Purpose – In recent years, the modernization of public management has become a topic of major concern. Public accounting practices, most often oriented towards recording payments and receipts, must become a genuine management tool in order to make the financial state of the government or a public organization more readily understandable and comprehensive. The purpose of this paper is to investigate the level and diffusion of cost management techniques in Italian public universities, and the factors influencing the specific tools utilised. Design/methodology/approach – The paper is based on a longitudinal case study concerning cost accounting practises in Italian higher education system. The study is a survey investigating the population of Italian public universities (N. 80 entities). For the purpose of the paper a questionnaire was sent to administrative directors or equivalent staff members. The dependent variables are the cost analysis dimension, and specific techniques and procedures adopted. The independent variables are the accounting systems, ICT tools, and managerial culture of the academic institutions investigated. Findings – The paper reveals how low levels of management accounting are adopted and implemented in Italian universities. It highlights a rather scarce diffusion and a limited development of management accounting techniques. The reasons are mainly related to the independent variables listed below. As a consequence the study shows a positive linkage between the development of management accounting techniques and the accounting systems adopted, ICT tools available, and managerial culture. The intensity of cost management studies, the law and accounting standards development and many environmental factors should stimulate the diffusion of cost management techniques in academic institutions, but the results of the present survey do not confirm this hypothesis. Research implications – The paper focuses on specific case: the Italian higher education system. The findings show the extent to which there is a relevant potential in improving management accounting approach in higher education system through the removal of limiting factors underlined. Originality/value - The paper extends and advances the literature examining implications of adoption and implementation of management accounting techniques in higher education system through out a longitudinal case study. It involves the perspective of actual and potential users of management accounting techniques.

Management Accounting in Higher Education System: The Italian Case

DEL SORDO, CARLOTTA;ORELLI, REBECCA LEVY
2008

Abstract

Purpose – In recent years, the modernization of public management has become a topic of major concern. Public accounting practices, most often oriented towards recording payments and receipts, must become a genuine management tool in order to make the financial state of the government or a public organization more readily understandable and comprehensive. The purpose of this paper is to investigate the level and diffusion of cost management techniques in Italian public universities, and the factors influencing the specific tools utilised. Design/methodology/approach – The paper is based on a longitudinal case study concerning cost accounting practises in Italian higher education system. The study is a survey investigating the population of Italian public universities (N. 80 entities). For the purpose of the paper a questionnaire was sent to administrative directors or equivalent staff members. The dependent variables are the cost analysis dimension, and specific techniques and procedures adopted. The independent variables are the accounting systems, ICT tools, and managerial culture of the academic institutions investigated. Findings – The paper reveals how low levels of management accounting are adopted and implemented in Italian universities. It highlights a rather scarce diffusion and a limited development of management accounting techniques. The reasons are mainly related to the independent variables listed below. As a consequence the study shows a positive linkage between the development of management accounting techniques and the accounting systems adopted, ICT tools available, and managerial culture. The intensity of cost management studies, the law and accounting standards development and many environmental factors should stimulate the diffusion of cost management techniques in academic institutions, but the results of the present survey do not confirm this hypothesis. Research implications – The paper focuses on specific case: the Italian higher education system. The findings show the extent to which there is a relevant potential in improving management accounting approach in higher education system through the removal of limiting factors underlined. Originality/value - The paper extends and advances the literature examining implications of adoption and implementation of management accounting techniques in higher education system through out a longitudinal case study. It involves the perspective of actual and potential users of management accounting techniques.
ICERI 2008 Proceedings
70
80
Del Sordo C.; Orelli R.L.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11585/62163
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