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How do German companies run their cost accounting systems? Cost accounting systems in German companies provide a high level of detail for managers, focus on cost centers and cost center accounting, and separate costs into fixed and variable components for easy analysis of profits.

There is an ongoing debate in the United States about the performance of cost accounting systems. American managers tend to be dissatisfied with their own cost accounting methods, and there is widespread use of enterprise resource planning (ERP) IT systems based on German management accounting methods, so German cost accounting attracts a great deal of attention in the United States. (1) Some American managers believe that German companies provide best-practice examples because they are generally more satisfied with their systems. (2) (See Figure 1 for results from two surveys.) To provide a basis for comparison, we studied the cost accounting systems of a number of the largest German enterprises.

Starting with an overview of the differences between German and U.S. accounting practices, we first provide some insights into German management accounting practices. Then we report the results of a survey that sheds light on the cost accounting practices of large German companies. Finally, we consider factors that will impact the future of cost accounting in German companies. The results of this study indicate a surprisingly high level of satisfaction among German managers with the information they derive from their cost accounting methods. Another significant finding of our survey is that German cost accounting systems regularly distinguish between variable and fixed costs and are more detailed than their U.S. counterparts.

DIFFERENCES BETWEEN GERMAN AND AMERICAN COST ACCOUNTING PRACTICES

Cost accounting in the United States has regularly been criticized for not supporting managerial decision making and for inaccurate cost allocation resulting from widespread practice of allocating overhead costs based on direct labor. (3) Recent empirical studies of cost accounting practices in the United States have shown that direct labor costs are commonly used to establish the overhead rate base. (4) This result is surprising because activity-based costing (ABC) was designed to avoid this error. (5) U.S. firms, however, have been reluctant to implement ABC. Kip Krumwiede's 1998 study of the implementation stages of activity-based costing reported that only a quarter of responding enterprises applied it. (6) By 2005, Jeff Thomson and Jim Gurowka found that the system was already being described as "yesterday's hope." (7)

In Germany, however, several detailed management accounting systems were developed over the last century to overcome the flaws of external accounting.8 Because German financial accounting principles are designed to serve the purposes of creditors rather than investors, financial accounting cannot provide enough information for managerial decision making. Therefore, specific cost accounting systems have been designed for this purpose. The importance of cost accounting in Germany as a basic system for the supply, storage, and provision of corporate data led to the development of sophisticated cost accounting systems that combined the ability to effectively support managerial decision making and efficient IT support. With its strong theoretical foundation developed by Hans-Georg Plaut and Wolfgang Kilger, Germany's most important cost accounting system, Grenzplankostenrechnung (GPK), has reached great practical relevance--for instance, as embedded in software products like SAP, which supply data in consolidated or segmented form to corporate management as well as to decision makers on the plant floor.

The main features of GPK include cost-type accounting, cost center accounting, product cost accounting, and contribution margin accounting. One of the distinctive features is the separation of fixed and variable costs at the level of cost-type accounting. Because GPK follows the principles of direct costing, only variable costs are allocated to cost units. Fixed costs are used only in the profit-and-loss (P&L) statement because they contain no information for short-term decision making. In GPK, the profit-and-loss statement is intended to serve mainly internal purposes and is called contribution margin accounting. Three different forms exist. The simplest form subtracts all fixed costs as a single block from the product's contribution margins. In multistage contribution margin accounting, fixed costs are gradually subtracted from product types, product groups, or divisions by accountability. The most detailed form, called marketing segment accounting, allows a deep analysis of fixed costs according to different criteria such as sales regions, customer groups, or product groups.

[FIGURE 2 OMITTED]

DESIGN OF THE SURVEY ON COST ACCOUNTING PRACTICES IN GERMANY

To assess cost accounting practices in Germany in more detail, we conducted a survey of the 250 largest German companies in terms of annual revenues. We mailed a comprehensive questionnaire to the head of controlling at each of these companies. The response rate of analyzable questionnaires was 19%, representing a total of 45 firms with an average of 20,024 employees. Of the respondents, 33% were retail, 24% industrial, 22% service, 11% banking, and 9% insurance companies (see Figure 3). Respondents included companies such as Allianz, BMW, DaimlerChrysler, Deutsche Telekom, and Lufthansa.

