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School of Business | Department of Accounting | Accounting | 2016
Thesis number: 14603
Micro-level diffusion of management control systems: Rolling forecasting in the Finnish Retail Ltd.
Author: Lupari, Janne
Title: Micro-level diffusion of management control systems: Rolling forecasting in the Finnish Retail Ltd.
Year: 2016  Language: eng
Department: Department of Accounting
Academic subject: Accounting
Index terms: laskentatoimi; accounting; mis; mis; ennusteet; forecasts; diffuusio; diffusion; ohjausjärjestelmät; control systems
Pages: 187
Full text:
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Key terms: rolling forecasting, rolling budgeting, rolling planning, budgeting, diffusion of management controlling systems, management accounting change
This research focused on the implementation and daily operations of rolling forecasting in one Finnish retail trade company. Under the theme of budgeting rolling forecasting's idea has been known for decades among scholars. Nevertheless, it has not drawn much attention in management accounting studies. Only after the turn of the millennium practitioners have shown interest in rolling forecasting, through which it is justifiable to claim that case studies are necessary in order to build up understanding of micro-level diffusion of rolling forecasting.

Management control systems have been researched widely in the diffusion literature from many perspectives. These studies have been bothered by post-positive relationship to innovations, unlimited resources, technology oriented weight and over rationality. Lately research has tried to answer these challenges by pointing interest to complexity, irrationality and humanity of changes. Management accounting research has developed accounting change models, presented future landscapes and discussed the changing role of management accountant.

As for budgeting, its complexity and issues have been known for ages. Different methods such as the zero-base budgeting, the balanced scorecard, the activity based budgeting and the beyond budgeting model have been developed so that among other things the information wave related turbulent business environment challenges can be answered. Rolling forecasting tries to do this by creating a flexible budgeting process, in which a defined future period will be forecasted and in which attention is pointed rather to the future than the past.

The study aimed at enriching the understanding of rolling forecasting by analyzing extensive data, which included seven transcribed and six note interviews, a long period of financial data, unofficial discussions, surveys and other company inside material. Due to the contingency theory, causal relationships and diversities of matters this study strived for describing, illustrating and explaining rolling forecasting as a budgeting method and management control system. The research question could be crystallized followingly: "How does rolling forecasting function?"

In the case company rolling forecasting has both changed reporting and information flow within the company as well as caused issues in producing customary services and in creating the new budgeting process. Furthermore, even after years of implementation it can be seen that rolling forecasting's role is unclear and the process itself is suffering from systematic errors.

Based on the empirical observations, this research suggests additional parts to the existing accounting change models so that change situations can be handled better. This model emphasizes the balance between quality, speed and costs and also recognizes that change can lead to value destroying acts. The study confirmed also in a versatile manner that different organization levels had different conceptions and perspectives on how rolling forecasting functions.
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