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School of Business | Department of Accounting | Accounting | 2013
Thesis number: 13475
Management accounting in early-stage growth companies - A comparative case study of 5 Finnish early-stage growth companies
Author: Janatuinen, Juhana
Title: Management accounting in early-stage growth companies - A comparative case study of 5 Finnish early-stage growth companies
Year: 2013  Language: eng
Department: Department of Accounting
Academic subject: Accounting
Index terms: laskentatoimi; accounting; johdon laskentatoimi; managerial accounting; yritykset; companies; kasvu; growth; ohjausjärjestelmät; control systems
Pages: 109
Full text:
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Key terms: Management accounting, growth, growth company, MAS, management control, early-stage company
The purpose of this study was to investigate how early-stage growth companies take advantage of management accounting and which factors influence its development on a general level as well as in terms of specific management accounting segments. The study contributes in particular to management accounting literature but also to literature on new venture development.

The study was conducted as a comparative case study of five Finnish early-stage growth companies. Four of the case companies were chosen from the software industry in order to gain insight into how management accounting develops in companies from similar industries. The final case company was chosen from the nanotechnology industry, which allowed investigation also across industry borders.

The theoretical part of the study mainly consists of international academic journals and the empirical material was mainly gathered using theme interviews with the managers of the case companies, but also other sources were used. The empirical material was constantly reflected against existing theory and after all the material had been gathered, it was organized into company and management accounting segment specific categories and contrasted with existing theory.

The results of the study are revealing as to which management accounting systems are used and which factors affect the development of management accounting in early-stage companies both at the general level but also in terms of specific systems. Budgeting was found to be particularly widely adopted and important. The most important roles that management accounting has were informing where the company is and where it is going, cash management, coordinating operations and planning for growth. Whereas support was found concerning the importance of many factors for management accounting development, particularly industry and the characteristics of management were found to have an effect. Industry and business model level characteristics were found to have an especially strong impact on the initial accounting needs of a business, that is, accounting needs that exist even when a company is very small. As the company grows control aspects become more important. Management characteristics on the other hand were especially important in determining how the management accounting systems develop, or how these management accounting needs are executed upon.
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