PURPOSES AND PRIORITIES OF COST ACCOUNTING SYSTEMS IN GERMAN COMPANIES

The major German cost accounting systems, GPK and ABC, serve different purposes. GPK was developed to support managers in short-term decision making. Unlike cost accounting based on full costs, GPK provides information for short-term production planning, additional order acceptances, make-or-buy decisions, transfer pricing, and short-run pricing. Moreover, by using a gradual deduction of fixed costs in a process of multistage contribution margin accounting, additional information for longer-term decisions can be derived from GPK. When cost structures shift to a higher share of fixed costs, however, the isolated application of direct costing increasingly ignores a significant part of total costs. ABC addresses this issue because it makes fixed costs more transparent and affords greater control of overhead costs. As an instrument based on full costs, ABC better supports long-term decision making, where all costs are relevant.

Our survey identifies the most important cost accounting purposes in German companies. We find that cost accounting systems in these companies have the primary function of supporting short-term decision making. According to respondents, cost accounting systems mainly ensure a "higher level of efficiency of cost control" and "short-term decision support." Among other benefits, respondents also emphasize the importance of "a higher level of precision for planning," "cost transparency at indirect costs," and "support in long-term decisions." Interestingly, "motivating employees" is not regarded as an important role of cost accounting. Overall, cost accounting methods seem to have more relevance at the operational level than in strategic planning. Hence, at least in principle, the cost accounting purposes of German companies coincide with those of GPK, which aims at supporting short-term decision making and efficiently controlling costs (see Figure 4).

DESIGN OF COST ACCOUNTING SYSTEMS IN GERMAN COMPANIES

General Results

In addressing these issues, it is important to keep in mind that multiple cost accounting systems are often in place at large German enterprises. While the literature distinguishes sharply between cost accounting systems, we do not find evidence for the exclusivity of a single system in corporate practice. For instance, ABC is used as a stand-alone system in only 7% of the responding companies but is more prevalent as a supplementary system. Indeed, 24% of the enterprises combine GPK with ABC and therefore use a cost accounting system that is close to Resource Consumption Accounting (RCA), which has been recently promoted in the United States (see Figure 5). (9) Moreover, multiple cost dimensions are used. Almost all of the enterprises run their systems using actual costs (96%) and budgeted costs (87%). Only 27% of the companies use standard costs. Finally, we also find that 87% of the respondents distinguish between fixed and variable cost components. The differentiation takes place at the cost center level (53%), for product costing (44%), and for contribution margin accounting (69%).

Given these combinations, determining the rate of GPK usage by German companies requires some clarification. When one directly asks controllers which cost accounting systems they use, only 14% specify GPK. While this low number corresponds to findings in previous studies, it simply signifies that the term "GPK" is not part of standard usage among German accountants. To evaluate GPK use in Germany accurately, we must identify it by practices rather than terminology alone. The essential features of GPK are application of budgeted costs, distinction between fixed and variable costs, and allocation of the variable cost components on products. (10) In addition, as Wolfgang Kilger put it, "calculation with marginal contributions" presupposes GPK. (11) Taking these determinants into consideration--especially the fact that about half of the respondents use contribution margin accounting based on actual and budgeted costs--there is evidence that 42% of the enterprises in our sample use cost accounting systems that basically correspond to GPK.

Cost-Type Accounting

To describe the design of cost accounting systems in German companies, we follow the structure provided in Figure 2. In cost-type accounting, all costs are collected and structured according to their specific type. Virtually all of the companies (98%) are using cost-type accounting. On average, companies distinguish among 786 (median 492) different cost types ranging from 19 up to 3,760 (see Figure 6). Three quarters of the companies use less than 1,080 cost types.

