El propòsit d'aquest Bitàcola és analitzar l'efecte de les TIC i la Gestió del Coneixement com instruments que impulsen i afavoreixen la INNOVACIÓ en el si de les empreses, permetent una millora de la competitivitat i la productivitat.
dijous, 12 d’abril de 2012
Experiencing Change in German Controlling
German Management Accounting
There is a relatively little
empirical research in accounting in Germany, if we compare with research into
organizational and societal contexts of accounting - of the kind that has
become well established in the UK, Scandinavia and much of Mediterranean Europe
- has been almost non-existing in Germany.
As a consequence, the
definition of accounting terms doesn´t have the same meaning and sometimes in
the German literature one term could have different meanings, because they
don´t have a theorical common body, as English literature (CIMA
- Character Institute of Management Accounting), for example if we
look into the meaning difference between both terms "Management
accounting" and "Management accountants" en English
language, versus the German terminology of related terms "Controlling"
and "Controller"; though there is a certain overlap
between the techniques and functions of management accounting carried out by Management
accountants in the UK and those carried out by Controller in Germany, however
the overlap is by no means complete. Furthermore, there is gulf between
academic and practice-controlling term, whereas the Controlling meaning inside
academic field may, variously, be modeled as focused upon information,
rationality or coordination, nevertheless research
into controlling practices is rare in Germany.
So, we are going to study
three company cases where we could disclosure perceptions of practice
Controlling roles and I hope to find and answer to the query ´What is
Historically German management
accounting is portrayed as strongly influenced by the seminal academic
contributions of Schmalenbach, Plaut, Gutenberg, Kilger, Riebel and
Hováth. The profile of this academics authors is close to economic theory
than is the case in the UK: ´Most British accountants have only a
superficial awareness of economic theories and ideas´. As regards this
different background, German approach that insists that it should be separate cost
accounting which deals costs and benefits, explained by models named `contribution
margin accounting´(Deckungsbeitragsrechnung) and ´flexible standard cost´
(FSC); from financial accounting which carries out with the role
of transaction-based payments and receipt, that it is shaping by capital
maintenance and tax requirements.
Focusing on FSC intended to be
a practicable system... the number of relevant variable cost drivers is
normally reduced to one per cost center. Therefore, cost center
accounting helps the enterprise to control cost in defined reporting units
and it follow that: ´Cost drivers must be measured in the cost center.
Responsible reporting units must be clearly defined to monitor costs.
Stemming from the hyperinflation
in the 1920s and the state planning system of the 1930s, the financial
accounting rules specified by German commercial low (Hendlesgesetzbuch) have
been strictly oriented towards historical cost. Whereas, Anglo-American
practice have been using transaction-based cost output, that means the
most significant imputed cost is an extra depreciation charge based on an
estimate of the replacement cost of fixed assets, therefore a measure of real
economic cost which is more useful for management decisions such as pricing.
In spite of there is a lot of
overviews from this observations which seek to make a generalizations about
German Accounting, it is no always clear whether the claims advanced are
normative theories about what German ´best practices´ should be, or
descriptive accounts of actual practice (and if the latter what is the source
of the information). There may be some gulf between the academic framing of
German accounting and its practical application.
Ahrens (1999) - Contrasting
Involvements: A Study of Management accountants in Britain and Germany.
Amsterdam, Harwood Academic Press. - identified three crucial features of
the distinctiveness of German management, compared with that of the UK, in the
1.The emphasis of functional
differentiation: in which the production
function was recognized as of high specialist expertise not amenable to close
interrogation by management accountants.
2.Relatively centralized and
detailed operational control: which relied upon concrete,
ofther physical, and information.
3.A conception of management
that emphasized specific, specialist, technical knowledge and did not encompass the kind of abstract, generalist notions of
management - particularly ´people management´-
Ahrens concluded that, Germany, management accounts were more different
about intervening in operational matters, deferred more to technical specialist
opinion, and saw Controlling as a task of planning and informing that was at
arm´s length with management decision-making. In contrast to the privileging of
management accounting´s portrayal of (financial) reality in the UK, German
companies were found to prioritize operations rationales of actions.
In addition, both academic knowledge is influenced by professional organizational
body, which copy even within the universities through undergraduate programmers.
Conversely, what it happens in the Germany where universities seem to have been
much more influential in setting the theoretical foundations for the discipline
of Betriebswirtschaftslehre early in
the career of those who will later become Controllers.
The German model of Controlling may be
characterized by three general features:
1.The separation of cost and management accounting from financial
by the German term ‘Einkreissystem’
on cycle system describing the Anglo-Saxon general ledger system and ‘Zwekreissystem’
two cycle system denominating the German system of different ledgers for
financial and cost accounting, leading to a distancing of Controllers from
2.Separation of Controlling from operations, ins present in the mission statement of the Internationaler of Controller Verein (International
Controller Association). Distancing controlling function from the
operational day-to-day business in the name of objectivity, and this is a way
to take into account strategic issues.
3.The role of Controllers as coordinators rather than members of
to a separation between function of managing distancing Controllers from
management, conversely, what happens in UK where management accountants may be
seen as part of the management team. This claim is already present in the
International Controller Association´s idea of the Controller as ‘pilot´and ‘ and
economic awareness of the company.