Changing the speed and format of information provision

Examining the temporal decoupling of accounting numbers and their analysis

Authored by: Nicolás J. B. Wiedemann , Leona Wiegmann

The Routledge Companion to Accounting Information Systems

Print publication date:  December  2017
Online publication date:  December  2017

Print ISBN: 9781138125865
eBook ISBN: 9781315647210
Adobe ISBN:


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Managers are “people who make decisions about a business, department, […], etc.” (Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary, n.d.) and communicate information to internal and external stakeholders (Barnard, 1938). For those purposes, they rely on managerial information provided by various sources (McLeod and Jones, 1986; Jones et al., 1989) such as management accountants. Historically, management accountants have been recognized by scholars as crucial sources of information due to their prominent professional role (Burns and Baldvinsdottir, 2005). This role has undergone a major shift over the last decades, as several studies have observed (e.g. Granlund and Lukka, 1997): from “bean counters”, who primarily gathered historical data and measured past performance, to internal consultants or “business partners”, who provide more in-depth insights such as analytical interpretation and scenario analyses (Atkinson et al., 2012; Hansen and Mowen, 2007; Siegel et al., 2003). This development was primarily facilitated by innovations in information technology (IT) during the 1990s (Booth et al., 2000; Sánchez-Rodríguez and Spraakman, 2012; Scapens and Jazayeri, 2003). Information systems (IS) that were up and coming at the time, such as enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems, made it possible to harmonize multiple stand-alone systems across different functions into a single organization-wide system (Spathis and Ananiadis, 2005; Davenport, 1998). This new opportunity empowered management accountants to develop holistic digital representations of organizations; consequently, they were able to provide managers with more recent, accurate and in-depth analyses (Sánchez-Rodríguez and Spraakman, 2012).

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