همگرایی حسابداری مدیریت و حسابداری مالی - نقش فناوری اطلاعات در تغییر حسابداری
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی||تعداد کلمات|
|9912||2013||28 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید||16200 کلمه|
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Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : International Journal of Accounting Information Systems, Available online 22 October 2013
In this article we theorize and conceptualize the recent convergence of management accounting (MA) and financial accounting (FA) with the advancements in information technology (IT), and explicate not only how this convergence is manifested in the technical and technological domain, but also howit is reflected in their convergence at the behavioral and organizational level. Drawing on the analytical model by Hemmer and Labro (2008), in which the forward-looking perspective of FA leads to forward-looking MA, we build a conceptual framing to analyze this convergence. According to this framing, information technology (IT) serves as a facilitator, catalyst, motivator, or even an enabler for the convergence of MA and FA. We further argue that convergence is a much broader phenomenon than claimed by Hemmer and Labro. It firstly covers the technical and technological domain, including the intentional integration of information systems and software, aswell as the intentional combination of methods or standards, extending thereafter to the behavioral and organizational domainwith the (un)intentional alignment regarding both functions and processes as well as the (un)intentional convergence regarding both work and roles. The applicability of this conceptual framing is illustrated with a set of examples. We present illustrations of the manifestations and outcomes of convergence in both the technical and technological domain (related to accounting standards, discretionary reporting, performance measurement, transfer pricing, competitor, customer and contractor analysis, due diligence in M&As), and the behavioral and organizational manifestation domain (related to accounting processes, work and the role of accountants, incentive systems, accounting and control in multinational companies, the control of business networks, the board of directors and venture capitalists). Based on our observations, we conclude that the forward-looking FA elements are often intertwined with MA, and vice versa, and that convergence in the technical and technological domain appears to precede convergence in the behavioral and organizational domain. In most of our observations, IT plays an important or even crucial role in this convergence process. In the light of these convergence observations, we open several avenues for further research.
Accounting is a changing phenomenon, where both management accounting (MA) and financial accounting (FA) activities, technologies and concepts are continuously evolving and redefining themselves, and are becoming increasingly intertwined, converging realities.1 In their analytical study, Hemmer and Labro (2008) suggested that the development of FA towards a forward-looking perspective will lead to forward-looking MA. They expressed concerns over the divided nature of accounting as a field of research, in which MA and FA are perceived as separate realities. In their paper, they showed with a theoretical model that MA and FA are not independent, and argued that the properties of financial reporting influence the quality of MA. To substantiate this, they modeled convergence in the technical and technological domain, without raising the question of how this convergence is manifested in practice, or whether this convergence has any relation to the behavioral and organizational domain (see Orlikowski, 1991, 1992). Recently, Weißenberger and Angelkort (2011) provided the first evidence for how the convergence of MA and FA has behavioral and organizational effects. According to their findings, this convergence has led to increasing consistency in financial language, resulting in greater effectiveness of control from the perspective of management and in co-operation between controllers and financial accountants. Information technology (IT) has played and will play a major role in the development of accounting information systems (AIS) by providing “the push that drives accounting activities” (Vaassen and Hunton, 2009). For example, the adoption of enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems has improved the quality, accessibility and timing of accounting information for managers (O'Leary, 2000; Granlund and Malmi, 2002), as well as improving transaction processes and allowing firms to have more flexibility in earnings management and the timing of earnings releases (Brazel and Dang, 2008). Although the role of IT within MA and FA is acknowledged with the clear message that accounting and control cannot be studied apart from IT (Dechow and Mouritsen, 2005; Granlund, 2011), no studies have yet analyzed the role of IT in the relationship between MA and FA. Similarly, academic research focusing on the integration of information systems has not placed major emphasis on how accounting itself is changing (Rom and Rohde, 2007). In addition, attempts that highlight the plurality of inputs and outputs of accounting change are trapped within a modernist dichotomy, which defines boundaries such as in versus out, external versus internal, and organization versus context (Quattrone and Hopper, 2001), leaving the interaction between MA and FA unexplored. The main purpose of this study is to initiate discussion on the