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A simulation analysis of interactions between errors in costing system design

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  • E. LABRO
  • M. VANHOUCKE

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Abstract

The academic accounting literature has established that the conditions under which costing systems in general and Activity Based Costing (ABC) in particular provide accurate costs are very stringent. Less is known, however, about the nature, level and bias of costing errors and their interactions, when these conditions are not met. The main problem to overcome to enable us to learn about these is the notion of the unobservable true cost benchmark to which to compare the costing system approximation. This paper presents a simulation method to deal with this problem, allowing a variety of research questions in this research area to be addressed with more generalizable answers. Using our methodology, we test a variety of hypotheses on the interaction between various errors in costing system design that were developed in the previous analytical, empirical, and practitioner literature. We also provide some interesting new insights on interactions between errors that were previously not discussed in the literature. This paper presents new results on (1) conditions under which partial refinement in costing systems does or does not work to improve overall accuracy, (2) the contexts in which it is most effective to correct a particular type of error in terms of improving overall accuracy and (3) indicators of robustness or sensitivity of costing system designs to errors. In doing so, we also provide insights relevant to practitioners, costing system designers and users of costing information alike.

Suggested Citation

  • E. Labro & M. Vanhoucke, 2005. "A simulation analysis of interactions between errors in costing system design," Working Papers of Faculty of Economics and Business Administration, Ghent University, Belgium 05/333, Ghent University, Faculty of Economics and Business Administration.
  • Handle: RePEc:rug:rugwps:05/333
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    File URL: http://wps-feb.ugent.be/Papers/wp_05_333.pdf
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    2. Friederike Wall, 2016. "Agent-based modeling in managerial science: an illustrative survey and study," Review of Managerial Science, Springer, vol. 10(1), pages 135-193, January.
    3. Ramji Balakrishnan & Stephen Hansen & Eva Labro, 2011. "Evaluating Heuristics Used When Designing Product Costing Systems," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 57(3), pages 520-541, March.
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    8. Clément Thomas & Michel Gervais, 2008. "Le problème du regroupement des activités dans la modélisation ABC:une approche possible," Revue Finance Contrôle Stratégie, revues.org, vol. 11(4), pages 137-170, December.
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    15. L. Pozzi, 2005. "Income Uncertainty and Aggregate Consumption," Working Papers of Faculty of Economics and Business Administration, Ghent University, Belgium 05/334, Ghent University, Faculty of Economics and Business Administration.
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    17. Eva Labro & Mario Vanhoucke, 2008. "Diversity in Resource Consumption Patterns and Robustness of Costing Systems to Errors," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 54(10), pages 1715-1730, October.
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    19. Stephan Leitner, 2014. "A simulation analysis of interactions among intended biases in costing systems and their effects on the accuracy of decision-influencing information," Central European Journal of Operations Research, Springer;Slovak Society for Operations Research;Hungarian Operational Research Society;Czech Society for Operations Research;Österr. Gesellschaft für Operations Research (ÖGOR);Slovenian Society Informatika - Section for Operational Research;Croatian Operational Research Society, vol. 22(1), pages 113-138, March.
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    22. Stephan Leitner & Friederike Wall, 2015. "Simulation-based research in management accounting and control: an illustrative overview," Journal of Management Control: Zeitschrift für Planung und Unternehmenssteuerung, Springer, vol. 26(2), pages 105-129, August.

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    Keywords

    costing system design; costing accuracy; simulation; costing errors;

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