The number of cost types strongly depends on industry (see Table 1). On average, the industrial sector has the largest number, and the insurance sector has the lowest.

Cost-type diversity also depends on the use of complex strategic IT systems. Companies that employ these systems generate more cost types than companies that do not. In particular, we find a significant correlation between the number of cost types and the utilization of SAP R/3 and SAP BW, which enable greater detail in cost-type accounting. Also, 78% of the surveyed enterprises declare that their number of cost types has risen during the last 10 years (see Figure 7), a finding that coincides with the increased use of ERP systems during the same period.

Cost Center Accounting

One of the major differences between German and American cost accounting methods is the German focus on cost centers. Almost all of the interviewed enterprises (98%) practice cost center accounting, with an average of 4,062 (median 1,208) cost centers. Although the number of cost centers per firm ranges from 20 to 100,000, 90% of the responding enterprises use 3,000 cost centers or less. On average, the companies characterize 472 (median 100) cost centers as "primary cost centers" and 892 (median 675) as "final cost centers." Also, 80% of respondents agree that the number of cost centers has increased significantly over the last decade. A 1993 cost accounting survey of German companies reported an average of just 160 "primary cost centers" and only 300 "final cost centers."

[FIGURE 8 OMITTED]

Cost centers play an important role in both the organization and cost accounting of German companies. On the organizational side, they serve as "independent responsibility areas" headed by cost center managers. Moreover, comparisons between budgeted costs and actual costs at the cost center level are important means of performance measurement. In fact, 96% of the respondents regularly make these comparisons at the cost center level. On the cost accounting side, cost centers serve as "accounting districts." When determining the size and the borders of a cost center, German firms aim to achieve precise cause-and-effect relationships between cost driver(s) and the cost amount of a cost center: The smaller the size of a cost center, the more precise the cause-and-effect relationship between its cost driver(s) and its cost amount. Additionally, we find that the average number of employees per cost center is 13 (median five; see Figure 8) and that there is a strong correlation between a company's size and the number of its cost centers.

Product Cost Accounting and Contribution Margin Accounting

At German companies, costs are controlled in cost centers and at the product level. In fact, 53% of the respondents run budget/actual cost comparisons at the product level. While 22% of the enterprises do not differentiate between fixed and variable cost components in their product cost accounting, 36% separate variable and fixed costs per product. Although it is an approach that Kilger recommended, merely 11% of the enterprises calculate by using variable costs per product alone. Remarkably, 38% of the enterprises indicate that product cost accounting does not apply to their practices. The reason for this may be that these enterprises do not use any calculation per product unit. (See Figure 9 for a breakdown of use.)

In GPK, the P&L statement is derived from a contribution margin analysis, and this is the most popular practice at German companies. Indeed, 69% of the respondents use contribution margin analysis for cost accounting purposes. Among these, 24% use a simple contribution margin analysis, but the overwhelming majority use a more complex contribution margin technique to analyze their fixed costs: 51% of the respondents use a layered contribution margin analysis, where fixed costs are analyzed on different layers (e.g., the department level, the plant level, and the product level), and 11% use an even more sophisticated multidimensional approach that allows the assignment of different fixed costs to different objects such as products, sales regions, or customers (see Figure 10).

[FIGURE 9 OMITTED]

