Ezzamel does not agree with J&K’s views thataccounting practice was good in 1925 and thereafter it all went wrong. Theyargue that it was inevitable that cost accounting was “to be problematic fromits outset and this is what the history of 19th century accountingshows” (Ezzamel,1990:157). They believe that the problems lie within accountingitself and that a solution to fix it will take time. Different accountingpractice needs to be developed to tackle different cost accounting problems. Forexample, Lyman Mills records which J studied, “incorporated the cost ofcotton goods produced” in their double entry system and “the work of scholarsin recent years” means “there is no shortage of early examples of costcalculation” Ezzamel (1990:157), e.g. as well as the earlytextbooks (Mepham,1988)”.
Ezzamel et al. (1990:157) disputed J&K development of cost andmanagement innovations. As mentioned above, they deemed cost management accountingnumbers as essentially problematic which was completely different to J&Kviews that these numbers were relevant for managerial decisions. According to Ezzamel, textile mills were not the firstexamples of the new accounting system but Springfield Armory was. “The ‘market’piece-rates being paid” for Springfield “were not imposing the necessarydiscipline or securing the necessary efficiency in labour” Ezzamel (1990:158). The armory’s objective was to benefit the public sectorand not for profits. J&K argue that entrepreneurs and owners did not needcost accounting because of this piece rate.
It can be concluded that Johnson & Kaplan’s views on the relevanceof management accounting illustrates the the size of the gap between managementaccounting theory and management accounting practice. On the whole, I think that Johnson and Kaplan’s argumentwas true, from 1920 to the mid 1980s as no new innovative management accountingtechnique was established from accounting experts. However, I disagreewith blaming university education and textbooks because common sense prevailsin that there is bound to be a time lag before new research can beenincorporated into textbooks and the curriculum. Kaplan (1987:27)are correct in thinking “it is time to create new information that is morerelevant to new strategies” if direct labour no longer creates profits. Hopperand Armstrong provide solutions to management accounting problems but do notsuggest or implement any new systems. Ezzamel et al predicted that managementaccounting systems would be problematic but the market piece rate was notenough to suggest that cost accounting evolved.