Characteristics of the Strategic Planning Process and the Relevance of Management Accounting: Evidence from German Dax30 Companies
34 Pages Posted: 31 Jul 2007
Date Written: 2006
Corporate strategies often evolve from a complex and extensive corporate-wide planning process. Many stakeholders of the company are involved in this process, for instance corporate management, strategists, or business unit managers. So far, no paper that we are aware of has analysed the characteristics of the strategy process in connection with the role of management accountants in the strategy process. Therefore, it is the purpose of this paper to analyse if management accountants support, participate in and influence the strategic planning process and how they do it. A cross-sectional field study was undertaken to answer this research question, in which we interviewed 29 top management executives in 11 company groups in Germany. We found differing roles and intensities of management accountants' participation and influence in the planning process depending on the specific corporate context. Furthermore we divided the process into four phases: strategic analysis, strategy conception, strategy implementation, and control phase. By conducting a detailed examination of the characteristics of the corporate strategy process, including relevant participants, structure of information flows, or formal framework we were able to differentiate three different types of strategy processes: type one with only minor moderating management accounting participation; type two with major management accounting participation in later strategy process phases; and type three with a strong emphasis of management accounting on the control phase at the end of the strategy process. Depending on the process type management accountants have different formal tasks and objectives and therefore use varying tool sets, ranging from traditional cost accounting to general management instruments like portfolio analysis.
Keywords: strategy process, strategic management accounting
JEL Classification: M40
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