This study is about knowledge creation for practice in public sector management accounting by consultants and academics. It shows that researchers emphasize the importance of practice, but worry about the prospects of a successful cross-fertilization between practice and research, because of the pressure they feel to publish in international research journals. Their contacts with consultants are limited. Consultants have limited access to academic research, because of pressures from their daily work. Knowledge created by consultants is initiated by problems coming from practice; it has to be ready-made for application in practice, and is often a combination of explicit and tacit knowledge. However, our interviews with researchers show a more diffuse picture; the knowledge created by some of them is disciplinary-driven and fundamental, whereas the research of others is more problem-driven and applied. Our study hints at two intermediary groups, i.e. consultant-researchers and consultants working in the expertise centres of their firms, both of which can potentially overcome hindrances in the communication between consultancy and research. © 2010.