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Establishing the link between marketing and accounting functions: a review. (International Journal of Business Excellence 19(4):473 - 482) DOI: 10.1504/IJBEX.2019.103455


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Establishing the link between marketing and accounting functions: a review Authors: Mohammed T. Nuseir Addresses: Department of Management and MIS, College of Business, Al Ain University of Science and Technology, Abu Dhabi Campus, P.O. Box 112612, Abu Dhabi, UAE Abstract: Marketing and accounting functions are carried out by two different departments of an organisation. These two departments should complement each other practically and perceptually, but in fact, this rarely appears to be the case. The functions carried out by the marketing and accounting departments tend to be very different, and there has been little attempt to link them. This literature review examines the respective functions of the two departments and links them through the prism of the stakeholders, as the opinions of stakeholders are vital to the success of any organisation. The need to pass information to the stakeholders, and the way information among stakeholders is shared, can be a starting point to understanding the link between these departments. This study has identified the importance of eliminating the tiered perception of departments in an organisation by evaluating the functional relationships among them. It is crucial to understand that marketing and accounting functions 'meet' in a common place at the operational level. Keywords: marketing; accounting; perception; functional organisation structure; stakeholders. DOI: 10.1504/IJBEX.2019.103455 International Journal of Business Excellence, 2019 Vol.19 No.4, pp.473 - 482
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Int. J. Business Excellence, Vol. X, No. Y, xxxx 1
Copyright © 20XX Inderscience Enterprises Ltd.
Establishing the link between marketing and
accounting functions: a review
Mohammed T. Nuseir
Department of Management and MIS,
College of Business,
Al Ain University of Science and Technology,
Abu Dhabi Campus, P.O. Box 112612, Abu Dhabi, UAE
Abstract: Marketing and accounting functions are carried out by two different
departments of an organisation. These two departments should complement
each other practically and perceptually, but in fact, this rarely appears to be the
case. The functions carried out by the marketing and accounting departments
tend to be very different, and there has been little attempt to link them. This
literature review examines the respective functions of the two departments and
links them through the prism of the stakeholders, as the opinions of
stakeholders are vital to the success of any organisation. The need to pass
information to the stakeholders, and the way information among stakeholders is
shared, can be a starting point to understanding the link between these
departments. This study has identified the importance of eliminating the tiered
perception of departments in an organisation by evaluating the functional
relationships among them. It is crucial to understand that marketing and
accounting functions ‘meet’ in a common place at the operational level.
Keywords: marketing; accounting; perception; functional organisation
structure; stakeholders.
Reference to this paper should be made as follows: Nuseir, M.T. (xxxx)
‘Establishing the link between marketing and accounting functions: a review’,
Int. J. Business Excellence, Vol. X, No. Y,–xxx.
Biographical notes: Mohammed T. Nuseir is an Associate Professor in
Business and Marketing with a cross-cultural background and possessing
superior academic and training experience at multinational academic institutes
and corporations. He holds academic degrees from American and Canadian
universities along with his professional experience in training senior
management levels in a wide variety of fields such as e-marketing strategies,
marketing management, social media, international business, sales and human
resources management. In addition to his experience in teaching UG and
graduate students, and his experience in conducting specialised training
programs, he has been supervising Master’s and PhD students. Moreover, his
work has been extended to research papers, where he has published many
papers in collaboration with some fellows in peer-reviewed regional and
international business journals, with a focus of topics that aim at organisational
development and international organisations operating in Jordan and in the
ME region.
2 M.T. Nuseir
1 Introduction
The ever-changing business environment, as well as the complexity associated with
choosing a standard management approach to execute successful business processes, has
been the concern of businesses operating as national or multinational organisations.
Among the organisational goals of a business is to achieve the highest standards of
business processes by launching innovative strategies and attracting new customers while
remaining loyal to existing customers (Nuseir and Madanat, 2017). Most medium and
large-size organisations have key departments, each with a specialty in one area. Some of
the departments common to any organisation include finance, marketing, human
resources, production, accounting, and customer services. Departments are often
expected to cooperate with one another in order to meet the organisation’s objectives. A
business cannot remain viable if one or more of these departments fails to work in
harmony with the others.