IT SUPPORT OF COST ACCOUNTING IN GERMANY

Probably the most important factor behind the application of cost accounting methods in Germany is IT support. In fact, 58% of the surveyed enterprises "fully" or "largely" agree that software was the main determinant in the adoption of their present cost accounting system. An overwhelming majority (85%) agree that their current software has increased the efficiency of cost accounting. These statistics verify the all-important role of IT systems in the cost accounting practices of German companies. Yet despite the universal market penetration of software solutions, fewer respondents feel that the software completely defines the structure of the cost accounting methods they apply. Therefore, respondents have some freedom in choosing between competing cost accounting systems (see Figure 11). Considering the specific choice of software, the survey verifies the prevailing tendency toward standard software solutions among large-scale German firms. A 1993 survey on cost accounting found that 80% of German enterprises used standard software and that 20% still employed individual solutions. At that time, the surveyors forecasted a continued trend toward standard solutions. This shift has been fully realized because 100% of the companies in our study now use standard software. Although 26% of the respondents still utilize individual applications such as Microsoft's Excel and Access, this is done only to complement another standard software system. Among standard software products, SAP clearly dominates the market of large companies in Germany. An overwhelming majority of 80% use SAP R/3 (now SAP ERP), and almost half of the respondents run SAP BW (Business Information Warehouse). The market share of all other software providers remains far behind that of SAP: Hyperion follows with only 11%, and just 9% of the respondents use Professional Planner and PeopleSoft, respectively (see Figure 12).

THE FUTURE OF COST ACCOUNTING IN GERMAN COMPANIES

A central finding of our study--which confirms longer-term trends--is that there is a high degree of satisfaction with cost accounting in Germany. (12) When asked to rate their system on a five-point scale, 16% of controllers respond that they are "fully" satisfied, and 64% indicate that they are "largely" satisfied. In contrast, in a 2003 survey of U.S. companies, only 23% were satisfied with decision-support information (see Figure 1). In addition, 87% of the surveyed German enterprises agree that cost accounting is a fundamental and indispensable component of their in-house information system. Finally, 58% completely disagree with the statement that the importance of cost accounting is less today than 10 years ago (see Figure 13).

Trend Toward the Integration of External and Internal Accounting. Despite the important role of cost accounting, we can also confirm a trend toward the integration of external and internal accounting among surveyed German companies: 31% of the respondents agree that financial accounting is increasingly important, and 38% state that they are trying to harmonize the two accounting systems. Furthermore, by performing a correlation analysis, we find that the companies that place high importance on financial accounting also aim to harmonize external and internal accounting. In addition, we find a positive correlation between company size and efforts to integrate accounting systems. The five companies with the highest number of employees report that it is "fully correct" that they endeavor to do so.

Will the Purpose of Cost Accounting Change? Looking to the future, it is also important to consider whether the perceived purposes of cost accounting will change, so we asked respondents to rate the value of present and future practices. Comparing the mean average of their projections, we find that the only purpose that is thought likely to decline in importance is cost accounting's value in aiding a "high level of precision for planning." A possible reason for this answer is the ongoing debate in corporate Germany about developing less-detailed planning procedures. With this exception, respondents state that the importance of all other accounting purposes will increase. The function expected to increase the most in relevance is that of "improving business processes." This is meaningful because it is a sign that ABC could have an even greater role in large German companies as it addresses this purpose in particular. The perceived likelihood that the importance of "managing cost structures" via cost accounting will increase also favors ABC systems because cost structures are largely determined by activities and business processes and because ABC sheds light on these in particular. Although present controllers believe that cost accounting methods will increase employee motivation in the future, this benefit is expected to be less significant than all other accounting purposes. Because cost accounting theorists have been emphasizing this purpose in recent years, it will be interesting to follow up on this expectation--or lack thereof. (See Figure 14 for more data.)

[FIGURE 13 OMITTED]

Continued Increase in the Number of Cost Centers. Cost center accounting with reference to a high number of cost centers is a distinguishing characteristic of German cost accounting, so expectations about the future development of this method are of interest. Most companies (47%) believe that the number of their cost centers, although already high, will increase even more in the future. This view among controllers is largely dependent on the size of their firms. Smaller companies tend to believe that the number of their cost centers will increase, while larger companies anticipate a reduction (see Figure 15). A more detailed analysis of this issue deserves attention.

Increasing Importance of Software Solutions. Software that supports cost accounting plays an important role in large-scale German enterprises, and respondents believe that the importance of software will further increase in the next five years. In particular, they anticipate a shift in favor of newer products from SAP, such as BW and SEM. Forty percent of all respondents and even half of those presently using R/3 think that the importance of BW as a data warehouse system will increase the most. This result reflects the growing need for storage, consolidation, analysis, and integration of internal and external data. In addition, 28% of present R/3 users expect that SEM, a business analytics system based on BW, will also increase in importance (see Figure 16).

