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Accounting information and managerial work

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  • Hall, Matthew

Abstract

Despite calls to link management accounting more closely to management (Jonsson, 1998), much is still to be learned about the role of accounting information in managerial work. This lack of progress stems partly from a failure to incorporate in research efforts the findings regarding the nature of managerial work, as well as inadequate attention devoted to the detailed practices through which accounting information is actually used by managers in their work. In this paper I draw on prior research to develop a series of propositions focused on three primary insights into how and why managers use accounting information in their work. First, managers primarily use accounting information to develop knowledge of their work environment rather than as an input into specific decision-making scenarios. In this role, accounting information can help managers to develop knowledge to prepare for unknown future decisions and activities. Second, as accounting information is just one part of the wider information set that managers use to perform their work, it is imperative to consider its strengths and weaknesses not in isolation but relative to other sources of information at a manager's disposal. Third, as managers interact with information and other managers utilising primarily verbal forms of communication, it is through talk rather than through written reports that accounting information becomes implicated in managerial work. These insights have important implications for how managers use accounting information, and, in particular, require reconsideration of the types accounting information that managers find, or could find, helpful. The paper also considers how existing experimental and field-based methods could fruitfully be adapted to focus on the detailed activities through which managers engage with accounting information.

Suggested Citation

  • Hall, Matthew, 2010. "Accounting information and managerial work," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 35(3), pages 301-315, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:aosoci:v:35:y:2010:i:3:p:301-315
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Erkki Laitinen, 2014. "The association between CEO work, management accounting information, and financial performance: evidence from Finnish top managers," Mathematical Methods of Operations Research, Springer;Gesellschaft für Operations Research (GOR);Nederlands Genootschap voor Besliskunde (NGB), vol. 25(3), pages 221-257, December.
    2. repec:eee:crpeac:v:37:y:2016:i:c:p:5-23 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Agostino, Deborah & Arnaboldi, Michela, 2012. "Design issues in Balanced Scorecards: The “what” and “how” of control," European Management Journal, Elsevier, vol. 30(4), pages 327-339.
    4. Kilfoyle, Eksa & Richardson, Alan J. & MacDonald, Laura D., 2013. "Vernacular accountings: Bridging the cognitive and the social in the analysis of employee-generated accounting systems," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 38(5), pages 382-396.
    5. repec:dau:papers:123456789/10730 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Bedford, David S. & Malmi, Teemu & Sandelin, Mikko, 2016. "Management control effectiveness and strategy: An empirical analysis of packages and systems," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 51(C), pages 12-28.
    7. repec:dau:papers:123456789/9538 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. repec:eee:crpeac:v:24:y:2013:i:2:p:154-171 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. Deborah Agostino & Michela Arnaboldi, 2015. "How Performance Measurement Systems Support Managerial Actions in Networks: Evidence from an Italian Case Study," Public Organization Review, Springer, vol. 15(1), pages 117-137, March.
    10. Chenhall, Robert H. & Hall, Matthew & Smith, David, 2013. "Performance measurement, modes of evaluation and the development of compromising accounts," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 51294, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    11. Matthew Egan, 2015. "Driving Water Management Change Where Economic Incentive is Limited," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 132(1), pages 73-90, November.
    12. Camelia Mirela Baba, 2012. "Managers’ Perspectives Regarding the Fiscal and Accounting Education in Romania," BRAND. Broad Research in Accounting, Negotiation, and Distribution, EduSoft Publishing, vol. 3(3), pages 74-79, December.
    13. Jordan, Silvia & Messner, Martin, 2012. "Enabling control and the problem of incomplete performance indicators," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 37(8), pages 544-564.
    14. repec:taf:acctbr:v:47:y:2017:i:3:p:313-343 is not listed on IDEAS
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    16. repec:eee:aosoci:v:61:y:2017:i:c:p:36-52 is not listed on IDEAS
    17. Emmi Tervala & Teemu Laine & Tuomas Korhonen & Petri Suomala, 2017. "The role of financial control in new product development: empirical insights into project managers’ experiences," Journal of Management Control: Zeitschrift für Planung und Unternehmenssteuerung, Springer, vol. 28(1), pages 81-106, February.
    18. Teodor HADA & Nicoleta BARBUTA-MISU & Teodora Maria AVRAM, 2016. "Financial CEMATT Method: a New Approach for Performance Assessment using Accounting Information," Economics and Applied Informatics, "Dunarea de Jos" University of Galati, Faculty of Economics and Business Administration, issue 2, pages 10-17.
    19. repec:eee:aosoci:v:70:y:2018:i:c:p:69-91 is not listed on IDEAS
    20. repec:eee:crpeac:v:24:y:2013:i:3:p:242-259 is not listed on IDEAS
    21. Anne-Laure Farjaudon & Jérémy Morales, 2012. "In search of consensus : The role of accounting in the definition and reproduction of dominant interests," Post-Print hal-01630503, HAL.
    22. Rowe, Casey & Shields, Michael D. & Birnberg, Jacob G., 2012. "Hardening soft accounting information: Games for planning organizational change," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 37(4), pages 260-279.
    23. Mouritsen, Jan & Kreiner, Kristian, 2016. "Accounting, decisions and promises," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 49(C), pages 21-31.
    24. repec:eee:aosoci:v:58:y:2017:i:c:p:32-49 is not listed on IDEAS

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