Academic journal article Journal of Management Research

The Choice of Management Accounting Techniques in the Hotel Sector: The Role of Contextual Factors

Academic journal article Journal of Management Research

The Choice of Management Accounting Techniques in the Hotel Sector: The Role of Contextual Factors

Article excerpt


This article analyses the management accounting techniques that are currently being used by four and five star hotels, considering the role played by contextual factors in choosing them. For this reason, we have used a qualitative and explanatory methodology, studying multiple cases. The need for adequate, concise and specific information by part of the organizations, in the current environment, has propitiated the emergence of new management techniques.

Keywords: Management Accounting, Hotel, Contingency Theory

1. Introduction

During recent years the world economy has experienced unprecedented changes, a consequence of a highly complex transformation in which many forces intervene, from the dynamics of competition, the globalization of markets, the evolution of stocks, to the technological advances in the field of information and communications.

In this situation, organizations find themselves compelled to redefine the foundations of their business, and therefore to seek solutions that will permit them to survive and prosper. Information plays a primordial role in this scenario, mainly because it constitutes the basic pillar of an increasingly interconnected and globalized society.

Among the information systems par excellence are accounting systems, as they are designed to give objective and quantifiable data, on all levels of the organization. And more specifically, management accounting, a subsystem whose aim is the capture, measurement and valuation of internal circulation, as well as its rationalization and control, in order to supply the organization with relevant information for business decision making (AECA, 1990).

Management accounting has evolved in response to changes in the productive and organizational environment of the firm, showing new horizons and considerations. These aspects are found in the cost and management accounting programs of many universities. However, it is a premise in some research studies that organizations are not incorporating into their accounting practices the new techniques and tools proposed by theorists (Hansen & Van der Stade, 2004; Pellinen & Satinen, 2002; Rigby, 2003; Wawern et al., 2004).

The analysis of the literature indicates that business accounting practice does not adapt in the great majority of cases to the theoretical models produced by the researchers in this field (Al-Omiri & Drury, 2007; Béseos, 2003; Lamminmaki & Drury 2001; Spathis & Constantinide, 2004).

This justifies the need to undertake studies to identify the management accounting techniques used and question the belief, frequent in the literature that a certain technique is used by many companies, when there is no empirical evidence of its use.

The objective of our empirical study is to know and to analyze what techniques of management accounting are currently being used, considering the role played by contextual factors in the selection of such techniques. For this we have used a qualitative and explanatory methodology, in a multiple case study.

We focus on a single economic sector, the hotel sector, as this will allow us to delimit the effects deriving from market conditions, the economic cycle and production technology.

If we analyze the hotel supply of the Valencian Region, we observe that it has experienced a steep increase in the last five years, and although the number of tourists continues to grow, and expectations are excellent, the current supply is greater than the demand, so the average occupation decreases every year. Another datum that reflects with even greater clarity the current situation of the sector is the average price per room, which fell by 8% last year (Generalitat Valenciana, Conselleria de Turisme).

The unchecked increase of hotel places has caused over-supply, which together with increasingly demanding customers and an inability to predict the future, have made the hotel industry have to formulate ever more complex strategies in order to achieve its objectives and to be competitive within the sector. …

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