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ABC and Variability Accounting Differences and potential benefits of integration

Listed author(s):
  • Poul Israelsen
Registered author(s):

    Activity-Based Costing (ABC) started out as a vehicle for (i) improved product costing for use in pricing, switched later to (ii) profit priorities using hierarchies of cost assignment, and now focuses on (iii) accounting for capacity constraints situations. Firstly, the paper demonstrates that the data requirements for these three different uses of ABC can be met by recording the following characteristics of resource utilization in a relational database: quantitative -non-monetary -utilization in the form of 'type of production factor', 'organizational unit' and the immediate 'objective for the use of resources'; discharge horizon, absolute and relative divisibility of production factors employed; and assignment of costs to classification objects, observing principles of non-arbitrariness. These features are utilized in 'Variability Accounting'. Secondly, the paper argues that, in complying with these principles, the evaluation of improvements in cost-accounting systems is on much more solid ground than if system changes are evaluated in terms of the resulting conse-quences for full-cost product costs. Based on these findings, the paper concludes that variability accounting can serve as a source of inspiration for constructors of ABC systems when the various versions are merged into an integrated cost system based on intercon-nected databases. It is also concluded that those variability accounting users with complex sales/distribution and production structures may find inspiration in ABC to identify areas in need of improved behaviour, although more research is required in this area.

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

    Volume (Year): 3 (1994)
    Issue (Month): 1 ()
    Pages: 15-47

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    Handle: RePEc:taf:euract:v:3:y:1994:i:1:p:15-47
    DOI: 10.1080/09638189400000002
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