Today, companies are focused on increasing throughput – the rate at which a company generates money through sales. They want to expand products, customer base, markets, and so on. They want to grow as much as possible, as quickly as possible. They do not want to focus on shrinking their company or labor force. Yet, the most commonly used financial tools tell companies to focus on cutting costs in order to maximize profits, making expenses the focus of companies, not sales generation. This often leads management to make decisions that actually harm a company.
Companies need to use financial tools that move them toward their goal. Throughput Accounting provides managers with a transparent and focused method to make decisions that consistently lead them in the right direction. Through better managerial decision making, Throughput Accounting improves a company’s ability to make more money now and in the future because it approaches accounting from a cash management basis. It meets the need that companies have to meet management challenges, including outsourcing products, process improvement, and purchasing capital equipment.
Is Traditional Cost Accounting Bad for Decision Making?
It is often difficult to see how decisions made in a local area affect the organization as a whole. This is particularly true of managers who are not able to see or affect every area of the organization. The organizational view of most managers is typically limited to their own area of responsibility and those nearby.
For a business leader in an enterprise, the issue is more troublesome, because he or she must concern themselves with the decision making of multiple managers involved in many aspects of the enterprise. We know from experience that local managers often make decisions that are counter to the purpose of the enterprise. A single person periodically making a bad decision is usually not significant, but if there is a systemic error in many managers’ understanding of the enterprise’s functioning, many poor decisions will be made, which could create significant, long lasting damage.
Larger, subdivided enterprises lose their system-wide perspective, and managers are forced to rely on decision rules that are typically based on Traditional Cost Accounting; the bigger the enterprise, the bigger the problem.
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I have another relevant paper on the impact of cost accounting and productivity. It’s a bit old, but I thought that as long as I was on this topic, you’d want to have it, too.