Changes in cost system design and intensity of use in times of crisis: Evidence from Dutch local government

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Abstract

Purpose: This study examines whether changes in environmental and funding uncertainty during the first three years after the outbreak of the global financial crisis (which we presume to have increased significantly) are associated with changes in cost system design and intensity of use.

Design/methodology/approach: A dataset of survey responses from 56 Dutch municipalities is used for the empirical analyses. In the questionnaire, a senior-level financial manager reflected on the changes that he or she had perceived during the three years prior to the study (which was conducted at the end of 2010).

Findings: The results show that during these years, on average, ­environmental and funding uncertainty have indeed significantly increased, whereas cost system design and intensity of use have shown little change. The results further indicate that change in environmental uncertainty is positively related to changes in cost system complexity and cost system inclusiveness for activities and/or programs, whereas change in funding uncertainty is positively related to change in cost system intensity of use for product costing purposes. Also, change in cost system complexity is positively related to changes in cost system intensity of use for both operational control and product costing purposes.

Originality/value: Whereas previous large-scale research tends to focus on how the level of cost system design and/or intensity of use characteristics is related to the level of contextual factors, this study focuses on how changes in cost system design and intensity of use characteristics are related to changes in contextual factors. Also distinctive is that this study focuses on local government organizations experiencing a fiscal crisis.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-31
Number of pages31
JournalAdvances in Management Accounting
Volume29
Early online date20 Oct 2017
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2017

Bibliographical note

ISBN: 978-1-78743-298-7, eISBN: 978-1-78743-297-0

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