The use of management accounting techniques in small and medium-size enterprise decision-making

Williams, Fiona Jane (2010) The use of management accounting techniques in small and medium-size enterprise decision-making. Doctoral thesis, Birmingham City University.

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Research literature on management accounting is sparse and its importance within organisations decision-making processes has not been fully appreciated. Furthermore, although historical research has considered the development of the techniques holistically known as management accounting, no study has considered whether there is a potential link between those techniques used by the early cost clerk and those used within SME owner/mangers decision-making processes today.

An empirical study consisting of a questionnaire was sent using a mixture of delivery methods and from a sample of 1100,100 usable returns were received. Initial responses led to a series of questions to be formulated as a framework for case interviews, with the narratives giving additional data towards the overall findings and conclusions drawn from this research. A pilot empirical study and a pilot case interview were undertaken. Additionally, prior research was utilised to confirm or refute findings, giving a richness of data for the research to draw conclusions from.

Consideration of the uses of management accounting techniques employed has indicated that there is a potential link between the historical context of the techniques and its application within an SME organisation. Techniques aligned to the technicians operating within the newly formed and developing businesses of the Industrial Revolution were visibly utilised in businesses, but those affiliated with academic, mathematician or economic `births' were not. The omnipresence of the SME owner/manager was evidenced, demonstrating that the owner/manager retains control of the business decision-making even when employing personnel to undertake such decision-making processes, with intuition appearing to play a dominating role. Additionally, although management accounting is routinely used in the day to day running of the business; there was little evidence of it being employed in long-term planning, which is confirmed by past research, with certain case narratives being particularly rich in evidence of planning being performed informally.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
October 2010Completed
Subjects: CAH17 - business and management > CAH17-01 - business and management > CAH17-01-02 - business studies
CAH17 - business and management > CAH17-01 - business and management > CAH17-01-04 - management studies
CAH17 - business and management > CAH17-01 - business and management > CAH17-01-08 - accounting
Divisions: Faculty of Business, Law and Social Sciences > Birmingham City Business School > Department of Accounting, Finance and Economics
Doctoral Research College > Doctoral Theses Collection
Depositing User: Richard Birley
Date Deposited: 20 Jul 2017 09:20
Last Modified: 12 Jan 2022 14:14

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