پژوهش حسابداری مدیریت بریتانیا: از کجا و به کجا: نظرات و خاطرات
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||تعداد صفحات مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی|
|10220||2001||29 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید|
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Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : The British Accounting Review, Volume 33, Issue 3, September 2001, Pages 263–291
This paper is about the development of cost and/or management accounting research in Britain. The authors are three researchers active in this area from the 1970s until the present. The history has not been constructed from careful archival reconstruction of events, or publications, or surveys of colleagues. Rather, it is a personal joint recollection of how the area grew by three scholars involved in this process and perhaps having spent too long in bars discussing it. As history this paper must be carefully covered by caveats—it may be more revealing of the attitudes, perceptions and preoccupations of a set of scholars, than an exact chronology of events. Nevertheless, we hope that even this may be of curiosity. Having traced the chronology of British management accounting research, the paper concludes with the authors’ assessment of British research contributions up to the turn of the twentieth century. This includes a review of the current situation, insofar as it can be discerned and, even more tentatively and with trepidation, possible future prospects for British management accounting research.
Non-British scholars sometimes assume that because Britain is steeped in history and has many old universities, then British academic management accounting research has a long lineage. Such views are wrong. British managers, consultants and engineers, often working with their North American counterparts, were pioneers of cost accounting techniques in the late 19th and early 20th centuries (Solomons, 1968). However, British academic research in this area developed much later. For example, Tony Lowe, who became professor of accounting at Sheffield University in 1972, claims that his lectureship in management and cost accounting at the London School of Economics (LSE) in the late 1950s was the first university appointment in that subject in Britain. John Perrin, subsequently a professor at Warwick and then a colleague of Tony Lowe, claims that his Ph.D. from LSE in the late 1950s was the first in accounting from an English university.Cost accounting was taught in Britain from the end of the 19th century, but initially (like other branches of accounting) this was mainly in Mechanics Institutes, technical and commercial colleges and,later, by correspondence courses.2 A major impetus came from the formation of the Institute of Cost and Works Accountants (now called the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants—CIMA) in l919.This newly created professional association, drawing from cost clerks and managers in industry involved in financial matters, delineated a new occupation of cost accountant and tried to control entrance by examinations and experience. To a degree they were copying the professional qualifying structures of financial accountants and auditors in the various chartered accounting bodies (especially what is the now Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales, ICAEW—see Loft, 1986).The ICAEW viewed with horror and distaste any prospect of recruiting members tinged with ‘trade’ and who wished to be paid during apprenticeship,rather than paying accountants for the privilege. The addition of cost accounting to the syllabuses of other English professional accounting associations came much later. Despite a large proportion of its members entering financial management positions in industry, the ICAEW were the last British accounting body to add costing to their syllabuses. In order that their students ‘should keep pace with the growing demand for what is sometimes called dynamic costing and management accounting, the final examination syllabus of the Institute was extended in 1957 to cover these subjects’ (ICAEW, 1966, p. 124).Especially in England, preparation for professional accounting examinations was conducted outside the universities, through correspondence courses, and evening or day release classes at technical institutes and, more recently, private ‘cram’ colleges. However, the involvement of universities in professional syllabuses, teaching and examinations was minor. Professional examinations remained highly technical, procedural, and informed little by academic research. Even today it is still not unusual to come across professionally qualified accountants who do not know the existence, never mind the content of, academic accounting research. Given their practical bent and academic isolation, it is not surprising that the professions conducted little fundamental research, although their newsletters and magazines, written mainly by practitioners, provided a forum for practical dialogues and contributions to cost accounting knowledge.Professional qualification as an accountant in England has never been closely integrated with university education. Attempts to create an ICAEW graduate entry route in the 1950s was unsuccessful and, until as late as the1970s, graduate entry to the professional bodies was the exception rather than the norm. Despite graduate entry now being required for the ICAEW (but still not for CIMA), it is not restricted to graduates with accounting degrees; although accounting graduates can gain exemption from some professional examinations. However, Scotland has tended to be different with a much closer integration of professional qualifications and relevant university degrees—see below. Since the 1970s relationships between the accounting profession in England and accounting academics have become closer, but each still vigorously maintains and defends its independence. The relationship is potentially fraught, but does not appear to give rise to major problems.For example, the accounting bodies monitor the syllabuses of universityaccounting degrees to check that they cover the basic material specified by the profession, and if so, graduating students receive some exemption from professional examinations. Both parties are jealous of their right to determine their own syllabuses. However, meeting the stipulations of professional bodies has not normally been a major problem for university departments, partly because they are represented on relevant