Reforms of the public health-care sector have emphasised the role of management accounting (MA). However, there is little systematic evidence on its use and benefits. To fill this gap, we propose a contingency-based model which addresses three related issues, that is, whether: (i) MA use is influenced by contextual variables and MA design; (ii) top-management satisfaction with MA mediates the relationship between MA design and MA use; and (iii) financial performance is influenced by MA use. A questionnaire was mailed out to all Italian public health-care organisations. Structural equation modelling was performed to validate the research hypotheses. The response rate was 49%. Our findings suggest that: (i) cost-containment strategies encourage more sophisticated MA designs; (ii) MA use is directly and indirectly influenced by contingency, organisational, and behavioural variables; (iii) a weakly significant positive relationship exists between MA use and financial performance. These findings are relevant from the viewpoint of both top managers and policymakers. The former must make sure that MA is not only technically advanced, but also properly understood and appreciated by users. The latter need to be aware that MA may improve performance in ways and along dimensions that may not fully translate into better financial results.

Management accounting use and financial performance in public health-care organisations: evidence from the italian national health service

ANESSI PESSINA, EUGENIO
2014

Abstract

Reforms of the public health-care sector have emphasised the role of management accounting (MA). However, there is little systematic evidence on its use and benefits. To fill this gap, we propose a contingency-based model which addresses three related issues, that is, whether: (i) MA use is influenced by contextual variables and MA design; (ii) top-management satisfaction with MA mediates the relationship between MA design and MA use; and (iii) financial performance is influenced by MA use. A questionnaire was mailed out to all Italian public health-care organisations. Structural equation modelling was performed to validate the research hypotheses. The response rate was 49%. Our findings suggest that: (i) cost-containment strategies encourage more sophisticated MA designs; (ii) MA use is directly and indirectly influenced by contingency, organisational, and behavioural variables; (iii) a weakly significant positive relationship exists between MA use and financial performance. These findings are relevant from the viewpoint of both top managers and policymakers. The former must make sure that MA is not only technically advanced, but also properly understood and appreciated by users. The latter need to be aware that MA may improve performance in ways and along dimensions that may not fully translate into better financial results.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11565/3973324
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