The purpose of this paper is to advocate the use of German cost management systems (CMS), compare U.S. CMS to German systems, and acknowledge hesitations that U.S. companies may have whenimplementing German CMS. The authors break the advantages of German CMS into seven areas. German CMS provide:
1.A more comprehensive approach.
2.A different approach to cost drivers.
3.A more detailedapproach to cost control.
4.A greater willingness to make estimates.
5.A more accurate assignment of costs to the right year.
6.A better use of different costs for different purposes.
7.A clearconceptual separation between financial accounting and management accounting.
A More Comprehensive Approach
German CMS are more comprehensive according to the authors because they foster many levelsof organizational planning and control. Strategic, tactical, and operational processes are all encompassed within the system in order to provide managers with the information needed to make both shortterm and long term decisions (p. 2). This type of organizational planning and control is only found in a few U.S. companies. Although these processes are in place, they are not assimilated. The Germansystems are extensively planned and tested to make sure that cost rates are meeting organizational goals and the system is functioning properly. Assigning selling and administration costs to Germanproducts and services is another aspect that allows the German systems to be more comprehensive than U.S. CMS systems.
A Different Approach to Cost Drivers
German CMS are different from the U.S.systems in that they use cost drivers differently. Resource cost drivers are a functional tool for resource and capacity management. Resource management allows managers to make decisions to outsourceresources, determine other means of acquiring and using resources, and measuring the cost of excess/idle capacity (p. 3). These cost drivers quantify capacity based upon fixed resource costs. The German...
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