This literature review has two objectives:
1 to examine the link between the marketing and accounting departments by looking at
the ways they are linked at the operational level
2 to determine why it is crucial that avenues for cooperation between them are
This review also examines the functions of these departments (marketing and accounting)
and outlines the differences between them based on studies identified in the existing
2 Literature review
2.1 Studies of organisational structures
Evidence of the relationship between the size of a business and the existence of its
departments cannot be disputed. Rinaldi et al. (2014) found that as businesses grow,
responsibilities must be fulfilled and duties must be delegated. As a business entity is
linked to many other entities, dedicated departments are needed to ensure that the
different functions are undertaken professionally (Ahmad and Saber, 2015). The
organisational structures of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) may be simple
compared with large organisations that may have more complex structures. A look at the
internal structures and processes that exist in large organisations may shed some light on
the marketing-accounting relationship. For example, an internal requisition sent from any
department to the purchasing department must be approved by either the finance or the
accounting department. An internal marketing space is thus created when a formalised
structure and process exist in the organisation (Feng et al., 2015; Payne and Frow, 2014).
Studies of forms of organisations have identified the relevance of having an
organisational workforce that can meet the challenges of its professional experiences.
These departments are better defined within the organisation’s functional structures than
within other structures (Dwivedi et al., 2016) such as geographical and divisional
structures; the latter structures tend to identify the importance of having a market-client
type of relationship among departments or divisions (Payne and Frow, 2014), especially
Establishing the link between marketing and accounting functions 3
when it is necessary to employ tools such as key performance indicators to determine
where performances are, or are not, improving.
Most studies of organisational structures, which have been published in journals of
marketing and accounting (or financial accounting), have focused on how functions are
executed with the view to ensuring that organisations meet their objectives (Bebbington
et al., 2014; Müller and Piepenstock, 2016). Rinaldi et al. (2014) indicated that marketing
activities are the most critical activities in any organisation because they lead to increased
revenue generation by informing the ‘outside’ world about what the organisation has to
offer. For a long time, marketing activities have been examined within the scope of the
marketing mix (or extended marketing mix) (Ahmad and Saber, 2015). These activities
have primarily focused on the product, the assumption being that accounting functions
start only once marketing functions have been completed.
Many studies have outlined the role and nature of accounting functions in an
organisation (Dwivedi, et al., 2016; Hise and Strawser, 2013). Accounting functions
focus on identifying the financial aspects of an organisation, and thus they tend to
encompass the whole organisation. For example, the accountant looks at the duties of a
marketer, which can lead to accounting functions being considered superior to, and more
crucial than, marketing functions (Christ and Burritt, 2015).
2.2 Disparate functions of marketing and accounting
Consideration of the disparate functions of marketing and accounting departments means
that an understanding of the functional relationship between the departments exists
practically but not academically.
2.2.1 Marketing functions
The functions of marketing departments have been identified as communicating (Rinaldi
et al., 2014), promoting (Martensen and Mouritsen, 2017), selling, (Gupta, 2016),
branding, and after-sales activities (Martensen and Mouritsen, 2017). Marketing
professionals fulfil customers’ needs and enable an organisation to stay ahead of its
competitors (Bebbington et al., 2014). Many organisations with a marketing department
use it to understand the needs of the clients (Armstrong et al., 2015). Other organisations,
due to their smaller size, may combine two or more departments into one and therefore
have no role specialisation (Shen and Mizushima, 2014).
Marketing professionals focus on company image, branding, and customer relations.
While they require some knowledge of finances, they focus on conducting market
research, developing advertising campaigns, and determining pricing strategies for a
Traditionally, marketing functions are aimed at ensuring that existing and new clients
are identified and supported; however, more recently, these functions been affected by
various environmental factors such as the internet (Ahmad and Saber, 2015; Martensen
and Mouritsen, 2017). With the widespread use of the internet, marketing professionals
no longer have to go outside of the organisation to conduct their marketing activities
(Rinaldi et al., 2014); they can pass information to intended clients through the internet.
