Comparative Management Accounting: Analysis of differences in cost accounting methods between Germany and the United States
In times of increasing internationalization and convergence of economic systems, a mutual understanding of management accounting methods is important. This study examines US-American methods of cost accounting and analyzes them with regard to differences compared to the German approaches. The objectives are to improve communication by clarifying misunderstandings and conflicts, and to suggest further applications and research. A variety of textbooks and relevant literature is considered. We focus on inventory valuation in the context of product costing, process orientated cost accounting systems and Resource Consumption Accounting. It becomes clear that relevant and basic differences occur between comparable approaches. The methods exhibit discrepancies concerning the quality and complexity as well as regarding their application fields. The fact that many international technical terms are not used uniformly is quite remarkable. Finally, it can be concluded that the United States and Germany emphasized different aspects of cost accounting. We also see many examples of drawing on practices from other countries, such as activity-based costing and Prozesskostenrechnung, or resource-consumption accounting and Grenzplankostenrechnung.