Balancing the Dual Responsibilities of Business Unit Controllers: Field and Survey Evidence
Posted: 15 Feb 2007 Last revised: 29 Mar 2013
Date Written: December 11, 2008
We examine how business unit (BU) controllers balance their dual roles of providing information for both local decision making (local responsibility) and corporate control (functional responsibility). The existing literature suggests that organizations can improve the quality of financial reporting and internal controls by increasing the emphasis on the functional responsibility of BU controllers. In this study, we rely on prior literature and insights from field interviews to argue that such an increase also leads to role ambiguity and conflict, which in turn can lead to an increased tolerance of data misreporting. We test our predictions using survey responses of 134 BU controllers. As predicted, we find that the emphasis on the functional responsibility of BU controllers is positively associated with role conflict and role ambiguity, both of which are antecedents of data misreporting at the BU level.
Keywords: Controllers, management accountants, role conflict, role ambiguity, earnings management, budgeting
JEL Classification: C93, M10, M40, M54
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation