The Annual Conference for Management Accounting Research (ACMAR) at WHU – Otto Beisheim School of Management has become a popular meeting point for the international academic management accounting community. The 13th ACMAR, held on March 10-11 2016, provided three keynote speeches, parallel sessions, roundtable sessions, and a doctoral colloquium resulting in stimulating academic discourse.
Professor Utz Schäffer and Professor Jürgen Weber, directors of the Institute of Management Accounting and Control (IMC), welcomed around 130 professors, researchers, and doctoral students from around the world to WHU – Otto Beisheim School of Management. "The ACMAR aims to bring together the full spectrum of empirical researchers in the field of controlling and provide a particularly open and informal setting for the controlling community”, emphasized Utz Schäffer in his welcome address.
Naomi Soderstrom, professor at University of Melbourne (Australia), kicked off the conference with her keynote entitled "Innovation in Research: Use Your Senses": This started out from complaints about management accounting research being very streamlined and focusing on all the little details, but having no real practical relevance. She called for research to be richer in content and to have more emphasis on impact, which should result in a corresponding change in the research topics selected. She used two examples to illustrate what she thinks these "more colorful" research projects would be like.
Michael Wilkens, Senior Vice President Group Controlling, of Deutsche Telekom AG, focused on changes to the planning processes in his company. Planning at Telekom has traditionally been very bureaucratic, and it used to drag out over virtually the whole year. The high level of dissatisfaction led to a drastic change of the planning processes and the breaking of hierarchical barriers, which Wilkens described using buzz phrases such as “from silos to more intensive communication” and “from emails to direct contact”. He summed up by stating that, "It's a cultural thing".
Matthew Hall, professor at London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), dealt with the innovative topic of the relationship between emotions and management accounting in his keynote speech. Emotions have been largely neglected in management accounting research to date. Along with cognitive biases, emotions present another facet of human decision-makers that have a significant influence on company decision making. In his presentation, Hall identified a long series of indicative questions that show how management accounting figures and instruments might influence emotions. The questions showed just how diverse and largely unexplored the subject actually is. Overall, emotions would seem to be a promising field for further research.
The next Annual Conference for Management Accounting Research (ACMAR) will take place in Vallendar on March 9-10, 2017.