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English: The carbon footprint as it is underst...

English: The carbon footprint as it is understood by people. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Increasingly, managers of all types of organisation measure and monitor non-financial aspects of their activities.

For instance, a supermarket such as Sainsbury’s would seek information on its customers’ satisfaction levels; or the number of customer complaints in a particular week, per store and per region; maybe the number of late deliveries from its key suppliers during the previous month; or the amount of training which it is providing to its staff, and much more.

The management of an organisation such as a university will also not be just interested in information that related to costs, income and other financially-grounded sources (though clearly very important!), but they will also pay a considerable amount of attention to non-financial aspects of what they do. For instance, a university will measure and carefully monitor student satisfaction levels. It will analyse trends (and, from that, possibly attempt predictions about the future) in overseas student applications. And, most universities now measure their impact on the environment, including carbon footprint.

While financially-oriented information still assumes much of the remit of management accounting, more of today’s managers require information on the non-financial aspects of what they do. And, management accountants will be expected to bring such information to the decision-making ‘table’, using tools such as the balanced scorecard.

Most important of all, managers will also look to their accounting colleagues to try to capture the (potential) linkages and relationships between financial and non-financial-oriented business activities. As an over-simplified example, but for general illustration, if we can measure changes and trends in our customer satisfaction over time, can we also begin to predict how much we might need to impact our overall customer satisfaction levels in order to improve our profitability by X% amount?

Photograph of postcard of transporting US mail...

Photograph of postcard of transporting US mail in Alaska (Photo credit: Smithsonian Institution)

Source: own experience/observations