committees,and partly because the scale of professional exemptions is quite modest,being confined largely to introductory material. Indeed, some argue that this allows each sector to concentrate their teaching to their relative expertise.University degrees in accounting can concentrate on broader and core theoretical material in the confidence that it will not be repeated in the procedural, didactic and technical material that forms the basis of subsequent professional examinations. However, this division of accounting education is relatively expensive and may be questioned in the future by firms seeking to reduce training costs.The relative autonomy of leading university departments and their ability to concentrate on academic, rather than professional training has undoubtedly been a factor shaping their research interests and agendas.Geddes (1995) argues that this arrangement is mutually convenient. The presence of accounting research in leading universities legitimates the accounting profession, whilst leaving academic departments free to pursue their own intellectual agendas underpinned by income from undergraduates aspiring to a lucrative career as professional accountants (unlike academic accountants who are paid on national university scales that are substantially below salaries of accountants in the private sector). Each can pursue their respective agendas relatively untroubled by the needs or concerns of the other. Nevertheless, relationships between the research committees of professional associations and university researchers in accounting have grown closer in the last two decades, as the professional associations have become increasingly involved in funding accounting research, especially the non-salary costs, but also some extent the costs of employing contract researchers. CIMA, for instance, currently spends around £250,000 each year funding management accounting research, and has published numerous research reports and sponsored various initiatives, including and conferences and workshops. However, much of the funding for the salaries of academic researchers still comes from government sources, and since the late 1980s this has been subject to peer review in successive research assessment exercises,which has had the effect of concentrating research funding in the majorresearch departments, and usually in the older more established British universities.Despite the separation of professional and academic training in English accounting and the general neglect of management and business studies in British universities until the 1970s, accounting has been taught in many of the older civic universities since the turn of the century. This was certainly the case at UMIST and the University of Manchester. Civic universities,such as Manchester, LSE, and Birmingham, introduced commerce degrees with an accounting element early in the twentieth century. However, student enrollments were often quite small and, in the case of Manchester, such degrees disappeared sometime in the early 1950s, although accounting courses remained within the newly created, broad-based economics degrees.These commerce degrees, however, were usually located in social science faculties and primarily in economics departments. This issue is not trivial, as it greatly influenced subsequent developments. When accounting later expanded, it was initially in social science faculties, rather than in business schools. Thus, appointments and promotions took place within a social science, rather than a business school culture.The teaching of accounting was more established in Scotland, however,mainly because Scottish universities and the Scottish professional accounting bodies have had closer links than their English counterparts. This continues today. For example, University of Edinburgh (with a sharp eye on its rival in Glasgow) has had chairs in accounting and taught costing since 1919. Scottish degrees were largely designed to prepare students for professional practice (Walker, 1994). The unusual title of the University of Edinburgh, Department of Accounting and Business Method is testament to this. The BusinessMethods element dates back to its accounting teachers development of a laboratory to simulate mechanical accounting in 1935.However, insofar as Scottish management accounting research existed at that time, it was primarily devoted to pedagogy and the practical concerns of professional accountants. As in England, up to the 1950s, most university appointments in accounting tended to be professionally qualified accountants whose major remit was teaching, rather than academic research as we know it today.3 Insofar as publications were produced, they were in the form of textbooks and articles in professional magazines and journals such as the Accountant. This is not entirely surprising as any aspiring accounting researcher, unless pursuing work with a strong economics bent, would have had difficulties in locating suitable academic journals in management and accounting in which to publish. At the time the only research oriented accounting journals were in the USA.The one attempt to create a British accounting research journal during the 1950s, Accounting Research, ended in 1957 when its sponsor, the Society of Incorporated Accountants, merged with the Institute of Chartered Accountants, resulting in the cessation of professional sponsorship.Following government reports and concerns that the failing competitiveness of UK business lay partly in untrained managers, two major graduate business schools were established within the Universities of London and Manchester in the late 1960s. This marked the beginning of a massive expansion of undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in business and management studies throughout British universities that continues today. (Oxford and Cambridge Universities were major exceptions until quite recently.) This expansion was primarily driven by student demand. Relatedly,there was a similar growth in accounting and finance degrees, but initially this was concentrated in the older civic universities which had had commerce degrees, and in the polytechnics (later to become universities). In many of the newer universities of the 1960s and 1970s, accounting degrees were located in business schools and management faculties, and it was only later that some of the older universities began adopting similar structures.Nevertheless, major centers of accounting research were, and to some extent still are, located within social science faculties.