Understanding the spreadsheets use in budgeting.
This paper explores the use of spreadsheets in budgeting in order to explain how and why spreadsheets are used or not used in budgeting practice. Guided by modern budgeting research, budgeting is considered as a social phenomenon which requires flexibility for decision-making and integration for management control. Twenty-one interviews with business controllers in eleven leading for-profit organisations in Thailand were conducted for this study. The analysis at the activity level, led by the concept of ‘conflict’ in structuration theory (ST), reveals that spreadsheets allow a full flexibility over decision-making activities in budgeting. However, spreadsheets are not appropriate for integration in management control as there are many problems and errors associated with the use of spreadsheets. The analysis at the structural level, directed by the concept of ‘contradiction’ in ST, concludes that the weak characteristics of spreadsheets for integration are contradictory to the budgeting process which fulfils the dual roles of flexibility and integration. This study concludes that use of spreadsheets in budgeting is significant despite the availability of enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems and business intelligence (BI). This study explains that spreadsheets are heavily used because of (1) the lack of integration between financial and management accounting functions and (2) the fit for spreadsheets to support the flexibility in decision-making. This paper offers two contributions. First, it shows an over-reliance on spreadsheets for management accounting practice. Second, it informs academia and practitioners of the need to reduce their reliance on spreadsheets for management control functions because there are many drawbacks associated with it.
- Information Systems, Social aspects
- budgeting decision-making management control spreadsheets
The ninth international conference on enterprise systems, accounting and logistics (ICESAL 2012)