Business intelligence and the changing environment of the management accountant

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Business intelligence & analytics (BI&A) form promising new technologies. BI&A likely have disruptive qualities that could affect the daily routines of management accountants. This thesis uses grounded theory and empirical evidence consisting of a case study as well as additional exploratory interviews in order to build a middle-range theory on how BI&A developments change the occupation of the management accountant. The study derives a model of how BI&A fits inside the management information system. The model identifies that technical skills required of management accountants can be placed on a continuum ranging from low to high technical proficiency. There are three important ways that management accountants utilize BI&A. First, the automation of reports likely allows for a greater freedom to perform the advisory role of management accounting. Dimensional analysis and advanced dynamic visualization methods are second and third instruments that both enable powerful discursive effects. For complementary analysis, Master programmes in accounting are compared to the substantive findings, concluding that education prepares students adequately, with elective courses enabling students to pick their own spot along the technical continuum. Future research may do longitudinal case studies of management accountants, as well as survey the field in order to empirically test the model.
Faculteit der Managementwetenschappen