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Relevance Lost: The Rise and Fall of Management Accounting Hardcover – March 1, 1991

9 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

H. Thomas Johnson is a professor of management accounting.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 296 pages
  • Publisher: Harvard Business Review Press (March 1, 1991)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0875842542
  • ISBN-13: 978-0875842547
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 6.2 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #582,942 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Mariano Apuya Jr on May 14, 2003
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Relevance lost of a book about the history of management accounting. The book is very well documented in that in times they were able to deduce different conclusions made by others. They start from the very beginning exploring as far back as the 18th century. They start out by discussing how textile mills started recording in their books accounting information. They begin from the very beginnings of accounting. Accounting emerged as a discipline in the early 18th century, but their underlying purpose in not for internal uses but it was created so that stakeholders can gauge the value of their investment in the firms that put out these financial statements. In the book there are a number of firms they highlight that made important contributions to management accounting. The first company they highlight is DuPont corporation in the nineteenth century. There is a theme to the development of management accounting. DuPont first staterted out as a manufacturer of gunpowder but went on to become bigger. The first companies that innovated their way of internal controls in management accounting grew out of a necessity. DuPont first came out with a measure of their business which was the return on investment measure. Because Dupont was becoming bigger and it needed to measure return on investment to measure the profitability of individual business units. It was a measuring rod to asses the different business activities of it business units. With this measure the managers of DuPont could make decisions such us which business units to invest on and do away with units that are performing poorly.
In the 1920's at General Motors they have been experimenting with using variances to measure how well they are doing in their manufacturing.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Dr. David Arelette on August 13, 1998
Format: Hardcover
For those management accountants who feel less than totally appreciated (the real ones will know this to be a common feeling) then this book shows how financial accounting usurped management accounting when the bean counters went looking for shareholders and needed to tell less than the truth about what was going on inside their firms.
If auditors are just hookers with a degree, then financial accountants are then just politicians without a cause - you cannot run a business on late and averaged data from the financial perspective.
This book reminds us that knowing what things cost to make and cost to sell is what keeps a firm on the black ink side of the ledger.
Worth a read.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Coert Visser on November 27, 2001
Format: Hardcover
If you want to understand everything about the historical backgrounds of such now well-known management instruments like the balanced scorecard, activity based costing and EVA, there is no better book to read than this book. This book started off a transformation of management accounting and of organizational performance management. Essential reading for controllers, students of management and management consultants.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 10, 1997
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a small book which puts forward the idea that we must return to a better use of product cost data to make decisions. The authors review the literature going back to the first industries in the 1700's that used cost data in a managerial way. The work quotes heavily A. Chandler, J.M. Clark and Vatter for their contributions. It then reformulates their idea's and other historical data to come to the author's conclusion. In summary, it is well done for those interested in the subject and have an appreciation for business history
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By J. Langer on July 15, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Good in-depth survey of the history and purpose of Management Accounting. Classic book. You see Kaplan's thought processes as he develops the basis of his later works on new forms of accounting such as the Balanced Scorecard and EVA.
If you are a management accountant this book will put your work into perspective as well as caution you about the pitfalls of doing things the way theu have always been done.
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