Week 1 Hand-in Assignment

Identify and analyse the achievements of the Burns and Scapens framework for studying management accounting change and also describe some of its limitations and extensions. What are some of the processes that are shaping management accounting practices? What challenges to management accounting practices are likely to be encountered in the future?


According to Feeney, &, Pierce, (2007, pp. 16-21), the traditional role of management accountants is changing thanks to the current technological advance and the advanced management accounting techniques. For example, the traditional role of the management accountants was to support the management decision making through monitoring and control, while currently, the management accountant’s role is becoming the mainstay of most companies as they play the main managerial decision. The main driver of the changing roles of management accounts include the changing business environment as well as the environments in which the management accountant used to work.

What challenges to management accounting practices are likely to be encountered in the future?

There are also numerous changes in the accounting systems, as well as corporate restructuring that have contributed to these changes. Additionally, regularly changes have necessitated to changes in the role played by management accountants. With the increasing market competitiveness, it is becoming more important from a management accounts to change their working principles especially considering the fact that technologies such as ERP has replaced a number of roles formerly played by the management accountant.

Identify and analyze the achievements of the Burns and Scapens and Scapens framework.

Because information technology system are very innovative in terms of collecting, measuring, analysis and communicating information within organizations, they have eliminated some of the key routine jobs, the line managers have become more knowledgeable in accounting, and more forward looking. These have changed the wider role of management accountants.

The most important achievement of the Burns and Scapens frameworks is the fact that it takes into consideration the emerging changes in organization that impacts the role of the management accountants. For example, it recognizes the emerging routines in modern organization. It is also receptive to organizational changes (Feeney, &, Pierce, 2007, pp. 16-21).

Secondly, the fact that the Burns and Scapens framework discuses the formal and informal dichotomy makes its more practical as it takes into consideration both intentional and non intentional change irrespective of the level of disruption they have on the existing organizational routines.

Thirdly, the framework takes into consideration both the regressive and progressive management accounting changes because it enforces ceremonial dominances and progressive change. Instrumental behaviors are also given prominence. These changes preserve the pre-existing behaviors. The frame does not confine management accounting practices to processes such as encoding, enacting, reproduction or, institutional, but looks into the wider institutional realm. As such it its conditions how the people behave on an organization. The framework does not rely on many of the early assumptions, and thus does not recognize the various categories of human actors as supportive, but consider them as the main players in an organizational context.

Describe some of its limitations and extension

The framework is limited in terms of scope as it may not work effectively in non-profit organizations. Non profit organizations are much broad and intense in scope. In most cases, economic forces tend not to affect the non-profit organzaitons. In the same way, most of the socially funded organization such as community based organization never feels the pinch of economic swings and the environment is not competitive like that environment in which the profit oriented organizations operate

Secondly, the Burns and Scapens framework is very narrow and does not consider the existing links between the main organizational practices (either profits or non-profit) as well as the influence of the society on the organization. The current organizations have unique organization structures operating in inter-organizational context. The extended nature of the current organization requires that development of frameworks that provides multilevel representation of the changes in an institutionalized process. For example, the modern organization s must take into considerations the societal, political, economic and social systems. They must also take into consideration the industry standards, and professional requirements (De Loo, Verstegen, &, Swagerman, 2011, pp. 287-313).

Thirdly, the framework fails to analyze the social and political issues that affect the context in which the organization operates. These two forces significantly define the context of the organza ion. By failing to analyze these forces, the framework may not be useful for running most of the modem day organizations. The framework takes serious the institutions as main factors that shape and inform the actions of employee in an organization. The framework is founded don the understanding of the important role of the employees in mulling the company. For example, in an organizational context, most practices are considered in terms of the norms and values as well as the people who use the system. The existing management accountant defines the rules and routines making them an integral part of the framework. This is the only framework that takes into moderation this new development (Burns and Scapens, &, Scapens, 2000, pp. 3-25).

Finally, the frameworks fail to take into considerations the interplay between the internal and external institutions. It does not give primacy to the accountant’s trusts as well as the circuits of powers in organizations. In this way, it is clear that the framework does not consider the role of agency when it comes to institutional change. In order to overcome this limitation, it is important to consider a new framework that completely takes into considerations the process of management accounting change


In conclusion, the Burns and Scapens framework need to be remodeled with respect to management accounting systems changes the principles and practices of management accounting. It must also take not considerations the interplay between the management accounting rules and routines and how the same rules and routines can be institutionalized. This will provide a wider view of the society, and the business environment as a whole influences the organizational context.


Burns and Scapens, J. and Scapens, R.W. 2000. Conceptualizing management accounting change: an institutional framework, Management Accounting Research,11, pp. 3-25.

De Loo, I. Verstegen, B. and Swagerman, D. 2011. Understanding the roles of management accountants, European Business Review,23(3), pp. 287-313.

Feeney, O. and Pierce, B. 2007. Today’s management accountant – honest bean counter and savvy business advisor?, Accountancy Ireland,39(5) pp. 16-21.


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