Management accounting techniques make several contributions to a firm’s control procedures. They provide the means of communicating company objectives and finishing the basis for measuring performances against planned goals. However, the spectrum of opinion as to how management accounting techniques area used fall into two schools of though. The first school of thought believes that they are used for goal congruence and are powerful motivational tools that can induce workers to work towards increased profitability. The other schools of thought believed management accounting techniques are used for punitive purposes, that can lead to low morale, loss of capable workers, decreased profitability and other behaveioural problems that are determined to the organization.
The views of each of these school, of thought can be traced to the set of assumptions about management accounting associated with traditional management accounting model in which the participants are viewed as passive members of the society, or the modern organization theory which emphasized that participants are active members of the society an stressed humane ever changing value system and problems of limited information processing capability.
The study investigated the attitude of the managers and the accountants in five manufacturing firms in Enugu State in order to determine the set of assumptions they have about management accounting techniques. It also investigated how the junior workers perceived the operation of management accounting in their firms.
The study revealed that the views of the managers and accountants in the firms studies are patterned in the manner of traditional management accounting model. It also revealed that the usage of management accounting techniques are froth with behavioural problems such as, autocratic budgeting system, lack adequate communication of results of evaluation to employee concerned, rigid emphasis of the results of the techniques, non-recognition of time value of money, unrealistic view about the nature of the curve, separation of fixed and variable costs into their respective components etc.
The views of the junior workers show a marked department from that of the accountants and the mangers. They believed that management accounting is used for punitive purposes. They indicated that to be motivated they have to be made share-holders. They complained about their non-participation in budget/standard setting process. They are also of the view that the standard are always too light and this usually effect their efficiency.
The researcher highlighted some behavioural problems associated with traditional management accounting model and advantages to be gained when decision-making, problem –solving approach is adopted. She also recommends some measures that can reduce or eliminate the difficulties highlighted above.
BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Management accounting is one of the information systems of firms that permits data to grow from one point in the firms to another and also allows the data selected and transmitted to serve as inputs to managers and works decision process. One of the major functions of management accounting is to furnishing information which is useful as basis for decision making at all levels of the organization. Such function provides managers with the data required for planning co-ordinating and controlling activities.
It also includes the operation of a system which assists in motivating individuals to make and implement those decisions that will lead to the accomplishment of organization goals (Horgren 1974 p.12) from the definition given above. It is obvious that management accounting places a heavy emphasis on the influence of behaviour. The organization’s participants react differently to the use of management accounting depending on their perception how the techniques are being operated. Accountants may see that from the preparation aspects, managers from the implementation aspects while workers may view them as devises used by management to manipulate them. When workers obtained unfaviourable reports from the management accounting techniques used to evaluate them, there is the tendency for them to shift the blame on the techniques used.
Consequently, hey may work to circumvent the procedures of such techniques and explain the loopholes in the techniques to their advantage in order to prevent the occurrence of further negative results.
Another prominent behavioural problems associated with management accounting is the way the techniques are being designed and operated. In most cases, management operates management accounting techniques with the assumptions that the more sophisticated the techniques are the more likehood of success on controlling and improving performance. Thus, there is a tendency for many firms to accept desirable results merely from the use of the control techniques on the individuals responsible for the activities of the firm.
The mere fact that the standard is exceeded warrant the management to often institute or carry out investigations when there are unfaviourable variances, such investigations are frequently followed by reprimands, recommendation for corrective actions to be taken, while favourable reports do not necessarily eclectic commeasurable responses. (Woods, 1966, p.91). When management accounting is operated as noted in the other page, it is capable of generating adverse effects on employees’ morel, trust and motivation. Besides crating resentments, this may cause workers to believe that success is not as important as avoiding failure.
The bedrock of behavioural problems of management accounting start firm the set of behavioural assumptions under which managers and accountants operate. There is no statement of the behavioural assumptions of management accounting found in the literature. Despite this, the accounting systems, procedures and attitudes are based on implicit assumption about behaviour which are derived from the classical management theory.
This research is of the assumption that management accounting techniques as being used in manufacturing firms in Enugu State of Nigeria is based essentially on traditional management accounting view in contrast to a more realistic organization theory. (Caplan 1971, p.17) identified some set of behavioural assumptions as:-
The primary function of management accounting is to and management in maximizing profit.
The accounting systems are a control device which makes it possible for management to identify and correct undesirable performance.
Organization participants are motivated primarily by economic forces.
Human begins are ordinarily lazy, inefficient and wasteful.
There are sufficient certainty, rationality and knowledge within the system to permit an accurate comparison of responsibility for performance and the ultimate benefits and costs of that performance.
