Accounting, Management Control and the Financial Function in the Mission of the Firm

21 Pages Posted: 25 Nov 2015

See all articles by Josep M. Rosanas

Josep M. Rosanas

University of Navarra - IESE Business School

Date Written: November 23, 2015


Accounting systems are an essential tool for providing information for decision-making intended for the survival of the firm in the long run, which will benefit the different stakeholders of the firm (if managed properly) and society in general. Of course, the financial function and the financial institutions have an important role to fulfill from a social welfare point of view as well: that of obtaining resources at a reasonable cost and using them efficiently. But financial management, instead of being a tool, can be converted in the main objective of the firm, and accounting in this context (heavily influenced by finance) may be misused for this purpose, mainly in the short run. Often, this leads to behaviors that become unethical. The functions accounting and finance should perform as understood only as tools to achieve higher objectives (essentially, an operational and sound mission for the firm) are taken to be the objectives to be pursued, to the detriment of the firm's mission itself. Typically, when this is done, this type of inversion of values encourages unethical behavior. This paper is intended to show how this is possible and why, and what the possible ways to keep this from happening are.

Keywords: Ethics of accounting; Ethics of finance; Indicators; Individual motives; Management control; Mission; Metrics

JEL Classification: M49

Suggested Citation

Rosanas, Josep M., Accounting, Management Control and the Financial Function in the Mission of the Firm (November 23, 2015). IESE Business School Working Paper No. WP-1098-E, Available at SSRN: or

Josep M. Rosanas (Contact Author)

University of Navarra - IESE Business School ( email )

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Barcelona, 08034
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34 932534343 (Fax)

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