Know your costs = know your business operations

When I teach management accounting to students, I am always looking for examples to relate what I say to a real life example.  So, a while back I was trying to think of an example which might convey the fact that management accountants are not (or should not be)  just bean-counters. The role of a management accountant/business analyst/business partner is much more than just accounting. My experience tells me that a good management accountant (and manager too) get’s their hand dirty i.e. knows a good deal about the business in terms of how things are made/delivered. If you don’t know the business, then how for example can you actually undertake a cost-saving exercise. So now for the example. I read a blog post on The Economist website a while back. The title caught my eye actually “Reducing the barnacle bill”. The article post mentions how barnacles attached to a ships hull below the waterline can increase drag so much that fuel costs increase 40%.  The post then mentions several chemical solutions currently available and some being worked on. The point from this example is that should a management accountant at a shipping company know such detail of operations. I’d like to suggest, yes they should.  Only such detailed knowledge of the operations would highlight the need to control the “barnacle cost”. I’m sure there are many more similar examples out there.


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About martinjquinn

I am an accounting academic, accountant and author based near Dublin, Ireland.

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