multifaceted nature of the current relationship between MA and FA. Hence, the objectives of the paper are to: • theorize and conceptualize the relationship between MA and FA, particularly their convergence; and • explicate not only howthis convergence ofMAand FA is manifested in the technical and technological domain, but also how it is reflected as a convergence of MA and FA in the behavioral and organizational domain. To illustrate the level of theorizing in this study, we apply Llewellyn's (2003) classification for theorizing qualitative research. The concepts of MA and FA are typical examples of differentiation, wherein their meanings have lived separate lives in the academic literature. They may not have been intentionally theorized to become different; nevertheless, their relationship with each other may have unintentionally been forgotten in academia, creating a duality of concepts. In this study, we conjointly theorize and conceptualize this convergence of MA and FA, focusing on the role of IT and its influences not only in the technical and technological (T&T), but also in the behavioral and organizational (B&O) domain, “bridging” the gap created by this conceptual divergence. Thus, we problematize the current state-of-the-art thinking (level two: theorizing by differentiation), using the advancements in IT as a context for showing how MA and FA are converging in the T&T domain, and how this convergence is impacting on individuals and organizations in the B&O domain (level four: theorizing settings) (Llewellyn, 2003). These contributions will hopefully encourage other researchers to consider the nature of the relationship betweenMA and FA, both in research settings and in interpreting aswell as explaining the results. In addition, our study demonstrates that the relationship between MA and FA and its development, as such, are also fruitful directions for research (see Appendices 1 and 2). For the standard setters, such an approach offers important understanding concerning how the quality of MA may influence the quality of financial reports. From the practitioners' point of view, this study will assist them in more broadly contemplating MA- and FA-related phenomena in reporting, control and decision-making, as well as how choices in the T&T domain are reflected in the B&O domain. We limit our analysis to the development towards the convergence of MA and FA, following the model by Innes and Mitchell (1990) and Cobb et al. (1995), and leave the forces (e.g. Kasurinen, 2002) that might challenge or slow down the convergence of MA and FA for future research. Previously, Ikäheimo and Taipaleenmäki (2010) have analyzed the historical development of divergence and convergence of MA and FA. The present study provides some reflections to their conclusions on the recent trend of convergence. We define the convergence of management accounting and financial accounting to be a contemporary phenomenon, in which both intentional integrating and aligning actions of human actors and changes in contingencies are shiftingMA and FA towards one another, forming newly observable connections between them, through which they affect and interact with each other. These connections are typically affected by information technology, and frequently become observable through information systems. The manifestations and outcomes of this convergence, which are mainly intentional but sometimes also unintentional, are involved in all elements of accounting (accounting processes, accounting information users and producers, accounting methods and standards, and accounting information systems), and they can be observed within the technical and technological as well as the behavioral and organizational domain. Although this convergence might lead to the state of a unified entirety, we nevertheless emphasize that in our view these two separate fields are currently converging, but not fully converged, i.e. there is already an intersection where these disciplines heavily overlap. However, they are not, and will potentially never become fully integrated. For illustrative examples of convergence, we use earlier studies as indirect empirical evidence and our own experiences from the field. We have also had open informal discussions with several Chief Financial Officers (CFOs), controllers and auditors on the convergence of MA and FA. We have analyzed these findings and observations using our conceptual framing. Although our analysis on convergence mainly concerns larger and publicly listed business organizations, some manifestations of convergence can also be observed in SMEs and within the public sector. Our theorizing settings are not dependent on the perceptions of agents in a specific organization. Instead, we attempt to generalize our context-bound manifestations and outcomes of convergence based on earlier studies and informal discussions with practitioners. The structure of this paper is as follows.We first create the conceptual framing for the convergence of MA and FA, assuming the earlier divergence of MA and FA.We start with the evolving ultimate purposes of MA and FA, and how this evolution is related to the convergence, as suggested by Hemmer and Labro (2008). We adopt and further develop their ideas by adding the role of IT and the domains of convergence (technical and technological as well as behavioral and organizational), together with the manifestations and outcomes. Second, the manifestations and outcomes of convergence are illustrated within the technical and technological domain and the behavioral and organizational domain, where the manifestations and outcomes of convergence in the former domain precede those in the latter. In Appendices 1 and 2, we also propose several avenues for further research. Third, we discuss the major issues emerging in our paper and their academic consequences.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