While marketing executives must pass information to the clients about what the company
is selling (Martensen and Mouritsen, 2017), the view that they are all using the internet
4 M.T. Nuseir
for their marketing functions is overstated, especially when it is services that are being
sold (Dwivedi et al., 2016), rather than products (Müller and Piepenstock, 2016).
One of the major functions undertaken by a marketing department is branding.
Currently, brands and branding are visible in the corporate agendas of most successful
companies. It has been increasingly recognised that the key financial role of brands,
accounting standards, and tax legislation have been introduced due to the growing
importance to stakeholders of brand value and other intangibles. Businesses have a strong
need to carefully develop tools to evaluate the performance of their marketing strategies
(Bruni et al., 2014; Frösén et al., 2013), with a particular reference to branding strategies
(Punyatoya, 2014).
Brand positioning is a major factor for marketing professionals who seek to build an
image of a product in consumer’s mind. It is a function of the brand’s promise and a
comparison with other brands with regard to quality, innovation, perceived leadership,
value, prestige, trust, safety, reliability, performance, convenience, concern for
customers, social responsibility, and technological superiority (Lakshmi et al., 2017).
Another function of marketing is communication with other departments, potential
customers, and stakeholders. According to Sharma and Kamalanabhan (2014),
communication has assumed a critical significance in the success of any organisation that
aspires to attain and sustain a competitive advantage.
2.2.2 Accounting functions
Accountants must know how to keep detailed financial records and must be
knowledgeable about business and tax laws to ensure that the company complies with
them. Accountants are there to help develop budgets and provide information regarding
certain company decisions and how they may affect a company’s bottom line. They also
prepare regular financial statements and other related business financial reports.
Accounting professionals in most businesses are required to hold certification in public
Whereas accountants are concerned with the finances and the ‘bottom line’, there are
two broad areas of accounting – financial and management – these areas have not been
distinguished in this study. Accounting functions include identifying costs, projecting
costs, identifying areas of investments, and meeting costs (Bebbington et al., 2014). An
accountant must provide ways of reducing costs, and these ways must be spread to other
functional areas (Hise and Strawser, 2013). Different views exist about the roles of
accountants in organisations; Van Helden and Alsem (2016) noted that an accountant’s
duty tends to alternate between controlling and monitoring to supporting and
The proficiency of an accountant can be viewed by external stakeholders, including
potential investors, competitors, the government, and customers (Fairfield, 2016), by
looking at the activities of an organisation. However, it is not always possible to obtain
publicly available information about the organisation through the stock market (Christ
and Burritt, 2015).
External stakeholders consider positive financial information relating to the activities
of a business to imply good performance (Müller and Piepenstock, 2016); they must,
however, be able to understand this information (Krush et al., 2015). Financial
information is considered a marketing tool that improves a potential customers’ image of
the business. A business that is concerned with the performance of one department fails
Establishing the link between marketing and accounting functions 5
to appreciate the importance of other departments in its future prospects (Patrascu et al.,
2.3 Tiers of departmental importance
There is a tendency to identify departments in an organisation as being separate; analysis
of the composition and operations of various departments has been the subject of
extensive academic interest (Bebbington et al., 2014; Christ and Burritt, 2015). While it
is not entirely possible to state what the ideal number of departments should be certain
departments are considered crucial to the existence of the organisation (Fairfield, 2016;
Rinaldi et al., 2014). McManus (2013) considered procurement, finance, and marketing
functions to be crucial to the future of an organisation, while Krush et al. (2015)
identified financial functions as being crucial.
