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Management control in a business network: new challenges for accounting

  • Roland Bardy
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    Purpose – This paper focuses on the implications for management accounting of “connectivity” amongst modern enterprises. It seeks to illustrate how practical guidance for management accountants who work in business networks can be gleaned from analogies out of traditional management accounting. Design/methodology/approach – The paper explores four avenues that demonstrate linkages between accounting formats in centrally coordinated systems and network accounting, namely: cost budgets and cost design; collaborative planning, forecasting and replenishment; multi-stage performance-monitoring; and accounting for transaction costs. Findings – Highly interconnected business transforms management accounting into an activity that requires concepts to coordinate (partially) independent management systems. The concepts of distributed decision-making and trust building through reliable reporting nicely fit this environment. Even though such concepts are widely accepted, as are the notions of transaction cost and collaborative performance monitoring, practical guidance on this is not abundantly at hand in academia or in professional outlets. The study shows how a “tool kit” might be developed to provide methods for decision support, and management control, for each stage of a business network's development. Research limitations/implications – It would be desirable that this exposition be supplemented by research concerning the common experiences and practices of accountants who operate in business networks. Originality/value – The exposition applied in this paper could enable a new type of access to the issues of inter-organisational management.

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    Article provided by Emerald Group Publishing in its journal Qualitative Research in Accounting & Management.

    Volume (Year): 3 (2006)
    Issue (Month): 2 (July)
    Pages: 161-181

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    Handle: RePEc:eme:qrampp:v:3:y:2006:i:2:p:161-181
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    1. Knight, Louise & Harland, Christine, 2005. "Managing Supply Networks:: Organizational Roles in Network Management," European Management Journal, Elsevier, vol. 23(3), pages 281-292, June.
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