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Use of management accounting practices and factors affecting its use: A survey of small and medium-sized enterprises in Durban

Sicelo Cele    
Celani J. Nyide    
Lesley J. Stainbank    


AbstractOrientation: The sustainability of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in South Africa is important, mainly because of their contribution to the gross domestic product (GDP) and their creation of work opportunities. The high rate of SME failure in South Africa is largely attributable to the lack of management skills by their owners and managers.Research purpose: The objective of the study was to examine owners and managers of Durban SMEs? perceptions of the use of management accounting practices (MAPs) and the factors affecting its use. In addition, the challenges faced by SMEs were also investigated.Motivation for the study: Although the use of MAPs has been investigated in other parts of South Africa, research on Durban SMEs? use of MAPs and factors affecting its use is lacking in KwaZulu-Natal, which is an important contributor to South Africa?s GDP. If MAPs are not being used, what strategies could be recommended to advance their use? This important question provided further motivation for this study.Research approach/design and method: The research adopted a quantitative approach in the form of a self-administered questionnaire, which was e-mailed to SMEs.Main findings: Management accounting practices were perceived to be used mainly in assisting planning and in assessing business performance. Factors affecting the use of MAPs were the lack of management accounting knowledge and education and skills. Challenges faced by SMEs were identified as being mainly financial and human resource challenges. Small and medium-sized enterprise owners and managers supported the recommendation that they should go for management accounting training.Practical/managerial implications: The study recommended that SMEs? owners and managers should attend management accounting training. Bodies such as government agencies or educational institutions should ensure that training aimed at SMEs is offered.Contribution/value-add: The study provides new information about the perceptions of owners and managers of SMEs on the use of MAPs, factors affecting its use of MAPs and other challenges. It further provides impetus for the need to provide management accounting training aimed at SMEs.

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