Academic journal article Journal of International Business Research

The Perception of Employees towards the Management Accountant Roles as an "Actor": A Research in Bangkok and Surabaya

Academic journal article Journal of International Business Research

The Perception of Employees towards the Management Accountant Roles as an "Actor": A Research in Bangkok and Surabaya

Article excerpt

INTRODUCTION

There are many perceptions about the roles of management accountant in organizations. Some perceptions, view a management accountant as a cost accountant with specific skills in production and control. In contrast, others view the management accountant as a broad based operations manager with responsibilities for planning, directing, monitoring and controlling, and reporting (Flagg, 1992). Additionally, National Association of Accountants (NAA) in America views management accountant as "managers" who serve an organization in pivotal role of coordinating and controlling administrative and technical functions while accumulating information to guide the decision making process. These perceptions came from the facts that people saw about the roles of management accounting in the work field.

In Modern Management Accounting Theory (Devie, et al., 2008) there are four types of the roles of management accountant in organization, namely as an "Administration", as a "Doer", as a "Conceptor" and as an "Actor". Accountant as an "Administrator" is a management accountant who takes part in administration such as recording account receivable/account payable, creating sales invoice or being a cashier. In reality, Accountant who has position in this quadrant can't be grouped into Accountant, because they just conduct the book keeping activity but not the accounting process. Accountant as a "Doer" is a management accountant who runs an accounting system in a day-to-day operational of organization. Accountant as a "Conceptor" is a management accountant who has a higher understanding level of accounting concept than the previous ones, but the concept is not important yet in organization. Accountant as an "Actor" is a management accountant who is concerned in strategy level or gives the needed information to top-level management related to strategic decision.

According to the research conducted in 2008 (Devie, et al.), in Indonesian context, there were still many management accountants involved in technical or administrative level. The research showed that most of organizations in Indonesia knew management accountant as the person who had a significant role to provide the financial information about the organization. However, that role was grouped into an administrative level instead of a strategic one. This was determined by personal and corporate dimension of management accountant. Personal dimension meant a lack of understanding level accounting concept or education level. Corporate dimension was found on the type of organization where the accountant works, that is, both in public and limited company.

Flagg (1992), in his research proposed the roles of management accountant as the following:

* Technical level--gaining an understanding of the requisite skills to execute the operational and specialized functions within and organization such as cost accounting, capital budgeting, payroll, property management, cash management, etc.

* Administrative level--determining the role management play as a leader director, planner, organizer also coordinator.

* Strategic level--supporting role-range planning function.

Few people realize that management accountant should be involved in strategic level. The accountant's role should be expanded, that is, from being the preparer of financial statements to a more challenging one of someone who is involved in strategic level. Kaplan, in his book "The Evolution of Management Accounting" (1984) criticized the management accounting practice. Kaplan said that the traditional accounting systems focus on reporting information with little attention being given to the external environment and the effect of competitors' decision and cost structure on the current and future process of business (Abdel, 2006). The objective is to satisfy top-level management needs and to motivate and assist them in achieving organizational objectives in a timely, efficient, and effective manner (Kaplan & Atkinson, 1998; Hansen & Mowen, 1997). …

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