Relevance Lost: The Rise and Fall of Management Accounting

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9780071032445: Relevance Lost: The Rise and Fall of Management Accounting

Management accounting is vital to long-term planning. However, in today's climate of rapid technological change, vigorous global and domestic competition, and the enormous expansion of information-processing capabilities, current management accounting systems are inadequate and outdated. In Relevance Lost, H. Thomas Johnson and Robert S. Kaplan, both professors of management accounting, combine their unique perspectives to describe the evolution of management accounting, combine their unique perspectives to describe the evolution of management accounting in American business, from the early textile mills to present-day computer-automated manufacturers. As they say, "understanding the reasons behind the obsolescence of existing systems should provide improved rationale for organizational change." Johnson and Kaplan argue that the use of outdated accounting methods may have helped undermine American manufacturers' efforts to adapt to the rapidly changing competitive environment of the 1980s. When management accounting systems report highly inaccurate product costs and provide misleading targets for productivity and efficiency efforts, America's large decentralized corporations become vulnerable to smaller, more focused competitors. Ineffective management accounting systems can prevent companies from achieving gains through vertical integration and diversification. Today new management accounting developments taking place in leading American manufacturing firms show promise of reversing this trend. Relevance Lost cites numerous cases of forward-looking companies that are accomplishing just that. Johnson and Kaplan masterfully and persuasively illustrate the need for modern corporations to reexamine their existing practices and to redesign new management accounting systems. Tomorrow's leaders will be those companies who have the foresight to lead management accounting back to the path of relevance from which it strayed over sixty years ago.

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H. Thomas Johnson is a professor of management accounting.

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Kaplan, Robert S.; Press, Harvard Business School
Published by Harvard Business School Pr
ISBN 10: 0071032444 ISBN 13: 9780071032445
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