The Use of Forecast Accuracy Indicators to Improve Planning Quality: Insights from a Case Study
European Accounting Review, Forthcoming
39 Pages Posted: 8 Mar 2019
Date Written: February 18, 2019
Accounting studies have analyzed rolling forecasts and similar dynamic approaches to planning as a way to improve the quality of planning. We complement this research by investigating an alternative (complementary) way to improve planning quality, i.e., the use of forecast accuracy indicators as a results control mechanism. Our study particularly explores the practical challenges that might emerge when firms use a performance measure for forecast accuracy. We examine such challenges by means of an in-depth case study of a manufacturing firm that started to monitor sales forecast accuracy. Drawing from interviews, meeting observations and written documentation, we highlight two possible concerns with the use of forecast accuracy: concerns related to the limited degree of controllability of the performance measure and concerns with its goal congruence. We illustrate how organizational actors experienced these challenges and how they adapted their approach to forecast accuracy in response to them. Our empirical observations do not only shed light on the possibilities and challenges pertaining to the use of forecast accuracy as a performance measure; they also improve our understanding of how specific qualities of performance measures apply to ‘truth-inducing’ indicators, and how the particular organizational and market context can shape the quality of performance measures more generally.
Keywords: forecasting, accuracy, planning, budgeting, controllability, goal congruence
JEL Classification: M41, M11
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation