From design of activity-based costing systems to their regular use

M. Angels Fito, John Slof


Purpose: To understand why many companies that develop activity-based costing (ABC) systems do not use them on a regular basis.

Design/methodology/approach: We review the existing literature on the process of ABC implementation, concentrating specifically on the step from the acceptance of an ABC model to its routine use. We identify key factors for successful uptake of ABC systems as a regular management tool and use these factors to interpret the experience of two companies that illustrate, respectively, a success and a failure.

Findings: Sixteen factors are identified that positively or negatively influence the actual use of ABC costing systems. These factors can be grouped into six categories: strategic, individual, organizational, technological, operational and external factors.

Originality/value: This paper sheds some light on the paradoxical situation that regular usage of ABC systems is not as common as might be expected given their widespread acceptance on a conceptual level.


activity-based costing, cost system implementation, accounting system change

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Licencia de Creative Commons 

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License

Intangible Capital, 2004-2022

Online ISSN: 1697-9818; Print ISSN: 2014-3214; DL: B-33375-2004

Publisher: OmniaScience