LESSONS LEARNED AND IMPLICATIONS FOR U.S. COST ACCOUNTING PRACTICES

Our study reveals that cost accounting systems in large German companies provide a high level of detail and that there seems to be a correlation between this level of detail and managerial satisfaction (see Figure 17). In particular, the focus on cost center accounting and the high number of cost centers differ greatly from prevalent cost accounting practices in the United States. Because each cost center is relatively small, it can be managed easily by a cost center manager, responsibilities for costs are clear to everybody within the organization, and performance measurement can be done at the cost center level. Another distinguishing feature is the prevalent separation of costs into variable and fixed components, which allows an analysis of profits in the form of a contribution margin analysis.

The majority of large German companies use this instrument to gain insights into the profitability of their business segmented by various dimensions such as products, customers, and regions. The high level of detail afforded by these methods seems to be one of the main reasons for the positive perception of cost accounting systems among German managers. Accordingly, if U.S. managers are not satisfied with their cost accounting system, they might consider increasing its level of detail in terms of cost types, cost centers, and cost objects and delineating cost responsibilities in their company more clearly and completely.

This survey also indicates that an overwhelming majority of large German companies use SAP software to run their cost accounting system. Because it supports separation of variable and fixed costs, detailed cost center planning, and contribution margin analyses, the prevalence of SAP software seems to be a major factor behind the current state of cost accounting in German firms. Moreover, the increasing importance of newer SAP solutions reflects the fact that many companies intend to further integrate internal and external accounting as well as IT solutions and cost accounting. If U.S. managers desire to refine their cost accounting system, they should be sure to tap the full potential of their ERP system to support the accounting system, particularly by integrating their IT systems.

[FIGURE 17 OMITTED]

Overall, our findings show that cost accounting information continues to increase in relevance in Germany, driven by the demand for ever more precise information on the cost side, which allows for better decision making within organizations. Therefore, it is worthwhile to remain tuned in to the ongoing development of best practices in cost accounting. Improving cost accounting systems will be on the agenda for researchers as well as practitioners all over the world.

ENDNOTES

(1) See Paul A Sharman, "Bring on German Cost Accounting," Strategic Finance, December 2003, pp. 30-38; Paul A. Sharman and Kurt Vikas, "Lessons from German Cost Accounting," Strategic Finance, December 2004, pp. 28-35; Larry White, "Why Look at German Cost Management," Strategic Finance, September 2004, pp. 6-7; Carl S. Smith, "Going for GPK," Strategic Finance, April 2005, pp. 36-39; Kip R. Krumwiede, "Rewards and Realities of German Cost Accounting," Strategic Finance, April 2005, pp. 27-34; and Glenn Cheney, "German Cost Accounting: Will it Work in America?" Accounting Today Magazine, May 2005, pp. 14-16.

(2) See Michael D. Shields, "An Empirical Analysis of Firms' Implementation Experiences with Activity-Based Costing," Journal of Management Accounting Research, 1995, p. 159; Kip R. Krumwiede, "The Implementation Stages of Activity-Based Costing and the Impact of Contextual and Organizational Factors," Journal of Management Accounting Research, 1998, p. 271; and Annie S. McGowan and Thomas P. Klammer, "Satisfaction with Activity-Based Cost Management Implementation," Journal of Management Accounting Research, 1997, p. 230.

(3) "For too many firms today, however, the management accounting system is seen as system designed and run by accountants to satisfy the informational needs of accountants. That is clearly wrong." (Thomas H. Johnson and Robert Kaplan, Relevance Lost: The Rise and Fall of Management Accounting, Harvard Business School Press, Boston, Mass., 1987, p. 262.) For criticism of the "direct labor" allocation base, see Johnson and Kaplan, p. 229; and Robin Cooper and Robert P. Kaplan, "Measure Costs Right: Make the Right Decision," Harvard Business Review, September 1988, p. 96.

