managerial accounting

managerial accounting

economics. Accounting courses include nonprofit accounting, intermediate accounting, accounting theory, and managerial accounting. A deeper appreciation of the challenges of managing complex organizations was acquired by serving as the Simon School’s Deputy Dean

and on the board of directors of several public corporations. Professor Zimmerman publishes widely in accounting on topics as diverse as cost

allocations, corporate governance, disclosure, financial accounting theory, capital markets, and executive compensation. His paper “The Costs and Benefits of Cost Allocations” won the American Accounting Association’s Competitive Manuscript Contest. He is recog- nized for developing Positive Accounting Theory. This work, co-authored with colleague Ross Watts, at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, received the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants’ Notable Contribution to the Accounting Literature Award for “Towards a Positive Theory of the Determination of Accounting Standards” and “The Demand for and Supply of Accounting Theories: The Market for Excuses.” Both papers appeared in the Accounting Review. Professors Watts and Zimmerman are also co-authors of the highly cited textbook Positive Accounting Theory (Prentice Hall, 1986). Profes- sors Watts and Zimmerman received the 2004 American Accounting Association Semi- nal Contribution to the Literature award. Professor Zimmerman’s textbooks also include Managerial Economics and Organizational Architecture with Clifford Smith and James Brickley, 6th ed. (McGraw-Hill, 2016) and Management Accounting in a Dynamic Envi- ronment with Cheryl McWatters (Routledge UK, 2016). He is a founding editor of the Journal of Accounting and Economics, published by Elsevier. This scientific journal is one of the most highly referenced accounting publications.

He and his wife Dodie have two daughters, Daneille and Amy. Jerry has been known to occasionally engage friends and colleagues in an amicable diversion on the links.

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During their professional careers, managers in all organizations, profit and nonprofit, rely on their accounting systems. Sometimes managers use the accounting system to acquire information for decision making. At other times, the accounting system measures perfor- mance and thereby influences their behavior. The accounting system is both a source of information for decision making and part of the organization’s control mechanisms—thus, the title of the book, Accounting for Decision Making and Control.

The purpose of this book is to provide students and managers with an understand- ing and appreciation of the strengths and limitations of an organization’s accounting system, thereby allowing them to be more intelligent users of these systems. This book provides a framework for understanding accounting systems and a basis for analyzing proposed changes to these systems. The text demonstrates that managerial account- ing is an integral part of the firm’s organizational architecture, not just an isolated set of computational topics.

Changes in the Ninth Edition Feedback from reviewers and instructors using the prior editions and my own teaching experience provided the basis for the revision. In particular, the following changes have been made:

• Each chapter has been revised to further enhance readability and remove redundancy. • References to actual company practices have been updated. • Users were uniform in their praise of the problem material. They found it challenged

their students to critically analyze multidimensional issues while still requiring numerical problem-solving skills.

• The end-of-chapter problem material was revised by adding 45 new problems— including some related to health care and knowledge-based service firms—and removing outdated problems.

• The ninth edition is a more concise revision that presents the same fundamental con- cepts, learning objectives, and challenging critical thinking end-of-chapter materials as in prior editions.

Overview of Content Chapter 1 presents the book’s conceptual framework by using a simple decision context regarding accepting an incremental order from a current customer. The chapter describes why firms use a single accounting system and the concept of economic Darwinism, among other important topics. This chapter is an integral part of the text.


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Chapters 2, 4, and 5 present the underlying conceptual framework. The importance of opportunity costs in decision making, cost–volume–profit analysis, and the difference between accounting costs and opportunity costs are discussed in Chapter 2. Chapter 4 employs the economic theory of organizations and organizational architecture as the con- ceptual foundation to understand the role of the accounting system as part of the organiza- tion’s control mechanism. Chapter 5 describes the crucial role of accounting as part of the firm’s organizational architecture. Chapter 3 on capital budgeting extends opportunity costs to a multiperiod setting. This chapter can be skipped without affecting the flow of later material. Alternatively, Chapter 3 can be assigned at the end of the course.

Chapter 6 applies the conceptual framework and illustrates the trade-off managers face between decision making and control in a budgeting system. Budgets are a decision- making tool to coordinate activities within the firm and are a device to control behavior. This chapter provides an in-depth illustration of how budgets are an important part of an organization’s decision-making and control apparatus.

