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Strategy And Control Frameworks Essay

1332 words - 5 pages

Strategy and control form an important relationship in management accounting as they inform the nature and use of control systems to guide decision makers. Strategy is concerned with strategic issues and the aim of having sustainable competitive advantage. Strategies need to be well thought out as well as specific, measureable, attainable, realistic and timely. Control is the task of setting standards, measuring performance and taking corrective action to ensure objectives are achieved. Strategy and control frameworks provide a means of determining the link between strategy and control. One framework is Ferreira and Otley’s performance management system which provides a more holistic view of the organisation to ensure valuable information is available to decision makers. A second framework is Kaplan and Norton’s strategies map which shows the steps and links between the development of strategies and the operations of the organisation to provide decision makers with information regarding difficult areas of operations.

Strategy can be defined as complementary actions working towards maintaining competitive advantage; however, it might be more important to understand the definition of strategic management accounting. Hopper, Ashton and Scapens (1995) define this as “an approach to management accounting that explicitly highlights strategic issues and concerns. It sets management accounting in a broader context in which financial information is used to develop superior strategies as a means of achieving sustainable competitive advantage (p. 162). The importance of an organisation’s strategy can be noted when implementing control system tools as guidance is required. This often comes in the form of the strategies. Strategy can provide a standard for controls to meet which in turn is used to increase the confidence in the decisions being made. Increasing confidence in decisions is of high importance to the decision makers so having a clear, thought out strategy is beneficial to the organisation (Brooks, Eldenburg, Oliver, Wolcott, & Vesty, 2011). There are five basic key elements to setting strategies. The first is specific. When setting strategies you need to make them as specific as possible and it is useful to cover the five ‘W’s; who, what, when, where and why. The more specific it is the greater the chance of achieving it. The second element is measureable. You need to have set criteria in order to measure progress and success. This could involve using numeric or descriptive measures that define elements such as cost. The strategy needs to be attainable. This means it needs to be feasible and within the organisations capability. The fourth element is realistic. The strategy is of no benefit to the organisation if it is not possible to achieve it. The last element is timely. Setting a time constraint can help focus people to the task at hand (Sanchez, 2007).

Control can be defined as a management task aimed at achieving clear goals within an...

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