Management accounting is concerned with the provision and use of accounting information to managers within organizations, to facilitate the managers in their decision making and management control functions. Unlike financial accounting information (which, for the most part, is made publicly available), management accounting information is used within an organization and is usually confidential. (Jiambalvo)
The distinction between traditional and innovative management accounting practices can be illustrated by reference to cost control techniques. Traditionally, management accountants’ principal cost control technique was ...view middle of the document...
Lifecycle costing recognizes that managers’ ability to influence the cost of manufacturing a product is at its greatest when the product is still at the design stage of its product lifecycle (i.e., before the design has been finalised and production commenced), since small changes to the product design may lead to significant savings in the cost of manufacturing the product. Activity-based costing recognizes that, in modern factories, most manufacturing costs are determined by the amount of ‘activities’ (e.g., the number of production runs per month, and the amount of production equipment idle time) and that the key to effective cost control is therefore optimizing the efficiency of these activities. Both lifecycle costing and activity-based costing recognize that, in the typical modern factory, the avoidance of disruptive events (such as machine breakdowns and quality control failures) is of far greater importance than (for example) reducing the costs of raw materials. (Lawson)
An alternative view of management accounting is that it is not a neutral or benign influence in organizations, but is instead a mechanism for management control through surveillance. This view locates management accounting specifically in the context of management control theory.
Jiambalvo,J (2004) Managerial Accounting. Issues in Accounting Education. 62 (1), p 61
Lawson, R. (2003) Organizing the implementation. CMA Management 77(7) p22-25.