This gives the management accountant two reasons for change (Cooper, 1996). Firstly, the accountant must recognise the importance of the whole workings of the organisation and its environment, which goes beyond the financial information, ‘making management accounting orientated towards the fundamental drivers of performance has been an underlying theme in similar calls for non-financial “strategic control” measures’ (Vaivio, 1999, p. 410).
Secondly, the accountant can no-longer hide behind financial terminology as a justification for his position. Pierce and O’Dea (2003, p. 2) discuss the importance of the management accountant (as the preparer of the information) providing value:
For the user, a system is successful when it helps enhance job performance, or attains ‘organisational validity’. It has also been found that where preparers identify strongly with users’ requirements, users and preparers are more likely to share the same perceptions of system effectiveness.
Therefore, a decision to not employ professionals may be due to the accountant’s failure to understand the key performance drivers of the industry, and the manager finding little value in the information provided.
In an industry where an accountant is concentrating on financial information, when the non-financial indicators are as important, it is obviously a perception difference. Doran (2004) reports that the most common reason (forty-two percent of respondents) for not employing more services of the accountant is the client’s perception that there is no need for him, while the second biggest barrier is the cost issue. The ability of the accountant to work effectively with non-compliance services was also judged to be overridden by large client bases and compliance workload.
Increased emphasis by managers on non-financial drivers has also increased leverage in making decisions without relying solely on accounting advice. Coupled with the increase in availability of management information systems (MISs), companies have no need for accountants to aggregate data, ‘… because of advances in information technology [IT] and database systems, it is now possible to design management accounting systems that fulfil the service role and meet the needs of managers’ (Pierce and O’Dea, 2003, p. 3).
Therefore, the employment of the non-compliance services of the accountant is determined by his analytical skills in excess of MISs, and his value-added input in decision-making.