Strategic Management Accounting: Theoretical and Field Study Perspectives Robin Roslender , , a and Susan J. Hart , B

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In search of strategic management accounting: theoretical and field study perspectives
Robin Roslender , , a and Susan J. Hart , b
a Department of Accounting, Finance and Law, Faculty of Management, University of Stirling, Stirling FK9 4LA, UK
b Department of Marketing, University of Strathclyde, Strathclyde, UK

Available online 6 August 2003.

Abstract
Despite being introduced into the literature as a potentially exciting development over 20 years ago, there is still little or no agreement about what constitutes strategic management accounting (SMA). The term itself is open to a number of interpretations, something that is reflected in the varied nature of the research associated with it. In our view, however, SMA is best understood as a generic approach to accounting for strategic positioning. It is defined by an attempt to integrate insights from management accounting and marketing management within a strategic management framework. To date, the attribute costing technique has been the most compelling development within SMA. Its focus on costing the benefits associated with products and their attributes necessitates contributions from both disciplines. The findings of an exploratory field study of practices at the interface between management accounting and marketing management affirm SMA's limited impact on practice in the UK. In those cases where interfunctional cooperation is most advanced, there are indications that a new subset of SMA developments may be emerging as accountants and marketers begin to measure the performance of brands.
Author Keywords: Strategic management accounting; Marketing management; Attribute costing; Marketing accountability; Interfunctional cooperation
Article Outline
1. Introduction
2. The evolution of strategic management accounting
3. Refining the strategic management accounting concept
4. Enhancing the marketing content of strategic management accounting
5. The field study
6. Findings
6.1. The traditionalists
6.2. The transitionalists
6.3. The synergists
7. Discussion
Acknowledgements
References
1. Introduction
The objective of this paper is to contribute to the growing literature on the topic of strategic management accounting (SMA). It reports the findings of an exploratory field study of UK companies that was designed primarily to gather insights on the present extent of implementation of SMA practices. Throughout the research project a particular interpretation of SMA was embraced. SMA is identified as a generic approach to accounting for strategic positioning, defined by an attempt to integrate insights from management accounting and marketing management within a strategic management framework. Examples of SMA techniques include target costing, life-cycle costing and some forms of strategic cost analysis, with attribute costing as the most compelling development to date.

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