The last two decades has seen a revolution in management accounting theory and practice due to the challenges of the competitive environment in the 1980s. Kaplan and Johnson (1987) identified the failings and obsolescence of existing cost and performance measurement systems, which led to the re-examination of traditional cost accounting and management control systems. Conventional financial and management accounting methods have developed primarily as a result of corporate legislation in the 1930s forcing companies to provide externally published financial accounts. Management accounting is primarily focused as a decision making tool for running a business, hence they require more flexibility. According to Kaplan, management accounts have become a subset of financial accounts and that they reflect more on the external rather than internal requirements of the company. Most of the managerial decision-making and control systems in use in the late 1980s were described by Johnson and Kaplan as stagnant. As a result, they went onto research in new accounting systems raising the profile of internal accounting systems by use of financial and non-financial measures. Although their work was at first seen as controversial, it is now considered of key importance for companies aiming to enhance their competitive position and performance.
The purpose of cost accounting is to ascertain the costs of products and services. When properly implemented, the cost accounting function will provide necessary information for pricing decisions, identify the profitability of each product, service, or job, aid management in maximizing profits by detecting sources of wastages and excess capacity, and can influence management behaviour. In theory, cost accounting help managers make decisions to fulfill an organization’s goals.
Cost Accounting in Practice
However, according to a July 2003 study done by the Institute of Management Accountants and Ernst and... [continues]
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