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The last two decades has seen a revolution in management accounting theory and practice due to the challenges of the competitive environment in the 1980s Kaplan and Johnson 1987 identified the failings and obsolescence of existing cost and performance measurement systems which led to re-examination of traditional cost accounting and management control systems Conventional financial and management accounting methods have developed primarily as a result of corporate legislation in the 1930s forcing companies to provide externally published financial accounts Management accounting is primarily focused as a decision making tool for running a business hence they require more flexibility According to Kaplan management accounts have become a subset of financial accounts and that they reflect more on the external rather than internal requirements of the company Most of the managerial decision-making and control systems in use in the late 1980s were described by Johnson and Kaplan as stagnant As a result they went onto research in new accounting systems raising the profile of internal accounting systems by use of financial and non-financial measures although their work was seen as controversial by Drury but is now considered of key importance to manufacturing industries aiming to become world class This essay aims to discuss the ways in which new management accounting techniques can bring life into mature businesses in particular those using non-financial measures Most companies still use the same cost accounting and management control systems that were developed decades ago in a competitive environment drastically different from today These systems have major drawbacks described below They distort product costs ie absorption of production overheads into product costs for the purpose of stock valuation The external financial reporting process was purely driving this allocation of overheads for stock valuation They do not produce the key non-financial data required for effective and efficient operations hence they are of little help to operating managers seeking to reduce costs and improve productivity
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