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Cost accounting in the shipbuilding, engineering and metals industries of the West of Scotland, `The Workshop of the Empire', c1900-1960

Flemming, A.I.M., McKinstry, S., and Kininmonth, K. (2000) Cost accounting in the shipbuilding, engineering and metals industries of the West of Scotland, `The Workshop of the Empire', c1900-1960. Accounting and Business Research, 30 (3). pp. 195-211. ISSN 0001-4788

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Abstract

This article examines the nature, use and development of costing systems employed in the shipbuilding, engineering and metals industries of the West of Scotland between the years c1900-1960. The research is for the most part archivally-based, and is founded on the surviving records of 11 firms across the sector. The sector's business history is outlined, the systems in use are then examined firm by firm, after which general conclusions are drawn about their common characteristics. Most were job or contract-based cost systems, in which rudimentary absorption techniques for overheads were applied, estimates were compared progressively with actuals and the control of departmental overhead expenditure was broadbrush. Cost accounting development within the sector is next examined, in particular the rejection of standard costing and budgetary control. This is linked with scepticism which existed about the relevance of Taylorism and Scientific Management to the area's industries, and also with the fragile industrial relations climate which prevailed over much of the period and which caused some firms to avoid payment by results remuneration systems. An engineering culture among management may also have inhibited the development of costing. The costing systems which were employed arc assessed as having been adequate. The article concludes by suggesting that the factors identified as inhibiting costing development may well apply in future studies of the history of cost accounting in the UK

Item Type:Article
Additional Information:Kirsten Wallace is now Kirsten Kininmonth
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s):Kininmonth, Dr Kirsten
Authors: Flemming, A.I.M., McKinstry, S., and Kininmonth, K.
Subjects:H Social Sciences > HF Commerce
College/School:College of Social Sciences > Adam Smith Business School
Journal Name:Accounting and Business Research
Publisher:Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales
ISSN:0001-4788
ISSN (Online):2159-4260

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