A study by Dwivedi et al. (2016) focused on creating tiers of importance of
departments; for example, the accounting, finance and production departments were
considered crucial and hence were situated in the foundation tier; The accounting
department has been assigned a higher status than most other departments in many
organisations because the key objective for many businesses is to be profitable. Profits
are associated with finances and are an indicator of the well-being of an organisation
(Bebbington et al., 2014). Managing profits requires the proper management of costs that
are incurred in the different cost centres of an organisation (Van Helden and Alsem,
2016). Studies on cost management have revealed a tendency to identify the costs of
operations as elements that must be reduced. Thus, any activity that increases costs is one
of the immediate concerns that an organisation has to deal with (Dwivedi et al., 2016).
Patrascu et al. (2014) indicated that most organisations have a practical approach to
management through cost reduction, meaning that the performance is measured through
revenue and costs aspects; therefore, planning for improvements is done accordingly.
Human resources and marketing were viewed as secondary functions and hence were
situated hence in the second tier (Krush et al., 2015; McManus, 2013). This perception is
subjective; some companies view marketing to be the most essential function, while
others may consider finance to be the most essential. Marketing, however, is considered
by many organisations to be crucial as it is the department through which information
about the organisation’s activities (goods and services) are passed to the public or the
market (Feng et al., 2015).
Figure 1 Perceived organisational tiers of a business
Secondary tier
Primary tier
6 M.T. Nuseir
Figure 1 shows the two tiers that have been discussed in existing studies about the way
departments are perceived. The importance given to some departments showcases the
difference in perception and thus also leads to the identification of a gap to fill. The link
between marketing and accounting is not clear, nor have attempts been made to establish
it. The two functions are considered to be practically very different from each other.
Accounting functions are related to the responsibilities of all other functions in which an
organisation engages, and as such are viewed as superior to other functions. According to
Rajesh and Suganthi (2014), organisations today struggle hard to stay afloat in the midst
of a turbulent and dynamic economic environment. That is why it is crucial to have a
clear understanding of the marketing-accounting relationship. Table 1 shows how these
two functional areas are related.
Table 1 The link between marketing and accounting functions
Marketing functions Accounting functions Link between functions
Marketing planning
functions including
market segmentation,
market positioning, and
targeting clients
(Armstrong et al., 2015).
Functions hinge on such
parameters as
quantification of people,
their locations, and their
Creating budgets for various departments
depending on which cost centres exist in
the organisation. Budgeting is an integral
part of the accounting or finance
departments. By projecting revenues and
expenditures, the accounting department
can inform the relevant cost units about
the limits of anticipated expenditures and
hence their (cost centre’s) activities.
Financial projections and
planning of marketing
activities. With such
quantification, the
organisation can identify
income and expenditures.
Advertising – informing
the clients through
existing media about the
existence of a product or
service (Martensen and
Mouritsen, 2017).
The information emanating from the
accounting department is mainly financial
(Dwivedi et al., 2016). It often involves
such parameters as the performance of the
business regarding profits and changes in
financial position through ratio analysis
(Anessi-Pessina et al., 2016; Fairfield,
Preparing information
about the financial
position of an
organisation for
concerned stakeholders.
Understanding customer
needs with the view of
creating the right products
or services to satisfy the
customers (De Mooij,
Supporting the understanding of customer
needs through an assessment of what an
organisation can afford vis-à-vis customer
needs. Budgeting of activities can be
based on anticipated needs.
Conducting market
analysis, and
weekly/monthly financial
Providing the clients with
the goods and services
needed (Malshe et al.,
2017). This activity
requires logistical support
in the organisation.
Allocating resources to produce or
manufacture what clients need is a crucial
task that the accounting department fulfils
through proper estimates (Bebbington
et al., 2014).
Evaluating the
performance of costs
centres through control
analysis activities, i.e.,
activity-based costing.
Carrying out after-sales
service (Ahmad and
Saber, 2015), enabling
clients to use the product
or services that they have
Evaluating the performance of the
organisation and thus making changes to
specific activities, is performed through
an evaluation of the financial
performance and comparing it with the
performances of previous years.
Conducting ratio analysis
through an evaluation of
the revenues from each
product or service that an
organisation has sold
over a specified time.