Accounting and its major fields, MA and FA, are undergoing major changes, one of which seems to be a shift towards the convergence of MA and FA, the focus of this paper. The ultimate purpose of MA and FA is the same. This includes evaluation of past performance for informative and accountability purposes, and plans for the future to make rational capital allocation decisions. The recent trend shift of MA from history-based short-term planning and control to future-oriented strategic planning and control, and FA from historical cost accounting for stewardship purposes to fair value accounting for valuation purposes and decision making, as well as increased transparency for broader stewardship have planted the seeds for the convergence between MA and FA. Why convergence was not a clear direction earlier can be explained by the previous lack of a key element, i.e. information technology that could facilitate, catalyze, motivate, or even enable the convergence first in the technical and technological domain and later in the behavioral and organizational domain. Our conceptual framing bridges the gap between the concepts of MA and FA within a setting of advances in IT, explaining the manifestations and outcomes of convergence within these domains (cf. Llewellyn, 2003). Based on our analysis, the convergence of MA and FA in the technical and technological domain appears to precede convergence in the behavioral and organizational domain (see Hartmann and Vaassen, 2003). The manifestations and outcomes of the convergence presented in this paper indicate that IT has had a dominant role as the facilitator of this process. While the integration of information systems has extensively been adopted by companies, a general trend of convergence has become more obvious due to the increasingly advanced technological platforms. The manifestations and outcomes of these changes could be detected in the technical and technological as well as in the behavioral and organizational domain. Within the technical and technological domain, recent developments in activities, such as financial reporting and stock market regulation, voluntary disclosures, performance measurement, transfer pricing, competitor, customer and contractor analysis, as well as due diligence in M&A activities, all contain major converging elements in which IT plays an important, even pivotal role. Within the behavioral and organizational domain, we also identified several origins of the close alignment between MA and FA, including accounting processes, the work and role of accountants, incentive systems, accounting in multinational companies, the control of business networks, and the work of boards of directors. The manifestations and outcomes of convergence illustrate that it may be purposeless or even misleading to use concepts MA and FA. We may, for example, analyze the performance measurement systems and incentive systems, where the technical-level convergence is apparently to a very large extent diffused in behavioral-level convergence, and which very concretely combines MA and FA on the data level within information systems, and the information level within reports. We argue that as the data can be combined from various information systems, it would be artificial to ask whether FA data become MA information, as they are combined with MA data for performance measurement reporting or for an incentive system. We would rather conceptualize this type of information purely and simply as accounting information or management control information. Furthermore, due to the various outcomes of the convergence, it is also difficult to determinewhether it would be possible to separately build solid theories of a cumulative nature for MA and FA. We believe that it is possible to use elements of more abstract theories within economics, such as transaction cost theory or principal-agency theory (Hemmer and Labro, 2008), or within sociology, such as structuration theory (see Orlikowski, 1991, 1992), and further develop accounting theories that are time-dependent and should be updated as accounting itself evolves. In addition, we need these accounting-specific middle-range theories, as they are useful for understanding current accounting practices. For the moment, MA and FA are undergoing a phase of drastic development, and one of the major features of this change is their convergence. Hence, in our view, paying attention to the relationship between MA and FA, and particularly to the convergence phenomenon, may contribute to potentially more meaningful results, and more practical and relevant theories (Malmi and Granlund, 2007) in accounting research. In future research, the various modes of this convergence should be empirically analyzed in more detail within their organizational settings — the intentional integration of accounting systems, the combination of accounting information, and the alignment of accounting processes, as well as the unintentional alignment and convergence of intertwined MA and FA. These may informus about the potential risks of convergence, which are difficult to foresee. In Appendices 1 and 2, we have presented some potential avenues for future research regarding the convergence of MA and FA. Whether there will be a re-integration of accounting in the future remains unanswered.