History of Managerial Accounting:
Managerial accounting has its roots in the industrial revolution of the 19th century. During this early period, most firms were tightly controlled by a few owner-managers who borrowed based on personal relationships and their personal assets.
Since there were no external shareholders and little unsecured debt, there was little need for elaborate financial reports. In contrast, managerial accounting was relatively sophisticated and provided the essential information needed to manage the early large scale production of textile, steel, and other products. After the turn of the century, financial accounting requirements burgeoned because of new pressures placed on companies by capital markets, creditors, regulatory bodies, and federal taxation of income. Johnson and Kaplan state that “many firms needed to raise funds from increasingly widespread and detached suppliers of capital. To tap these vast reservoirs of outside capital, firms’ managers had to supply audited financial reports. And because outside suppliers of capital relied on audited financial statements, independent accountants had a keen interest in establishing well defined procedures for corporate financial reporting. The inventory costing procedure adopted by public accountants after the turn of the century had a profound effect on management accounting. As a consequence, for many decades, management accountants increasingly focused their efforts on ensuring that financial accounting requirements were met and financial reports were released on time.
The practice of management accounting stagnated. In the early part of the century, as product line expanded operations became more complex, forward looking companies saw a renewed need for management-oriented reports that was separate from financial reports. But in most companies, management accounting practices up through the mid-1980s were largely indistinguishable from practices that were common prior to world war I. In recent years, however, new economic forces have led to many important innovations in management accounting. These new practices are discussed in other chapters.
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