(4) Seventy percent of companies surveyed in the 2003 IMA-E&Y Survey used direct wage costs as the allocation base. (Ashish Garg, Debashis Gosh, James Hudick, and Chuen Nowacki, "Roles and Practices in Management Accounting Today: Results from the 2003 IMA-E&Y Survey," Strategic Finance, July 2003, p. 34.) In Krumwiede's 1998 survey, 28.4% of respondents allocated the overhead costs by only one base; 66.2% used enterprise- or factory-wide overhead rates. (Krumwiede, (1998, p. 270.)

(5) See Charles T. Horngren, George Foster, and Srikant M. Datar, Cost Accounting: A Managerial Emphasis, 11th ed., Prentice Hall, Upper Saddle River, N.J., 2003, p. 42; Cooper and Kaplan, p. 98.

(6) According to Krumwiede, "17% of the enterprises can be classed in the three application levels of ABC (Acceptance, Routinization, Integrated system) ... For 29% of the enterprises, the introduction of ABC is out of question, 28% of the enterprises think about an introduction, and 7% gave up an introduction." (Krumwiede, 1998, p. 248, 276.)

(7) Jeff Thomson and Jim Gurowka, "Sorting Out the Clutter," Strategic Finance, August 2005, p. 28. 8 See Ralf Ewert and Alfred Wagenhofer, "Management Accounting Theory and Practice in German-Speaking Countries," in Handbook of Management Accounting Research, eds. Christopher Chapman, Anthony Hopwood, and Michael Shields, Elsevier, Amsterdam, 2007, pp. 1035-1069.

(9) See Thomson and Gurowka (2005), p. 31. For RCA, see David E. Keys and Anton van der Merwe, "Gaining Effective Organizational Control with RCA," Strategic Finance, May 2002, pp. 33, 42-46; B. Douglas Clinton and Sally A. Webber, "RCA at Clopay," Strategic Finance, October 2004, pp. 22-24; Gunther Friedl, Hans-Ulrich Kupper, and Burkhard Pedell, "Relevance Added: Combining ABC with German Cost Accounting," Strategic Finance, June 2005, p. 61.

(10) See Wolfgang Kilger, Jochen R. Pampel, and Kurt Vikas, Flexible Plankostenrechnung und Deckungsbeitragsrechnung, 11th ed., Gabler, Wiesbaden, 2002, p. 63.

(11) See Wolfgang Kilger, Einfuhrung in die Kostenrechnung, 3rd ed., Gabler, Wiesbaden, 1987, p. 65.

(12) In Jurgen Weber's 1993 study, 94% of surveyed enterprises "completely agreed" that it was impossible to imagine business without cost accounting, and the other 6% "agreed." (Jurgen Weber, "Stand der Kostenrechnung in deutschen Grossunternehmen--Ergebnisse einer empirischen Erhebung," in Kostenrechnung--Entwicklungsperspektiven der 90er Jahre, ed. Jurgen Weber, Schaffer-Poeschel, Stuttgart, 1993, p. 265.)

Gunther Friedl, Ph.D., is Chaired Professor of Management Accounting and Control at the Technical University of Munich, Germany. You can reach Gunther at gunther.friedl@wi.tum.de.

Carola Hammer is a Ph.D. student in accounting at the Technical University of Munich, Germany. You can reach Carola at carola.hammer@wi.tum.de. Burkhard Pedell, Ph.D., is Chaired Professor of Management Accounting and Control at the University of Stuttgart. You can contact Burkhard at burkhard.pedell@bwi.uni-stuttgart.de. Hans-Ulrich Kupper, Ph.D., is Chaired Professor of Operations Management and Management Accounting at the University of Munich. You can reach Uli at kuepper@bwl.lmu.de.
Table 1: Number of Cost Types in Different Sectors

 Sector

 Industry Services Banking Retail Insurance

Number of cost 1,071.4 846.9 827.6 638.5 345.5
types on average

Figure 1: Satisfaction with Cost Accounting Information

Results of a survey in U.S. companies 2003 (CAM-1)

[] 380% of U.S. organizations use traditional cost-allocation systems

[] Only 23% of respondents were satisfied with decision-support
information

Results of a survey in German companies 2005

Currently, cost accounting
is less important in our
company than 10 years
ago. 1.7

I am satisfied with our cost
accounting system. 3.9

We are not able to do 4.8
Without our cost
accounting system.

