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International Business Financial & Management Accounting

6097 words - 24 pages

PAGE PAGE 1 Financial & Management Accounting
Running Head: International BusinessInternational Business Financial & Management AccountingInternational Business Financial & Management AccountingIntroductionDo financial and management accounting practices differ across countries? The commonly accepted view on the relationship between, for instance, national cultures and financial and management accounting suggests that they do (e.g., Ahrens 1996; Carr and Tomkins 1996; Chow et al. forthcoming). However, in this study, we are more interested in the identification of similarities of financial and management accounting practices across countries.The argument of our paper builds on observations of a rather strong current tendency toward global homogenization of management accounting practices. Since practice is a multifaceted term, it is possible to focus on various aspects of practice: systems, processes, information use, accountants' behaviour, etc. It is possible to examine practices at the micro or macro levels, or both (Gupta and Govindarajan 2001; Harrison and McKinnon in press). By macro level we mean concepts (e.g., in an ABC context, activity or cost driver), ideas (e.g., in ABC, improved allocation of overheads to cost objects in today's operating environment), techniques (e.g., ABC as a two/multi-step cost allocation technique), system designs (e.g., how with what kind of software is ABC is technically implemented) and, at least partly, the purpose of using certain pieces of management accounting information (e.g., advanced process cost control or reduction of overheads through ABC implementation), which form the basis or framework for the micro-level action to take place (cf. Shields 1998). On the other hand, by micro level we refer to behavioural patterns and styles of information use, like budgetary-related behaviour (Hopwood 1973; Otley 1978; Lukka 1998; Ahrens 1996). Micro level hence deals with the practical "doing" of financial and management accounting in the everyday life of organizational actors, here denoting especially management accountants and managers using management accounting information. This paper concentrates on macro-level issues due to a lack of prior systematic analysis of macro-level factors enhancing global convergence of financial and management accounting practices, although such a phenomenon today is easily distinguishable and sometimes also, in passing, addressed in recent literature (Chow et al. forthcoming).The few accounting studies that have investigated the effects of national cultures on financial and management accounting practices stress the particularities of British, German, American, Japanese, etc., financial and management accounting practices (Birnberg and Snodgrass 1998; Takatera and Yamamoto 1999; Chow et al. 2004; Merchant et al. 2000; Nishimura 2000; Ahrens 1996, 1997; Ahrens and Chapman 1996; Anderson and Lanen forthcoming; Granlund and Lukka 1998; Loning 1996). A closer look at...

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