Chapter 7 presents a general analysis of why managers allocate certain costs and the behavioral implications of these allocations. Cost allocations affect both decision making and incentives. Again, managers face a trade-off between decision making and control. Chapter 8 continues the cost allocation discussion by describing the “death spiral” that can occur when significant fixed costs exist and excess capacity arises. This leads to an analysis of how to treat capacity costs—a trade-off between underutilization and overin- vestment. Finally, the chapter describes several specific cost allocation methods such as service department costs and joint costs.

Chapter 9 applies the general analysis of overhead allocation in Chapters 7 and 8 to the specific case of absorption costing in a manufacturing setting. The managerial implications of traditional absorption costing are provided in Chapters 10 and 11. Chapter 10 analyzes variable costing, and activity-based costing is the topic of Chapter 11. Variable costing is an interesting example of economic Darwinism. Proponents of variable costing argue that it does not distort decision making and therefore should be adopted. Nonetheless, it is not widely practiced, probably because of tax, financial reporting, and control considerations.

Chapter 12 discusses the decision-making and control implications of standard labor and material costs. Chapter 13 extends the discussion to overhead and marketing vari- ances. Chapters 12 and 13 can be omitted without interrupting the flow of later material. Finally, Chapter 14 synthesizes the course by reviewing the conceptual framework and applying it to various organizational innovations, such as total quality management, just in time, six sigma, lean production, and the balanced scorecard. These innovations provide an opportunity to apply the analytic framework underlying the text.

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Acknowledgments William Vatter and George Benston motivated my interest in managerial accounting. The genesis for this book and its approach reflect the oral tradition of my colleagues, past and present, at the University of Rochester. William Meckling and Michael Jensen stimu- lated my thinking and provided much of the theoretical structure underlying the book, as anyone familiar with their work will attest. My long and productive collaboration with Ross Watts sharpened my analytical skills and further refined the approach. He also fur- nished most of the intellectual capital for Chapter 3, including the problem material. Ray Ball has been a constant source of ideas. Clifford Smith and James Brickley continue to enhance my economic education. Three colleagues, Andrew Christie, Dan Gode, and Scott Keating, supplied particularly insightful comments that enriched the analysis at critical junctions. Valuable comments from Anil Arya, Ron Dye, Andy Leone, Dale Morse, Ram Ramanan, K. Ramesh, Shyam Sunder, and Joseph Weintrop are gratefully acknowledged.

This project benefited greatly from the honest and intelligent feedback of numerous instructors. I wish to thank Mahendra Gupta, Susan Hamlen, Badr Ismail, Charles Kile, Leslie Kren, Don May, William Mister, Mohamed Onsi, Ram Ramanan, Stephen Ryan, Michael Sandretto, Richard Sansing, Deniz Saral, Gary Schneider, Joe Weber, and William Yancey. This book also benefited from two other projects with which I have been involved. Writing Managerial Economics and Organizational Architecture (McGraw Hill Education, 2016) with James Brickley and Clifford Smith and Management Accounting in a Dynamic Environment (Routledge, 2016) with Cheryl McWatters helped me to better understand how to present certain topics.

To the numerous students who endured the development process, I owe an enormous debt of gratitude. I hope they learned as much from the material as I learned teaching them. Some were even kind enough to provide critiques and suggestions, in particular Jan Dick Eijkelboom. Others supplied, either directly or indirectly, the problem material in the text. The able research assistance of P. K. Madappa, Eamon Molloy, Jodi Parker, Steve Sand- ers, Richard Sloan, and especially Gary Hurst, contributed amply to the manuscript and problem material. Janice Willett and Barbara Schnathorst did a superb job of editing the manuscript and problem material.

The very useful comments and suggestions from the following reviewers are greatly appreciated:

Urton Anderson Howard M. Armitage Vidya Awasthi Kashi Balachandran Da-Hsien Bao Ron Barden Howard G. Berline Margaret Boldt David Borst Eric Bostwick Marvin L. Bouillon Wayne Bremser David Bukovinsky Linda Campbell

William M. Cready James M. Emig Gary Fane Anita Feller Tahirih Foroughi Ivar Fris Jackson F. Gillespie Irving Gleim Jon Glover Gus Gordon Sylwia Gornik-Tomaszewski Tony Greig Susan Haka Bert Horwitz

Steven Huddart Robert Hurt Douglas A. Johnson Lawrence A. Klein Thomas Krissek A. Ronald Kucic Daniel Law Chi-Wen Jevons Lee Suzanne Lowensohn James R. Martin Alan H. McNamee Marilyn Okleshen Shailandra Pandit Sam Phillips

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viii Preface

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