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Popular culture is significant in contemporary life – culture of the masses rather than the elites. It lies in the influences on everyday people of such day-to-day phenomena as sport, music, fashion and shopping, cinema, theatre, celebrities, magazines, TV, radio and social media.

Most people probably don’t associate popular culture with management accounting (or vice-versa). To the lay person, accounting normally connotes ways to manage manufacturing companies or glossy annual reports distributed to shareholders.

But, on the contrary, management accounting is everywhere in and around the globalised landscape of popular culture. Absorb the following facts, for example:

  • Star Wars – the Force Awaken had a production budget of $245 million, and worldwide box office receipts of $2.07 billion
  • The film Forest Gump took $660 million in box office receipts and was the winner of 7 Oscars in 1995 and nominated for 7 further categories. Yet it made no profit!
  • Between 1992 and 1997, the English Premier League received £191 million in global TV revenues. From 2016 to 2019, it will receive £5.1 billion in global TV revenues
  • British vlogger, Zoella, is reported to be earning at least £50k per month, mostly from YouTube and sponsorships. Some U.S. vloggers are multi-millionaires!

There are many other examples like these which could illustrate just how important finances are implicated in popular culture. So, important and relevant, clearly, to all the above examples, are: revenues, costs, profits and much more from a financial (and associated non-financial) lens.

Now hands up who still doesn’t see any connections between management accounting and popular culture?