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Management Accounting practices of UK SMEs Logo cima

  CIMA |   Free |   CIMA |   2013 |   Thought leadership

This paper reports on the findings of a CIMA sponsored study of the management accounting practices of SMEs. Contributors to the management accounting literature (e.g. Nandan, 2010) have suggested that failure or underperformance of SMEs is often due to their failure to utilise appropriate management accounting tools. Given its mission, this issue is clearly of concern to CIMA.

The findings of our exploratory study suggest that, while the situation is not as bad as some commentators had feared, there is significant scope for improvement through better dissemination of the accountant as ‘business partner’ concept and improved understanding/awareness of management accounting decision-support tools. There is also a need to ensure awareness among small enterprises that, while not using certain management accounting tools may be appropriate for small organisations, it will not be appropriate when the organisation grows in size and complexity; education in the use of such tools may therefore be desirable for SMEs hoping to grow in future. (PDF 643KB)

Topics covered:
  • Management accounting: Technical: Cost accounting & management: Cost accounting, Intermediate
  • Management accounting: Technical: Business planning: Capital expenditure & investment evaluation, Intermediate

10 Comments/Reflections

Richard Cartwright

Richard Cartwright Oct 2018

In my opinion it is very important for the accountant to get out and about in the business and learn how the business works. Not just what products it sells but how it sells them but the whole journey from sourcing the raw product to dealing with the customer complaints.  Understanding the journey will provide the opportunity to implement management accounting techniques within the processes and sell the benefits to the owner, eventually creating a suite of effective techniques.
Bruce Crosland

Bruce Crosland Sep 2018

Very useful with regards to current and recent previous employers in the use of management accounting resource and methods.  Would echo the comments that there is / was more emphasis on control than decision making and also that lack of financial constraints makes it easier for management to make their own decisions without management accounting analytical back-up
Emma Wood

Emma Wood Aug 2018

How useful simple cost accounting tools assist Small to Medium sized business and help them strengthen ad develop their current business.


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Jananie Nallathamby

Jananie Nallathamby Jul 2018

Cannot read article. Opens as blank document on Chrome. Please guide. Thanks Jan
Bipin Hathi

Bipin Hathi Jun 2018

Interesting article which outlines that SMEs do not often look at the values of management accounting properly for decision making purposes and use it more for control purposes. It is important that companies begin to understand how management accounting can assist in bringing more value to the business.