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Cost Accounting in Germany and Japan

A Comparative Analysis


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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355 Appendix Appendix 1: List of research projects on comparative management accounting research Reference Countries/ nationalities Setting (per country) Database (response rate) Research Method Topic Hofstede- inspired? Ahrens (1996); Ahrens (1997a); Ahrens (1997b); Ahrens (1999) Germany, UK First group: Management account- ants of large British and German manufacturing companies; Second group: Matched firms of the brewing industry First observed group: 1 from the UK, 2 from Germany Second group: Observations in 2 firms and inter- views in 7 firms from Germany, observations in 2 firms and inter- views in 3 firms from the UK Field study (interviews, observation) Management accounting practices No (1997a,b); Yes (1996; 1999) Ahrens/ Chapman (1999); Ahrens/ Chapman (2000) Germany, UK 64 management accountants in total 34 (30) individuals from 17 (12) Ger- man (British) firms Field study (interviews) Management accounting overall, career choice No Anyane-Ntow (1988) Japanese, USA Financial executives of manufacturing companies operating in the USA 45 Japanese companies (45%), 39 USA companies (39%) Survey Budgeting, management control systems, perfor- mance measurement Yes Appleyard/ Pallett (2003) Germany, UK 2 acquisitions: one by a UK company of a German subsidiary and vice versa 1 from Germany, 1 from the UK Field study Management control systems, management accounting overall No Aptel/ Pourjalali (2001) France, USA Large hospitals 126 from France (6.3%), 75 from the USA (12.5%) Survey Management accounting practices, information systems, cost management, JIT, cost accounting overall No Au/Bemmels (2000) Canada, Hong Kong Undergraduate business students 98 from Canada (study 1), 120 from Hong Kong...

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