These assumptions relate closely to the accounting view that, it is necessary to push workers in order to obtain adequate performance. The traditional model not only ignore the individuals aspirations, goals and motivation but presupposes the needs and objectives of the organization. The implication of the above behaivoural assumptions which are implicit in management accounting cannot be ignored from the forgoing, it is crystal clear that behaviouarlly native management accounting techniques can serve as a deterrent to goal congruence and that the accounting function under such circumstances can be a source, of undesirable behavioural responses like frustration, conflict and rigidity.
It is not necessarily management accounting as such that is responsible for the kind of organizational problem under consideration here. Rather, the difficulty seems to be more closely related to the manner in which accounting is used. Hence, the mode of implementation and means of interpretation are crucial to the success of the techniques as means to achieve desirable performances.
The study investigated whether managers and accountants in the forms studied are operating their accounting system with the traditional management accounting views highlighted in the next page their views will be analyzed on the following basis:-
Assumptions about the organization goals
Assumptions about the behaviour of workers
Assumptions about the role management accounting add dysfunction consequences of the use of budgeting, standard costing and cost-volume profit analysis.
STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEMS
What is the managers and the accountants belief about the objectives of an organizations?
How do they think workers should be motioned?
What is their belie about the role of management accounting?
Do management accounting techniques encourage people to take action which they perceive to be in their own best interest rather than that of the organization?
What are the dysfunctional consequences of the use of management accounting techniques?
PURPOSE OR OBJECTIVE OF THE STUDY
As can be seen from the statement of the problem of the study, one of the two conflicting functions which is the underlying assumptions of management accounting and what it is capable of dong and how it can generate negative consequences such as frustration, ill-feeling, hatred and undue suspicion.
Management accounting has been subjected to severe criticism because of the following reasons:
It’s application take for granted the individual differences of the workers, their motivating factors, their aspiration levels and also the fact that business organization is operating in diverse environment that changes continuously.
Other areas of criticism centre on it’s rigidity in enforcing standards, setting unrealistic standards, lack of adequate participation by all members o the organization and being used as excessive control mechanism. The application of management accounting techniques delimitate the work environment into boss / a subordinate situation which tend to cause nervousness at work. The boss enforce the techniques with view f fail or be fired”, they coerced the workers to perform through the threat of retrenchment and bait of monetary incentives.
This study is to gain overall insight into the views of the managers and accountants in Enugu State manufacturing firms. Since these categories of workers are senior members of the staffs, their views represent genius views of the management.
If their view fall in line with the criticism noted above, they will be exposed to the defects of such view point and be introduce to a more realistic view of the modern organization theory.
DELIMITATION OF THE STUDY
This study is based on the behaviour perceptive of management accounting. Attempt will be made to highlight the views of manages and accountants in selected manufacturing firms in Enugu State on such issues as the organizational goals, view about the behaviour of workers, management and the role of accounting. Some dysfunctional aspects of management accounting techniques will also e highlighted.
The study will not extend how the managers and accountant will actually exhibit the views they hold on their firms. No attempt will be made to examine their books and records.
SIGNIFICANCES OF THE STUDY
The views of manages and accountants represent the aggregate vies on management accounting in the firms studied.
This study will expose the type of views they hold about management accounting which is a neglection of how they practice their accounting systems. Since the study is not extended to the effect of such views on their performance in their forms, no categorical statements to that effect would be made. However it is reasonable to infer that if management accountings are practiced in the manufacturing firms studied are patterned to reflect either traditional management model or modern organization theory. The firms studied will suffer or enjoy the consequences associated with such behavioural view.
This study is to expose the type of view manager and accountants are having about accounting techniques. It will expose them to possible defects, of such view points and introduce them to more realistic view that will benefit the organization. There is no gain say that management accounting technique has behavioural consequences that are negative and result in low performance, low motivation, high rate of industrial strike, ill-feeling, hatred, frustration and extreme case of hostility which can cause frictions in an organization.
The essence of this study is to highlight these behavioural problems and put management in a good frame of mind to be able to avoid these problems and also be able to benefit from the advantages associated with the management accounting techniques.
Students will equally benefit from this work as they carry out research in similar topics.
The following research question was designed by her researcher to enable liver reach a precise conclusions.
What are the organization goals of your organization, and also what are those factors that can motivate your workers to achieve those organization goals.
What are the objectives of the management accounting technique used, the role it plays and the best way to describe management accounting?
How does your company operate management accounting technique like budgeting?
What are the views of the workers in your company concerning management accounting technique like standard costing, it’s policy and its effect the organization if discontinued?
What are you views regarding the application of cost – volume-profit analysis as a management accounting technique in your company.
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