Establishing the link between marketing and accounting functions 7
3 The relationship between accounting and marketing
3.1 Differences and similarities between accounting and marketing
Financial conditions are monitored by an accounting department of a business based on
financial statements that it compiles on a regularly. The marketing department manages
and develops the business’s sales. Both departments must work closely together to
monitor trends in the business as well as to manage and deal with the proficiency of sales
promotions offered by the marketing department. For instance, although the marketing
campaign may have contributed positively to the gross sales, the accounting department
may consider that the cost of the campaign was too high. The point at which marketing
and accounting overlap the most is management accounting. The role of management
accountants is to help develop new products, maintain a company’s financial image
through dealing with stockholders and the media, as well as advice the business on how
to make the right financial decisions regarding its marketing and public image. In another
sense, marketing and accounting relate in the development of pricing strategies as
accounting principles are used by marketing to determine how pricing strategies affect a
business’s bottom line.
An accounting system is established in every business to monitor its financial
well-being. Utilising the collected financial statements, the accounting department assists
management in determining the business’s profitability. Marketing departments create
strategies for sale and plans with the purpose to increase sales through promotion and
advertising. They are also responsible for compiling reports about specific campaigns and
sales strategies’ success or failure.
3.2 Board level
Corporate boards meet to discuss the tactical and strategic aspects of a business and to
make strategic decisions. These decisions are usually informed by activities at the lower
levels of the organisation (operational) and middle levels (tactical). Marketing
departments must justify their proposed marketing activities to the board; trade-offs may
be necessary where choices must be made (Broberg et al., 2013). The assumption is that
board meetings are always necessary for the good of the organisation (Payne and Frow,
2014); questions are, however, still raised about the overarching role of one function
compared with another (Feng et al., 2015; Van Helden and Alsem, 2016). Payne and
Frow (2014) indicated that the convergence of ideas at board meetings aimed at making
long-term plans often necessitates developing rules or plans of action based on the results
of cost-benefit analyses. Thus, if a marketing approach is adopted, it must have a positive
business case, or it will not be deemed viable. Such cooperation between departments
thus creates a hierarchy of importance regarding the ability of a department to offer
solutions, control costs, and provide direction.
As mentioned above, marketing functions result in revenues, which must exceed or
justify the investments in the production process (Broberg et al., 2013). Using accounting
practices such as investment appraisal, balanced scorecards, benchmarking (Van Helden
and Alsem, 2016), an organisation can create a correlation between its marketing and
accounting tasks. While such a correlation is strong in prominent organisations, this is not
necessarily the case in small organisations (Broberg et al., 2013).
8 M.T. Nuseir
4 Conclusions and contribution
This study focused on examining the link between the marketing and accounting
departments. Marketing functions allow an organisation to showcase its products and
services to its market or clients. Accounting functions encompass the responsibilities of
all other functions in which an organisation engages, and as such are viewed as superior
to other functions. The functions of these departments are operationally different, and as
such, they tend to be viewed as very disparate with little possibility of any linkage. From
an outside perspective, marketing and accounting activities cannot merge (Fairfield,
However, a look at the complex functions of each of these departments indicates that
their functions are indeed linked. Marketing functions inform customers about the
business’s products, while the accounting functions showcase the financial position of the
organisation. Although accounting and marketing departments are separate and distinct,
they are required to work together to be able to monitor sales trends and manage the
effectiveness of marketing campaigns. When both departments work collaboratively sales
trends are closely observed, marketing campaigns are wisely budgeted, and resources are
efficiently allocated; thus businesses appear to run more smoothly.
Selling and promoting a business or a product are part of marketing. Keeping track of
financial records and financial accounts for a business are part of accounting. Although
the functions of accounting and marketing are different, they both depend on one another
to create a successful business. Accountants provide marketing managers with financial
advice to help them make the best decisions for the business’s image.
Another reason marketing and accounting must work closely together is to allow
management to see where the marketing campaign have succeeded and to be able to
prepare for future marketing and advertising expenditures. Management can allocate
budgets for marketing campaigns by looking at past financial results and experiences.
