Management accountants are choice architects: they provide information that is used in managerial decision making and they have considerable influence on the monetary and non-monetary incentives that drive managers’ decision-making processes. Over the past two decades, our know - ledge of how people make economic decisions has increased tremendously. However, this has had only very little impact on the design of management accounting and control systems in organizations. Consequently, management accounting is (again) at risk of becoming irrelevant. To secure its relevance, management accountants need to become aware of their role as choice architects and need to develop into professionals whose core competence is to provide insight into quantitative information as a product of human decision making and, vice versa, to explain and predict decision-making behavior as a response to quantitative information. Academic management accounting research should facilitate this development. How this can be done is illustrated using three examples of practically relevant research areas: subjective performance evaluation, internal transparency and the design of the control function in organizations.

behavioral economics, choice architecture, controller, controlling, financial management, management accountant, management accounting
Accounting (jel M41)
Erasmus Research Institute of Management
ERIM Inaugural Address Series Research in Management
Erasmus Research Institute of Management

Maas, V.S. (2012, October 5). De controller als choice architect. ERIM Inaugural Address Series Research in Management. Erasmus Research Institute of Management. Retrieved from