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Cost Accounting in Germany and Japan

A Comparative Analysis

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Matthias Moeschler

Cost accounting has developed differently across countries due to cross-national variance in national financial reporting systems, education and culture. Differences in cost accounting impede a uniform and coherent business management in multinational companies. For this reason it is necessary to sensitize practitioners for national specifics in cost accounting. This study empirically shows that significant differences prevail between German and Japanese cost accounting systems due to variances in national culture and the education of cost accountants. It further provides recommendations for practitioners how to install successful cost accounting systems.

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Series Editor's Preface

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V Preface Today’s cost accounting practices have developed over time and have been shaped by var- ious institutional forces, in particular by national culture, education and financial ac- counting systems. As a consequence, national specifics in cost accounting systems have emerged and still prevail today. These cross-national differences often impede an effective management control in multinational companies. However, companies that try to solve this challenge by standardizing cost accounting systems throughout their subsidiaries might experience resistance by local employees that have different views, habits, and pref- erences regarding cost accounting. Management accountants in multinational companies should thus be sensitized for cross-national differences in cost accounting so that they can find a suitable trade-off between global standardization and local differentiation. Compar- ative management accounting research not only contributes in this respect, but can also identify innovative cost accounting systems like ABC and Grenzplankostenrechnung that might be adopted in other countries as well to improve management accounting. Although empirical research demonstrates that cost and management accounting differs cross-nationally, many arguments from literature are rather anecdotal than empirically verified due to methodological shortcomings. In his dissertation Matthias Moeschler ad- dresses this research deficit. Based on a theoretical framework and a comprehensive analy- sis of the state of research, he conducted a comprehensive empirical study comparing cost accounting systems between Germany and Japan. Through intensive efforts Matthias Moeschler and his Japanese research partner, Prof. Dr. Shinsuke Wada, obtained a very good response of 626 companies from both countries. Matthias Moeschler empirically shows that German...

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