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Market-Based Solutions to Vital Economic Issues


Kenan Institute 2024 Grand Challenge: Business Resilience
Market-Based Solutions to Vital Economic Issues
Apr 24, 2019

Costing Systems


This monograph provides a structured overview of costing system research that can explain the variation in the characteristics and properties of costing systems found in practice based on firms’ source(s) of their demand for cost information. Costing systems are not developed in a vacuum but are designed to fulfill a purpose. In order to have a meaningful decision on the various demands for cost information, I start in Part 1 by exploring the different techniques firms can use to supply cost information to its managers and employees. Next, I discuss how even the most advanced costing systems will contain error, and present research on how the production environment affects this costing error and what firms can do to reduce the error, outlining important avenues for future research. Part 2 then moves onto the sources of the demands for cost information. I first discuss the decision-making objective of costing systems, and the requirements it places on the preferred measurement object, which resources to include in the cost measurement, and the desired properties of the costing system. The most voluminous literature here is on the capacity acquisition and allocation decision problem, but I cover the demands on costing systems to support customer portfolio decisions, inventory management decisions and decisions on managing competition as well. This part also explores the demands for costing systems for the identification of cost management opportunities and inventory valuation to support financial and tax accounting in a chapter each. Part 2 concludes with a chapter on cost information supporting performance measurement and control, again with respect to the preferred measurement object, which resources to include and the costing system’s preferred properties. Part 3 develops on the conflicting demands placed on costing systems by firms’ attempts at designing costing systems that serve multiple purposes. Furthermore, this part also discusses the nature of the strategic interactions between those different demands.

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