schemes. The study reports two major findings. One is that the overall percentage of management accounting research published in five non-specialized accounting journals has remained relatively constant since the establishment of three specialized journals oriented to management accounting research. The other is that the editorial boards of specialized journals appear to have broader interests in research Topics, to be more flexible with regard to research Methods, and are more willing to accept manuscripts adopting various Theories. Overall, the results of this study support that the emergence of management accounting research journals impacted research paradigms gradually during the 1990s.

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Activity-based costing (ABC) is presented in accounting textbooks as a costing system that can be used to make valuable managerial decisions. Little experimental or empirical evidence, however, has demonstrated the benefits of ABC under controlled conditions. Similarly, although case studies and business surveys often comment on business environments that appear to favor ABC methods, experimental studies of actual behavioral issues affecting ABCs usage are limited.

This study used an interactive computer simulation, under controlled, laboratory conditions, to test the decision usefulness of ABC information. The effects of presentation format (theory of cognitive fit and decision framing), decision commitment (cognitive dissonance), and their interactions were also examined. ABC information yielded better profitability decisions, requiring no additional decision time. Graphic presentations required less decision time, however, presentation formats did not significantly affect decision quality (simulation profits). Decision commitment beneficially affected profitability decisions, requiring no additional time. Decision commitment was especially influential (helpful) in non-ABC decision environments.

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One of the emerging roles of management accountants in organizations is the design and operation of their organization's knowledge management system (KMS) that ensures the strategic utilization and management of its knowledge resources. Knowledge-based organizations face identifiable general risks but those whose primary product is knowledge, knowledge-products organizations (KPOs), additionally face unique risks. The management accountants’ role in the management of knowledge is even more critical in such organizations. We review the literature and survey a small convenient sample of knowledge-products organizations to identify the general risks knowledge-based organizations face and the additional risks unique to KPOs. The general risks of managing knowledge include inappropriate corporate information policies, employee turnover, and lack of data transferability. Additional risks unique to KPOs include the short life span (shelf-life) of knowledge products, the challenging nature of knowledge experts, and the vulnerability of intellectual property. The paper includes recommendations for management accountants in KPOs to develop and maintain competitive advantage through their KMS. These include developing enterprise-wide knowledge policies, fostering collaboration and documentation, addressing knowledge security, and evaluating the effectiveness of the KMS.

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IFAC's Management Accounting Practice Statement Number 1, revised in 1998, is concerned with management accounting practices. This research note describes an operationalization of its conception of the evolution of management accounting. The paper is informed by experience in developing and applying an IFAC-based model to survey the stage of evolution of the management accounting practices in a United Kingdom industry sector. The model is intrinsically interesting and has the potential for replication in other contexts and in comparative cross-national, inter-industry or longitudinal studies.

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This paper uses the results of a questionnaire survey to conduct exploratory research into the importance of product costs in decision-making. The results of the research reveal that product costs are at least important in selling price, make-or-buy, cost reduction, product design, evaluating new production process and product discontinuation decisions. Product costs that were used directly in decision-making were more important than those that were used as attention directing information and they were more important in product mix, output level and product discontinuation decisions in continuous production processes manufacturing. In general, the importance of product costs in decision-making did not vary between the methods used to allocate and assign overheads to product costs, and it was not related to operating unit size, product differentiation, competition and the level of satisfaction with the product costing system.

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For firms using target costing, separating decision management from decision control helps to minimize the agency costs incurred throughout a product's economic life. Prior literature focuses on decision-management issues related to target costing, such as new product development (i.e., initiation) and production (i.e., implementation). In contrast, this article highlights the decision control aspects of target costing, which consist of ratifying product proposals and monitoring the product's implementation. While products initiated with target costing are chosen because they meet their allowable cost, product ratification requires assessing how well products contribute toward strategic goals, such as improving the firm's market value. To facilitate the ratification decision, this article develops an equation for determining a product's net present value (NPV) based on the same accounting data used during the initiation process. The article also describes monitoring a product's implementation through periodic comparisons to flexible budgets and a post-audit review at the end of the product's economic life.

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Non-traditional performance indicators have gained broad acceptance in recent years. We continue this discussion and contribute to the knowledge base by employing trust and commitment as two critical intangibles existing between organizations that directly and indirectly influence performance metrics. Each interorganizational contact creates a transactional history that influences cumulative perceptions of trust, that then guide outcome behavior. Using an interdisciplinary foundation, we test a causal model where formal and informal interorganizational relationship structures impact trust and commitment, which then stimulates performance outcomes. The healthcare industry provides the field context where we empirically test our model. A survey was administered to physician practice professionals to measure the theoretical dimensions of the dyad's relationship structure, including antecedents to the mediating variables, trust and commitment, and the resulting outcome constructs. Results demonstrate that relationship dynamics are vital drivers of tangible outcomes. Trust and commitment emerge as variables to be explicitly managed to improve performance.

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Cover of Advances in Management Accounting
DOI
10.1016/S1474-7871(2006)15
Publication date
2006-07-14
Book series
Advances in Management Accounting
Editors
Series copyright holder
Emerald Publishing Limited
ISBN
978-1-84950-447-8
Book series ISSN
1474-7871