The paper "Lapsley and Rekers’ Are Theorizing Strategy in Management Accounting" is an outstanding example of a management assignment. Lapsley and Rekers (2017) are theorizing strategy in management accounting because there is an unresolved debate on the meaning of the concepts of “ strategy” and “ strategic management accounting” (SMA) as applied in management accounting. The authors argue for instance that although SMA continues to be a tool that is accepted within exciting literature on what comprises the modern portfolio of management accounting techniques, many studies conducted over the past two years have challenged whether SMA really exists.
Therefore, by theorizing strategy in management accounting, the authors are reviewing the various ideas that have been put forward by various authors as regards the use of strategy in management accounting, or what is commonly referred to as SMA. The issues addressed by Lapsley and Rekers (2017), as well as other authors, point to why the debate on strategy in management accounting is an issue that is still subject to further debate. In particular, the term “ strategic management accounting” was coined in 1981 by Simmonds, who envisaged profit emanating not from how effectively a firm functioned internally, but from the firm’ s competitive position over a given period (Lord, 2007, p.
138). In other words, Simmonds viewed SMA as a process by which a firm applies a strategy that enables the firm to become competitive over time, in the process being able to make a profit. A business strategy can be defined as a concept by which a business produces long-term plans, taking into consideration the possible actions of the competition, with an objective of putting the firm in a competitive position (Lord, 2007, p.
135). From the point of view of strategy, SMA is seen as encompassing a set of accounting techniques that are strategically oriented to make a business more competitive. As well, SMA can also be seen as being related to the involvement of accountants is making strategic corporate decisions (Cadez & Guilding, 2008, p. 838). Bell, Ansari, Klammer and Lawrence (n. d.) have also added to the debate on SMA by noting that in order for management accounting to have strategic value, it must help in accomplishing three goals of cost, quality and time by providing details that link the actions of managers to the organisation’ s strategic aims, enables managers to effectively engage an organisation’ s stakeholders, and takes a long-term view of an organisation’ s actions and strategies. It is therefore interesting when Lapsley and Rekers (2017) cite some authors who have argued that SMA does not even exist.
One argument is that SMA is a “ figment of academic imagination” while another is that “ SMA has not been accepted as an accounting practice and that its language is in use by other professions” (Lapsley & Rekers, 2017).
Such statements imply that there is no general consensus on the meaning of “ strategy” and strategic management accounting” as used in relation to management accounting. Therefore, by theorizing strategy in management accounting, Lapsley and Rekers (2017) are providing readers with an opportunity to look at the concept of strategy as it relates to management accounting in different ways. For instance, the authors suggest that the concept of “ strategy-as-practice” (SAP) can be used to provide a slightly different understanding of what strategy means.
And it is SAP that the authors used in analysing the practice of strategy in their research.
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