Department of Economics and Business Economics

New and Interesting Perspectives for the Management Accountant in a World of Data

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This paper aims to answer two specific research questions: how might business analytics influence the management accounting community and accountants and how can the community benefit from the growing interest in business analytics? The paper surveys the existing literature on business analytics and management accounting, which is still in its infancy. The intention is not to offer a comprehensive review, but to stimulate discussion and future possibilities. The paper identifies a number of studies from both academic journals but also reports from professional consultancies and accounting organisations concerning future opportunities and implications for management accounting in combination with business analytics. It was found that both academic articles but also accounting organisations together with large consultant companies suggest changes for the practical management accountant. It also shows that topics such as, a holistic view, fact-based decisions, predictions/forecasting, visualization, and specific analytics skills for the accountant are the most important areas mentioned. Finally, the paper demonstrates that there are different ambition levels for the management accountant, depending on if s(he) wants to be on a descriptive, on a predictive, or on a prescriptive level. The true value of the paper, therefore, lies in making management accountants more aware of the need to adjust for today’s challenges of business analytics/big data environment and, thereby, starting a debate on the possible adjustments for the management accountant’s skills for the future.
Original languageEnglish
Place of publicationAarhus
PublisherDepartment of Economics and Business Economics, Aarhus University
Number of pages23
Publication statusPublished - 17 Jun 2017

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