Planning and Control
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An important part of a management accountant’s work is the provision of financial information required by managers within the business. Two aspects of this work are: (i) the preparation of financial plans (e.g. budgets); and (ii) the collection of control data to monitor the implementation of such plans. The management accountant undertakes an important co-ordinating and consolidating role in the planning process. Data received from various sources are collated and evaluated within the accounting department. The end product of the process is a plan for some future period. During the course of that period the accounting system should generate information about the effectiveness of the plan’s implementation. Reports comparing the actual and expected outcomes may be prepared to highlight those areas where performance varies from the plan. These reports, generally called ‘control reports’, provide managers with an indication of the areas where special attention is required.
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Notes and References
- 3.A reader who is unfamiliar with these concepts may prefer a broader description — see, for example, J. Arnold, ‘Budgets for Decisions’, in Topics in Management Accounting, ed. J. Arnold, B. Carsberg and R. Scapens (Deddington: Philip Allan, 1980) ch. 6.Google Scholar
- 4.For a detailed description of variance analysis, see C. T. Horngren, Cost Accounting: A Managerial Emphasis, 4th edn (Englewood Cliffs, N. J.: Prentice-Hall, 1977) chs 7, 8 and 9.Google Scholar