In the retail financial sector competitive pressure seems to challenge traditional management accounting systems, which often do not allow the identification of profitable customer relationships. Drawing on a stage model and data from management accountants, branch managers and frontline employees in Danish financial service companies, this article investigates barriers to the implementation of customer-oriented management accounting. The article documents how financial institutions are increasingly integrating management accounting systems with customer-related activities thus enabling customer profitability analyses. However, several barriers related to organization structure, resources and attitudes hamper further customer-oriented changes. Data gathered at the branch level strongly indicate problems of ownership and project sponsoring, and it is argued that new accounting systems may be less important to customer orientation than empowerment and goal-oriented participation of the frontline employees.
International Journal of Service Industry Management – Emerald Publishing
Published: Aug 1, 2000
Keywords: Financial services; Management accounting