Investment management involves the planning and decision process for the acquisition and utilization of anorganization's resources, including human resources as well as technology, equipment and facilities. The concept of investment management includes thecapital budgeting discounted cash flow methods traditionally studied in accounting and finance courses, but is more comprehensive in that theorganization's portfolio of interrelated investments is considered as well as the projected effects of not investing. Investment management is more of aholistic concept than capital budgeting in that it considers the effects of an investment decision on the entire organization rather than simply the localareas such as individual departments or individual divisions where the investments are made.
Activity management, or activity based management, places emphasis on continuously improving the activities and tasks,or work that people perform in an organization. The main idea is to find and eliminate waste. Conceptually, activity management is somewhat different fromcost management in that it focuses on the waste itself, not the cost of waste.It is a process oriented approach rather than an accounting results oriented approach. Activity management also has a long run, rather than a short runemphasis. Although activity management is part of the cost management system (CMS) advocated by CAM-I, it is important to make a distinction between managingcosts (accounting results) and managing activities (processes or work). This distinction is important because placing too much emphasis on costs (or anyother short run results oriented measurement) may cause managers to make decisions that reduce costs, but are not in the best interest of theorganization's long run performance and competitiveness. A few examples include a manager's decision to reduce research and development, employee training, andpreventive maintenance just to improve short term accounting results. This conceptual distinction provides the reason cost management and activitymanagement are presented as separate concepts in Exhibit 1-2.
control The power to govern the financial and operating policies of an entity so as to obtain benefits from its activities. One of three functions of management that are supported by management accounting. See also decision making and planning.
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Accounting control comprises the methods and procedures that are mainly concerned with the authorization of transactions, the safeguarding of assets, and the accuracy of the financial records....
A communitarian leader tends to blame the system first, not the people working in the system. The communitarian approachemphasizes continuously seeking to improve the system. In an individualistic environment, according to Deming, managers blame people for problems becausethey do not understand the system. Another way to state this idea is to say that the communitarian management style is process oriented, while theindividualistic management style is results oriented. Communitarian managers tend to manage the processes and work that people do, while individualisticmanagers tend to manage by results, frequently financial results.
The communitarian view of leadership is probably articulated best in the works of W. Edwards Deming. To Deming,leadership requires knowledge of processes and an understanding of the variability within the system. From Deming’s perspective, leaders know thatmost of the problems within a system are created by the variability within the system itself, not by the people working in the system. However, individualisticmanagers tend to view leadership from a top down control perspective. The leader specifies the desired results and then rewards or punishes workers on the basisof these specifications. The communitarian leader views workers as colleagues in an adult-adult relationship, while the individualistic leader views therelationship more in terms an adult-child orientation. In a communitarian company, employees work with management. In an individualistic company,employees work for (and sometimes against) management. Notice that a manager’s view of leadership follows logically from the company’s overall structure andpolicies towards employees. (See summary and the summary for more on the problems associated with the individualistic form of leadership).
planning Involves setting objectives, then establishing, evaluating and selecting strategy, tactics and actions required to achieve those objectives. One of three functions of management which are supported by management accounting. See also control and decision making.
The individualistic system is quite different. College graduates who have specialized in a particular area of studysuch as industrial engineering, accounting or marketing are hired by organizations to work in that particular functional area. After acquiringexperience in their particular specialty, they become managers. Their orientation to a specific business function enhances their mobility in theexternal labor market, but they are frequently locked into their chosen specialty area. Of course some managers do break out of their narrow specialtyareas to move up the management hierarchy. External mobility is clearly an advantage to the individual in an environment where employees are treated asfactors of production or commodities. Disloyalty to the company is not an insoluble problem for the organization in an individualistic system however,because a functional specialist can be fairly easily replaced with another functional specialist. Company specific knowledge is less important in a systemorganized around specialists rather than generalists.
Although the individualistic and communitarian capitalist models may appear to be radically different, they are very similar when placed within the whole array of possible economic systems. Consider the variety of alternatives that appear in the economic system models illustration presented in Exhibit 1-6. The models at the top of the illustration represent maximum government ownership of capital and land, while the models at the bottomrepresent the absence of government. The models on the left-hand side exclude the profit motive, while the models on the right-hand side include the profitmotive. On the lower right-hand side, free enterprise capitalism represents the maximum individual freedom within a capitalist system, while state capitalismrepresents the minimum individual freedom. On the left-hand side, communism represents the maximum individual freedom for a socialist system, while statesocialism represents the least individual freedom. Notice that both communitarian capitalism and individualistic capitalism fall into the samecategory. Both systems include a mixture of state (i.e., government) regulation and private enterprise. In terms of thewhole scheme of possible economic systems, the two models are very close together. These two models mainly differ in terms of the amount of emphasisplaced on individual freedom. It is important to understand that while individual freedom represents the greatest strength of capitalism, it alsorepresents the greatest potential weakness. Finding the optimum mix of individual freedom and cooperation within a larger community is the goal of both systems.