The impact of ABC costing systems to solve managerial cost problems: a real improvement, a fad or a fashion?
Natàlia Cugueró-Escofet and Àngels Fitó-Bertran
One of the main problems of management profession is that there is not yet a corpus of theories and knowledge that can assist professionals to take adequate choices for solving the problems they actually have. Initially, we can assume that the inherent reasons for the explosion and diffusion of ABC are that these systems improve the efficiency of the selected strategy. However, a significant number of failures reveal a situation that can be attributed to other potential reasons, for instance a bad implementation. The existence of this paradox, lead us to investigate alternatives reasons for the diffusion of ABC. We show that there are alternative reasons for the diffusion of ABC, which may be a “fad logic” rather than a “problem solving logic” that we think should dominate management. We also argue that ABC systems are not introducing a revolutionary improvement in terms of the conceptualization of costs, as ABC is simply a way of using a full cost approach with a different conception of a cost center. Then, it can be useful mainly in cases where the decisions to be made can be better made using a full cost instead of other cost measures.