Then comes the role of the accounting department to evaluate the marketing department’s
adherence to budget limits as well as how efficiently utilised was the consumed budget.
Two kinds of business stakeholders emerge when this link is discussed:
1 The stakeholders who view the company from its products or services (Martensen
and Mouritsen, 2017). These are the customers of the company, and their
relationship with the organisation ends at the point at which they consume the
outputs of the organisation.
2 The stakeholders who view the organisation beyond the point of what is sold, to the
point of what defines an organisation (Dwivedi et al., 2016). These stakeholders
include government, competitors, employees, and investors (McManus, 2013), and
they inform one other about the organisation (although their relationship and the
interaction between them are never direct) (Hise and Strawser, 2013).
Understanding these two views brings about the issue of stakeholder relationships in
seeking to examine what an organisation is. Existing literature recognises the functions of
the accounting and marketing departments (Dwivedi et al., 2016; McManus, 2013), while
a functional analysis of the departments showcases the importance of, and relationship
between them (Ahmad and Saber, 2015). Accounting identifies the financial information,
and thus in a way focuses on cost reduction and the improvement of the business’s
Establishing the link between marketing and accounting functions 9
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(Krush et al., 2015).
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Full-text available
In this research study, we analyse the position of the ayurveda medicine and factors affecting the positioning of the ayurveda medicine and also provide suggestions to them how to positioning their products or services. The type of research design used in this research is descriptive in nature. The primary data was collected for the present study by structured questionnaire to the patients. Final study was conducted with 202 patients in Tamil Nadu. The results of the study have indicated that companies should spend in their research and development department to develop the medicines having quicker response. Companies should take the consumer preference while preparing the medicines. The company need to start more campaign programmes in rural and urban areas so that public awareness towards the therapy may increase. The company should promote the product through visual media advertisement and print media advertisement.
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This paper explores the delicate interface between management accounting and marketing management. Based on the scope of their mutual relationship, a distinction is made between two types of interfaces: informing and integrating. Whereas the traditional management accounting domains, such as budgetary control, are characterized by an informing interface, some recently developed management accounting techniques, such as the Balanced Scorecard, target costing and customer profitability analysis, require an integrating interface. Therefore, although during the last three decades clear progress has been made in strengthening the interface between management accounting and marketing management, there is still much room for further improvement. By its inclusion nowadays of marketing and operational management issues, management accounting has broadened its focus beyond the traditional financial domain. However, the adoption of ideas and concepts from other disciplines may not be enough to internalize a truly multi-disciplinary approach to business problems. A challenging interface between management accounting and marketing management is, for example, measuring the value of brands in monetary terms.
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Marketing functions (MFs) differ in how they practise marketing roles. The purpose of this article is to differentiate between MFs that practice marketing roles in a particular manner and then study how these different types of MFs differ with regard to the marketing roles’ effect on business performance (BP) and top management's respect. An empirical survey identifies four types of MFs: (1) the broad spectrum; (2) the hesitant; (3) the traditional and (4) the market-creating. Findings show that for each of the four types, the effect of investing in a particular role varies: all roles are not equally important to practise. Moreover, all roles are not equally important to all marketing functions, but depend on the marketing function's unique starting point. Since MFs differ, relevant investments in marketing roles also differ, making it beneficial to prioritise them. However, management dilemmas exist, because to gain top management respect the MFs may have to perform roles that will not improve BP.
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This study empirically investigates marketing department power in U.S. firms throughout 1993-2008 and assesses its impact on firm performance. Using a new objective measure of marketing department power and a cross-industry sample of 612 public firms in the United States, the results reveal that, in general, marketing department power increased during this time period. Furthermore, the analyses show that a powerful marketing department enhances firms' longer-term future total shareholder returns beyond its positive effect on firms' short-term return on assets (ROA). The findings also reveal that a firm's long-run market-based-asset-building and short-run market-based-asset-leveraging capabilities partially mediate the effect of a firm's marketing department power on its longer-term shareholder value performance and fully mediate the effect on its short-term ROA performance. This research provides new insights for marketing scholars and managers with regard to both marketing's influence within the firm and how investments in building a powerful marketing department affect firm performance.
