Management accounting in education : stakeholder perceptions in Singapore
One of the functions of the educational manager is to manage the limited resources of the educational organisation. Management accounting has been used in industry and commerce and is also seen as one of the important tools for allocating resources and improving the efficiency and effectiveness of educational institutions. The most common techniques used are: (1) accounting information, (2) budgeting, (3) variance analysis, (4) decentralisation, cost/profit centre, (5) unit cost, and (6) ratio analysis. It appears that there is a lack of systematic management accounting in Singapore educational institutions. The research is focused on the extent of the application of the above techniques to Singapore educational institutions and the attitudes of the senior management of these institutions towards the effectiveness of these techniques. The study confirms that there is still a lack of systematic management accounting systems in Singapore educational institutions, even though there is generally a wide application of these techniques and most senior administrators think that they are useful for their work and would like to have training in using them. The evidence supports this researcher’s proposal of implementing a Model of Finance in Singapore Education (i.e. an integrated management accounting system) to replace the current conventional system. The proposed Finance model consists of:(l) an effective costing and pricing system; (2) a standard cost system; (3) a Financial Analysis Model, which builds a computerised reporting system allowing integrated analysis for school level to district and cluster level accounting; (4) a budget handbook, a handbook on techniques for guidance; (5) training; (6) a balanced scorecard system for measuring school overall performance; and (7) engagement of the professional bursar to relieve the principal's accounting responsibility. The study is one of the first studies of this kind in Singapore. It is hoped that the study will give future researchers in management accounting a new frontier for inquiry.