Costing Strategies in Multinational Companies

25 Pages Posted: 12 Feb 2002

See all articles by Marco Agliati

Marco Agliati

SDA Bocconi; Bocconi University - Department of Accounting

Date Written: January 2002


The globalization of economic systems has initiated a new evolutionary phase in the business environment. A phase where production techniques, organizational structures and management systems evolve, driven by the evolution of business ideas. Companies that operate on a multinational basis find themselves at the center of this mainstream, influencing directly the nature and direction of this evolutionary process. The transformation of many markets into wide aggregates that cross the national boundaries, has allowed new solutions in labor division, and enabled new strategies in the organization of economic activities. Many companies have experienced the progressive deconstruction of their business systems, carried out through the geographical relocation of value chain activities, previously managed on a unitary basis. The grasp of the background that guides the choices about the set up of the production and logistics systems can help to define appropriate costing systems, and the proper architecture for the management accounting systems. More specifically, in such a context becomes of pivotal importance being able to make cost comparisons on homogeneous basis within the multinational context. Is therefore necessary to have cost measurement and cost management systems that can take into due account the imperatives posed by the new operational and organizational solutions, and that enable adequate answers to the evolving needs posed by the performance evaluation and control processes. According to this framework, the basic feature of the costing systems in a multinational enterprise can be analyzed with respect to four aspects: the structure of the industrial product cost, the methodology adopted to trace costs into the cost pools, the allocation methods followed to post costs to the reporting subjects, and the methodologies devised to support comparisons between service and support costs.

Keywords: Costing, Multinational, Activity-Based-Costing (ABC), Control, Benchmarking

JEL Classification: M40, F23, L23

Suggested Citation

Agliati, Marco, Costing Strategies in Multinational Companies (January 2002). DIR Research Division Working Paper No. 02-62, Available at SSRN: or

Marco Agliati (Contact Author)

SDA Bocconi ( email )

Via Bocconi 8
Milan, Milan 20136

Bocconi University - Department of Accounting ( email )

Via Roentgen 1
Milan, 20136

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