This paper explores the role of total quality management (TQM), total innovation management (TIM), knowledge management (KM), and project management (PM) approaches and their impact to win customer satisfaction and to achieve business success. To achieve this purpose the research: a) investigates if certain management approaches help to win customer satisfaction; b) explores connections between customer satisfaction and business success; c) highlights the close links between TQM, KM, PM and quality innovation management. The findings of the research clearly show the positive outcome of using TQM, TIM, KM and PM as an integrated method to deal with business issues. The research highlights that integrated management approach based on TQM, TIM, KM, and PM increases competitiveness, ability to innovate at a higher rate, and ultimately increased performance, establishes strong relationship between a customer and business organisation.
Most management students have had limited exposure to issues concerning organizational structure. This exercise offers a brief in-class experience of the differences of working in a functional structure versus a divisional structure. The instructor guides students to think about certain events, or challenges, confronting their simulated organization. Some of these challenges are best handled by a functional organizational structure, while others are much more taxing if organized that way. Conversely, a divisional organization can produce agile responses to certain initiatives but poses difficulties in coordinating across multiple divisions. Students can begin to sense how structure exerts a major influence on decision making.
The scope of marketing in libraries is unlimited but has not been fully explored. To understand it more precisely, the scope of marketing by way of its function needs to be understood. The functions of marketing include: Buying, selling, transporting, storing, standardisation and grading, financing, risk taking and market information functions. A relationship between marketing functions and library operations has been established. It is found that the scope of marketing is greater than envisaged in professional literature and most of the library functions can be covered in marketing gamut. Looking at library functions from marketing angle offers greater scope of library marketing.
Purpose – Budgeting is central in public organizations. From a research viewpoint, it is an extremely multifaceted and potentially rich field to investigate and develop. The changing institutional and socio-economic landscape, moreover, requires a profound reassessment of its roles and features in accounting studies. The purpose of this paper is to review the existing European literature on public budgeting, looking at how public administration, public management, and accounting contribute to current budgeting theories and practices and to advance a proposal on how they can individually and jointly contribute in the future. Design/methodology/approach – The authors collect and analyze all the papers on public budgeting in the European context that were published in all the issues of 15 major accounting and public-management journals since 1980. Findings – Budgeting has so far played a rather marginal role in European public management and accounting research. Among the existing papers, most focus on the Anglo-Saxon context, look at the intra-organizational aspects of budgeting, emphasize its managerial and allocative functions, either adopt an interpretive theoretical framework or make no explicit reference to theory, and rely on qualitative analyses. Public budgeting lies at the intersections between different disciplines and professions, but this multifacetedness has been largely neglected by the existing literature. These intersections thus offer significant opportunities for future research. Building on the distinction between the intra- and inter-organizational foci of budgeting, between its different functions (i.e. allocative, managerial, external accountability), and between the accounting and the public administration and management perspectives, the authors propose possible future research topics. Originality/value – Budgeting plays a central role in public organizations and is used to allocate a large share of national incomes. This paper explores the existing literature and puts forward some potentially fruitful avenues for future research.
Recent times have seen the business world challenged to improve efficiency by reducing its material and energy usage. Material flow cost accounting has been suggested as a management tool that can assist and a new international environmental management accounting standard, ISO 14051, has emerged for consideration by business. This paper presents a review of extant MFCA literature, the purpose being to develop a research agenda which will provide a foundation for future development of the material flow cost accounting tool. Concerns are raised about the absence of theorising behind material flow cost accounting; the lack of knowledge and application of the tool in practice; the need for survey, interview and statistical research methods to supplement case studies; lack of systematic evidence of the tool's applicability beyond manufacturing and in different firm sizes; and complementarity with other accounting tools used to improve performance. An agenda identifying promising avenues for research, the scope of application within companies and broadening of methods for investigation is then outlined.