Flow Accounting: The Next Challenge for 21st Century Lean Businesses

  • John Darlington
  • Pauline FoundEmail author
  • Mark Francis
Part of the Measuring Operations Performance book series (MEOP)


Traditional management accounting conventions do not support the Lean paradigm and, whilst numerous alternative accounting approaches have been developed over the last 25 years, there is still dissatisfaction amongst academics and practitioners in developing an alternative approach to address this issue. This paper presents a framework for such an approach that the authors call Flow Accounting. This has been developed over a number of years of empirical research at several large test sites and is advanced as an improved management accounting approach for more effective performance assessment and operational decision-making within the Lean enterprise. This paper further presents an empirical case study of an application of the technique within the aerospace industry. In particular, it discusses the findings derived using a new holistic mapping technique called Big Picture Financial Mapping that helps target improvement initiatives and quantifies the financial potential.


Lean Standard costing Lean accounting Throughput accounting Decision making Flow accounting 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Buckingham Lean Enterprise Unit (BLEU), Buckingham Business SchoolUniversity of BuckinghamBuckinghamUK
  2. 2.Cardiff School of ManagementCardiff Metropolitan UniversityCardiffUK

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