Standardisation of Cost Accounting for Cost-Benchmarking

Also presented at the 23rd Congress of the European Accounting Association in Munich, Germany on March 29-31, 2000

Fachartikel 180

Co Autoren
Oliver Schill, Heiko Schuh


This study aims at the presentation of the standardisation method in benchmarking at the conceptual level. This conceptual level is to serve as the basis for the transfer into numerous practical applications. The field example demonstrated is meant to provide additional support. At the same time, this example reveals that the concept is feasible and necessary. The necessity refers to the identification, discussion and solution - oriented towards the goals of the intended benchmarking - of the aspects in the planning and analysis phases of benchmarking which are behind the standardisations. Under certain circumstances this may lead to the fact that this method makes the participating comparative partners sensitive for the conscious perception of the possible significance of standardisations. A more exact analysis may quite as well show that the options in cost accounting are used uniformly to a large extent so that for reasons of materiality the standardisations are not put into practice. Even if this study exclusively examines monetary quantities such as costs we should state that - particularly when benchmarking is extended to further objectives, e.g. quality, environment and time - the need for standardisation is identified for non-monetary quantities as well. Non-monetary quantities also involve - sometimes very complex - questions of evaluation that imply options for subjective evaluation. The basic question of how to evaluate environmental influences or quality aspects is to illustrate this issue. Since standardisations can not at all eliminate subjectivity, which is connected with the determination of options by standards, it may be quite useful in some cases to examine the influence that alternative standards produce. This is particularly useful for the influencing factor parameter, where the Hoechster-Spinne may serve as an analytical tool to illustrate the sensitivity of the quantity which is calculated taking into account this influencing factor.

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