اطلاعات و کنترل کننده شرکتهای کوچک و متوسط فراملیتی
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||تعداد صفحات مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی|
|13572||2000||14 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید|
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Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Management Accounting Research, Volume 11, Issue 4, December 2000, Pages 413–426
One of the issues that face the small- and medium-sized enterprise (SME) when expanding is the ‘control’ issue and this paper investigates and presents preliminary evidence of ‘controlling’ or ‘management accounting’ practice in a transnational SME. Wibsey, the site of the case, is now a small group of companies that have expanded from a U.K. base into 10 European countries. This expansion has posed complex problems, which have increased the information requirements of the SME. The contextual issues of complexity and resulting challenges for the transnational organization in its management accounting, information and control systems are considered. Wibsey uses traditional management accounting as the basis of supporting decision-making in the group and a lower level of information need is reported, in contrast to Dent (1996) (Dent, J. F., 1996. Global competition: challenges for management accounting and control,Management Accounting Research , 7(2), 247–269), because the group chooses to maintain a traditional ‘accounting-led’ evaluation system in controlling and evaluating its transnational operations.
When commenting about one ofthe earliest case studies published about management accounting Cooper (1980) wrote, ‘Delco could be regarded as an aberration rather than an example ofa general mode ofanalysis’. Wibsey might also be aberrant.This is the context ofmicr o-narratives and explanations in field research (Atkinson and Shaffir, 1998). Encouragement to research management accounting in its organizational setting had been advocated by Kaplan (1984), Scapens (1990), Spicer(1992), Otley (1994), Otley and Berry (1994), Atkinson and Shaffir (1998) among others. Scapens (1990) particularly sought case studies in situations where previous research work had not been undertaken. In particular, Scapens sought case studies that were exploratory and explanatory. It is in this context that the field research concerning Wibsey a medium-sized company has been developed. The problem of generalization, referred to by Cooper above and the opportunity to apply ‘lessons’ from this empirical work lies beyond the scope ofthis study. The contribution ofthis single site, or pilot, case study is in shaping or developing a research agenda. This study presents a grounded theory approach to research, with appropriate ex-ante and ex-post references to literature and offers conclusions fromboth the topic guides, i.e. research issues and the unanticipated outcomes ofthe research.The paper is structured as follows: introduction, the research issue and methodology,data fromthe case (with the following subsections: budgeting, performance evaluation,decision-making and information needs and systems), theory development,unanticipated outcomes and, finally, some conclusions and suggestions for further research.The control function in organizations has been described and analysed at some length elsewhere. The background to these studies has principally been one sited in larger firms where multi-site operating,manufacturing and production locations,it has been argued, have needed to be ‘controlled’. In a wide-ranging review of previous literature on aspects ofcontr ol (Otley et al., 1995), a dichotomy between accounting-led control and management-led control systems is posited. Mouritsen (1996) presented a survey ofthe different work and roles that are undertaken in accounting departments in organizations. One ofthe major features ofthe research stressed the importance and prevalence ofcontr ol as one ofthe key activities of accounting departments. Definitions ofcontr ol have not been easy to come by. Emmanuel et al. (1990) commented: ‘the term ‘control’ is probably one ofthe most ill-defined in the English language, having a wide range ofconnotations’.They then refer to Rathe’s work (1960) suggesting that there are ‘57 varieties’ of nuance or meaning for the word control. Mouritsen (1995) states ‘International firms use management accounting to co-ordinate and integrate their activities in different countries’. In a recent text about multinationals the word ‘coordinating’ is used extensively in place of‘contr ol’ and the word control is even omitted in the index (Bartlett and Ghoshal, 1998). The purpose ofevaluating possibly conflicting definitions ofcontr ol has limitations and will not be extended further. In the end it is what some accounting departments do, as Edwards (1998) wrote in an historical study ofpractice: ‘management accounting is what management accountants do’.The weakness ofdefinitions ofcontr ol suggests that a research methodology that does not a priori theorise about the controlling activities in a transnational smallor medium-sized enterprise (SME) may be potentially valuable. It was anticipated that for managers and accountants in SMEs expanding transnationally key issues of interest may centre on the following questions: What work is done by the controller?Which management accounting techniques are used? Which communication and information processes are used? Which of these processes or techniques are visible across the organization?Dent (1996) suggested a management accounting and control research agenda based on issues ofcomplexity caused by global competition and non-western firms playing by ‘new rules’. The paper acknowledges some ofthe analysis of artlett and Ghoshal (1989) and recognizes that its ‘transnational solution’ is not empirically derived. Its basic premise is that organizations need more information about key aspects oftheir operations to allow them to compete effectively in a global setting. The key features of the ‘transnational solution’ are information integration,innovation, local responsiveness and an integrated network. Dent sees a multidimensional information system as being at the core of coping with complexity (Dent, p. 259) with the dimensions off unctionality, area, product-market, planning,and performance measurement all interacting intra-dimensionally. This information intensive system will ‘co-ordinate complexity’ i.e. the required complexity of a successful response to global competition. The co-ordination of information will have three components, logistical: the co-ordination ofraw materials, sub-assemblies and finished goods; secondly the co-ordination ofstrategic inputs or resources: ‘capital,technology and people’ (p. 261); and thirdly, the flow ofinf ormation flow itself,‘raw data, analysed information and accumulated knowledge’. (This article was not familiar to Bill, the controller). In some ways, it may be argued that Dent’s paper is a call for an information system whose demands software developers claim is increasingly being met by enterprise resource planning (ERP) software of which the best known is probably Systems, Applications and Products (SAP) (Scapens et al., 1998). The themes ofthe research or topic guides developed included: How does a transnational SME controller use management accounting in attempting to cope with complexity? How does a transnational SME controller view the organization’s information needs? How does the information collected assist in control and decision-making?
