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ERP systems and management accounting change: opportunities or impacts? A research note


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  • Robert Scapens
  • Mostafa Jazayeri
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    Enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems, such as SAP, have become widely used in recent years, especially in large companies. Although a considerable amount has been written about them in the professional accounting and computing literature, somewhat surprisingly comparatively little attention has been given to them in accounting research journals. However, the field studies which are beginning to appear suggest that ERP systems are having only a relatively moderate impact on the character of management accounting and the work of management accountants. However, it is argued in this paper that as such studies adopt a relatively 'static' approach, they do not explore the processes of management accounting change or study how opportunities are opened up by the implementation of ERP systems. The paper reports a longitudinal case study of the implementation of SAP in the European division of a large US multinational, in which management accounting change is viewed as an evolutionary process. In this case, although there were no fundamental changes in the nature of the management accounting information used following the implementation of SAP, there were changes in the role of management accountants - in particular: (i) the elimination of routine jobs; (ii) line managers with accounting knowledge; (iii) more forward-looking information; and (iv) a wider role for the management accountants. However, it is not claimed that SAP was the driver of these changes; rather it is argued that the characteristics of SAP (specifically, its integration, standardization, routinization and centralization) opened up certain opportunities and facilitated changes which were already taking place within the company. The paper ends with a call for further longitudinal case studies of the implementation of ERP systems to study how these characteristics facilitate and reinforce processes of management accounting change in other companies.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Taylor & Francis Journals in its journal European Accounting Review.

    Volume (Year): 12 (2003)
    Issue (Month): 1 ()
    Pages: 201-233

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    Handle: RePEc:taf:euract:v:12:y:2003:i:1:p:201-233

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    Cited by:
    1. Valentin Florentin Dumitru, 2011. "The Impact of Information Technologies on the Organization and Functioning of the Company," The AMFITEATRU ECONOMIC journal, Academy of Economic Studies - Bucharest, Romania, vol. 13(Special N), pages 754-770, November.
    2. Ewelina Zarzycka, 2012. "Implementation Of An Erp Package And Its Effect On The Management Accounting System – Author’S Own Research Into Enterprises In Poland," "e-Finanse", University of Information Technology and Management, Institute of Financial Research and Analysis, vol. 8(3), pages 85-96, December.
    3. Timo Hyvönen & Janne Järvinen & Jukka Pellinen, 2006. "The role of standard software packages in mediating management accounting knowledge," Qualitative Research in Accounting & Management, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 3(2), pages 145-160, July.
    4. Benita M. Gullkvist, 2013. "Drivers of change in management accounting practices in an ERP environment," International Journal of Economic Sciences and Applied Research (IJESAR), Technological Educational Institute (TEI) of Kavala, Greece, vol. 6(2), pages 149-174, September.
    5. Quattrone, Paolo & Hopper, Trevor, 2005. "A 'time-space odyssey': management control systems in two multinational organisations," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 30(7-8), pages 735-764.
    6. Raquel Pérez Estébanez & Elena Urquía Grande & Clara Muñoz Colomina, 2010. "Information technology implementation: evidence in Spanish SMEs," International Journal of Accounting and Information Management, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 18(1), pages 39-57, February.
    7. Sheehan Rahman & Jashim Uddin Ahmed, 2012. "An Evaluation of the Changing Role of Management Accountants in Recent Years," Indus Journal of Management & Social Science (IJMSS), Department of Business Administration, vol. 6(1), pages 18-30, January.
    8. Chapman, Christopher S., 2005. "Not because they are new: Developing the contribution of enterprise resource planning systems to management control research," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 30(7-8), pages 685-689.
    9. Marc Bollecker, 2007. "Les Publications Europeennes Et Americaines Sur Les Contrôleurs De Gestion : Un Essai De Synthese," Post-Print halshs-00522301, HAL.
    10. Aernoudts, R.H.R.M. & Boom, T. van der & Vosselman, E.G.J. & Pijl, G.J. van der, 2005. "Management Accounting Change and ERP, an Assessment of Research," MPRA Paper 9582, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    11. Eric Tort, 2005. "Une Synthèse De Dix Années D'Évolution De L'Organisation Comptable Des Sociétés Françaises (1994- 2004)," Post-Print halshs-00581290, HAL.
    12. Dechow, Niels & Mouritsen, Jan, 2005. "Enterprise resource planning systems, management control and the quest for integration," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 30(7-8), pages 691-733.
    13. Valentin Florentin Dumitru & Nadia Albu & Cătălin Nicolae Albu & Mădălina Dumitru, 2013. "ERP implementation and organizational performance. A Romanian case study of best practices," The AMFITEATRU ECONOMIC journal, Academy of Economic Studies - Bucharest, Romania, vol. 15(34), pages 518-531, June.
    14. Alan Graham & Susan Davey-Evans & Ian Toon, 2012. "The developing role of the financial controller: evidence from the UK," Journal of Applied Accounting Research, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 13(1), pages 71-88.


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