Intro to Disso
Over the last 20 years many authors and theorists place heavy reliance on the work of Johnson & Kaplan (1987) “Relevance Lost- The Rise and Fall of Management Accounting” as evidence to support the idea that there has been a dynamic shift and transformation in the role of management accountants. Johnson & Kaplan (1987) maintain that the role of Management accountants has significantly evolved from their traditional role as ‘bean counters’ or ‘score-keepers’ to a more strategic and technique focused role which implements revised regulations and technology systems. Thus potentially enhancing accounting practices on the one hand and on the other hand changing the role of which the management accountant performs. This has resulted in a renewed attention towards the possible drivers of such change as well as generating a contemporary debate on the extent of change with regards to the actual role of accountants. Furthermore, Yazdifar & Tsamenyi (2005) point out this dynamic shift has monopolized academic and professional literature over the past few years.
Management accounting is traditionally defined by the Institute of Management Accountants (IMA, 1981) as a practice which requires accountants to identify, measure, analyse and translate commercial information in order to supervise important decision making and enable management to effectively control their company and its resources. This suggests that the traditional role of accountants was only to provide information, supporting the decisions made by management and monitoring the finances of the business as a whole. However, contemporary theorists have adapted traditional definitions to reflect the changing dynamic of managerial accountants to show that accountants now have a more vital role within the company and directly influence management decisions by use more strategy focused mechanisms. (Chartered Institute of Management Accountants, 2002). Recently, Shuttleworth (2014) described management accountants as the nerve center of the organization, which could potentially signify that management accountants are of substantial relevance in the evolving global economy.
According to Emsley (2005) managerial accountants are responsible for getting involved in the decision making process, innovating new systems which regulate the performance of the company and investing expertise into the creation of financial reports which would ultimately provide assistance to the management in creating and implementing new business strategies. Literature shows that many terms have been adapted to reflect the new and developing role of accountants today. Examples include; “Hybrid Accountant” (Burns & Baldvinsdottir, 2005), “Hybrid Accountant” (Burns & Vaivio, 2001) and “internal business consultant” (Holtzman, 2004).
Further, there are theorists such as Pierce (2001) who argue that the role of management accountants is renovating and progressing into a more enhanced and advisory role. This theory...