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
This paper concludes that the controller has developed a coping strategy. This coping strategy has features that may be surprising in that new information systems to combat the problems ofcomplexity have not been developed nor is such development anticipated. The coping strategy minimizes the use ofr ecently developed and strategic management accounting techniques, e.g. value-added performance appraisal, strategic management accounting and ABC and lays emphasis on traditional performance measures such as Return on Investment and on traditional management accounting techniques, e.g. Product and Standard Costing, Marginal and Relevant Costing.This seems to present the controller with sufficient information to prepare accounting records, prepare performance evaluations, to advise management on trends and in management ofassets and liabilities, in itself, a role that may be described as equating to stewardship. Whilstmuch criticised the ‘bean-counter’may add value by minimizing costs in information gathering and add value in preparing reports that are well understood by managers with training in traditional management accounting techniques. These techniques are consistently used and thus the reports based on them formmessages or images that are reliable as signals or indicators. This approach may contrast with information-rich reports or systems which senior executives can tailor to their own information needs and may be less well understood by others. By eschewing non-traditional management accounting methods, the organization does not seem to have suffered adversely. It may be that a thin management accounting role is not sufficient to meet the challenge of complexity in a globally competitive world but is sufficient to enable the smaller transnational organization to manage profitably its own strategy in its own niche. The discomfort that Wibsey’s financial controller feels comes not from his role in the organization but his role in society as a management accountant where the development ofnewer management accounting techniques and information systems are presented in a modernist tradition. This tradition emphasizes progress and the discomfort is in the mind of the accountant in that by not using ‘best practice’, which in the modernist tradition represents newest practice, questions ofhis competence or effectiveness may arise in the management team ofthe organization.The dissonance ofthis paper’s findings focuses the researcher again on the fit between environment, strategy and management accounting. It is a field, which has been examined quite widely, although not in the context ofSMEs. The In other words, contingent variables cannot easily predict or explain issues of retention and adoption ofnew practices and systems ofmanagement accounting and control in organizations. One question, which may need further explanation is,whether this effect is more evident in SMEs and to what extent?The use and value oftraditional and contemporary management accounting techniques are explored by way ofsurvey in Chenhall and Langfield-Smith’s paper (1998). They found that the benefits obtained from traditional management accounting techniques were viewed as more valuable than newer techniques, e.g.ABC. Innes and Mitchell (1995) report that 20% ofU.K. companies have implemented ABC and that 33% oflar ger firms had adopted ABC. Is there then a case for suggesting the investigation ofa ‘lead-lag’ effect [implicitly admitted in Mitchell et al. (1998)] in adoption ofnewer or contemporary MATs. Chenhall and Lang field-Smith (1998) advised that there was likely to be a small-firm effect in their data.One option is to replicate the Chenhall and Lang field-Smith work more widely to investigate the possible occurrence ofdif ferences in large and small firms’ innovation in management accounting in the U.K. and elsewhere. Features ofor ganizational learning (Kloot, 1997) in organizations may well be key factors in adoption and retention decisions and this may be developed. Alternatively or additionally, further study ofthe reasons for non-adoption ofnewer techniques and reasons for continuity and consistency in the practice ofmanagement accounting in firms needs to be developed. Issues ofcontinuity and consistency seem not to catch the eye of the management accounting researcher as often as they should.