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Dealing with the unknown: leading in uncertain times by rethinking the design of management accounting and reporting systems Logo cima

  Paolo Quattrone, Cristiano Busco, Robert Scapen... |   Free |   CIMA |   Dec 2016 |   Thought leadership

This academic paper reports the findings of a project exploring the contributions of management accounting, reporting practices and performance measurement systems in processes of innovation and change within thirteen companies of various sizes within Europe, the USA and the Middle East.

Based on the findings from these case studies and also drawing on current debates on reporting practices, project management and performance measurement systems, as well as on studies in rhetoric and design thinking, the researchers introduce the concept of management accounting as a “Maieutic Machine” – where Maieutic’ is a term from Greek philosophy referring to the emergence of knowledge through a process of enquiry involving asking a logical sequence of questions.

Such a “Maieutic Machine” enables managers to ask the right questions and search for solutions.

The report provides practical guidelines and examples from industry of what features a maieutic machine should have, how it should be designed and implemented and why management accountants would find it useful in regaining a key position in the governance of decision-making processes within organizations.

Topics covered:
  • Management accounting: Technical: Management reporting & analysis: Management reporting, Expert

4 Comments/Reflections

Shahid Mahmood

Shahid Mahmood Mar 2022

not very practical and extremely isoteric.
Robert Smith

Robert Smith Mar 2020

This is a very good report proposing a good response to the question of relevance of management accounts. It joins the balanced scorecard concept to a more leaning based outlook where the management accounts are seen as a forum for discussion.

My own experience is that often FCs and CFOs use the management accounts as a stick to beat department managers and not as a tool to nurture success and this is clearly voiced in this report.

What competence did I develop?
Management reporting, leadership, team teambuilding.

What can I do now that I couldn't before?
See the wider team as collaborators to the management accounts narrative.

Did I meet my objectives?

What will be the impact on my team, organisation and career?
Management accounts becoming seen as a valuable tool rather than a stick.

M W Feb 2020

Dealing with the unknown:Management accounting and reporting should help with the following:
- make sure the right questions are asked
- fruitful tension created between different stakeholders
- Different stakeholder working together and not in silos to reach a conclusion.
- Robust method to give date in complex matters
Christine Burgess

Christine Burgess Aug 2018

I can't download the report from the website