Figure 3: Industry Breakdown of Respondents

Services 22%
Insurance 9%
Banking 11%
Retail 33%
Industry 24%

Note: Table made from bar graph.

Figure 4: Main Purpose of Cost Accounting in Germany

Higher level of efficiency
of cost control 4.18

Short-term decision
support 4.04

Higher level of precision
for planning 4.02

More-transparent indirect
costs 3.96

Managing cost structures 3.80

Long-term decision
support 3.62

Improving business
processes 3.09

Motivating employees 2.64

Note: Table made from bar graph.

Figure 5: Use of Cost Accounting Systems in German Enterprises

Actual cost with full costs 7%

Actual and budgeted costs 20%
with full costs

ABC 7%

Actual and budgeted costs with 42%
contribution margin accounting

Actual and budgeted costs with 24%
contribution margin accounting
and ABC

Note: Table made from bar graph.

Figure 6: Number of Cost Types Used

Number of cost types

<100 8%
100-499 43%
500-1,000 20%
>1,000 30%

Note: Table made from bar graph.

Figure 7: Increase in Cost Types

Decreased 13%
Remained constant 9%
Increased 78%

Note: Table made from bar graph.

Figure 10: Use of Contribution Margin Analysis

Simple contribution margin analysis 24%
Layered contribution margin analysis 51%
Multidimensional contribution margin analysis 11%

Note: Table made from bar graph.

Figure 11: Software as an Enabler

 Fully Largely Partly Slightly Do not
 agree agree agree agree agree

... made the implementation 31% 27% 22% 11% 9%
of the present cost
accounting system
possible.

... determines the structure 24% 17% 36% 21% 2%
of the present cost
accounting systems.

... has increased the 39% 46% 9% 2% 5%
efficiency of cost
accounting.

Note: Table made from bar graph.

Figure 12: Brands of Software Used for Cost Accounting

SAP R/3 80%
SAP BW 47%
Individual Software 27%
Hyperion 11%
PeopleSoft 9%
Professional Planner 9%
SAP SEM 7%
Prozess manager 4%
SAS 4%
Oracle 2%
JD Edwards 2%

Note: Table made from bar graph.

Figure 14: Purposes of Cost Accounting

 Future purpose Current purpose

Higher level of efficiency 4.34 4.18
 of cost control
Short-term decision support 4.16 4.04
Higher level of precision 3.90 4.02
 for planning
More-transparent indirect 4.14 3.96
 costs
Managing cost structures 4.12 3.80
Long-term decision support 3.86 3.62
Improving business processes 3.72 3.09
Motivating employees 3.00 2.64

Note: Table made from bar graph.

Figure 15: Future Number of Cost Centers

 Average number of
 employees

Number of cost 11% 71,677
centers will decrease

Number of cost
centers will remain 42% 18,446
constant

Number of cost 47% 7,843
centers will increase

Figure 16: Which Software Will Respondents Use?

 Importance will Importance constant Importance will
 increase will remain decrease

SAP R/3 31% 42% 2%
SAP BW 40% 9% 0%
SAP SEM 22% 4% 0%
Hyperion 4% 13% 2%
Oracle 0% 9% 0%
Individual
 Software
Solution 9% 9% 4%

Note: Table made from bar graph.
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Author:Friedl, Gunther; Hammer, Carola; Pedell, Burkhard; Kupper, Hans-Ulrich
Publication:Management Accounting Quarterly
Geographic Code:4EUGE
Date:Jan 1, 2009
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