Digital technology and changing roles:a management accountant’s dream or nightmare?
Peer reviewed, Journal article
MetadataShow full item record
Recent developments in digital technology have revitalized interest in the relationship between technology and management accounting. Yet, few empirical in-depth studies have assessed how digital technologies influence the roles of management accountants. This paper builds on the concept of jurisdiction to illuminate the relationship between management accountants, expert knowledge and digital technology. The study identifies and describes competition over jurisdiction between management accountants and other groups of employees. The study describes a shift for divisional management accountants towards narrower roles in their tasks and expectations, while business-oriented roles at group level are found to entail expanding tasks and expectations. In doing so, management accountants are divided into two divergent categories facing different expectations: divisional and group level management accountants. Through a case study in the technology-oriented finance sector, the paper contributes to the debate on the roles of management accountants in a number of ways. First, it describes how digital technology can contribute to narrower and more specialized roles. Second, it describes how digital technology can contribute to competition between professions. Third, it elucidates how digital technology contributes to changes in the behaviour of decision makers, and in their expectations toward, and the involvement of, management accountants. Fourth, it details how the changes contributed by digital technology in the roles of management accountants can act as mediators in the identity-work of management accountants. Finally, it empirically describes the relationships between digital technology and management accountants’ roles.