Exploring the implications of cloud-based enterprise resource planning systems for public sector management accountants

Martin Carlsson-Wall, Lukas Goretzki, Jesper Hofstedt, Kalle Kraus, Carl-Johan Nilsson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Based on a case study of a large Swedish local government municipality, we explored the extent to which a cloud-based enterprise resource planning (CERP) system enabled the role performance of public sector management accountants. Our findings suggest that the CERP system enabled central management accountants to mobilize their specific expertise because it eliminated manual work, increased transparency, and made them feel more comfortable with the numbers. However, the less flexible features of a CERP system provided by external vendors, such as limited customization, posed a challenge for the local management accountants serving the different needs of a diverse range of managers and business units. Looking at the different attitudes that central and local management accountants developed toward the CERP system, we found that although both focal groups in our analysis belonged to the same occupation, they framed the role of technology differently. Although local management accountants framed it as a tool that should enable them to draw on their local expertise to produce tailor-made information for their local units, central management accountants saw the CERP system as a tool that allowed them to consume prefabricated “high-quality” information to assure efficient and risk-free accounting processes throughout the entire organization. Given this, cloud technology constitutes a risk that accounting and control processes become unduly inflexible and cumbersome at the local level. Coping with an inflexible cloud-based system may therefore add to the list of challenges that public sector management accountants experience when trying to be(come) business partners.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)177-201
Number of pages25
JournalFinancial Accountability and Management
Volume38
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - May 2022

Keywords

  • cloud-based ERP systems
  • digitalization
  • public sector management accountants
  • software-as-a-service
  • technology power loop

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