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Management accounting practices and the performance of manufacturing small and medium enterprises in Cape Town
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Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in South Africa play a pivotal role in the economy. However, sustainability and operational problems are hindering these business entities, and researchers continue to report extremely high rates of business failure. Arguably, not making adequate use of management accounting practices (MAPs) could be a contributory factor to this status quo. These MAPs are a set of established accounting tools and techniques that have been developed through practice to provide timeous, accurate and relevant information for decision making in a firm. In this regard, MAPs can be used to aid operational efficiency and improve the overall performance of the business. This study sought to determine the extent of MAPs utilisation and the relationship with perceived organisational performance in manufacturing SMEs located in Cape Town. A quantitative approach was adopted using a structured questionnaire to collect data. Through a stratified random sampling technique using sub-industries in the manufacturing sector as the basis for stratification, a total of 104 usable responses were obtained. This data was analysed using the statistical package for social sciences (SPSS). The results showed that the mostly utilised MAPs were costing, budgeting and performance measurement techniques. Decision support systems were used to a lower extent, and strategic management accounting techniques were rarely used. The intensity in competition and rising costs of productions were cited as the most influential factors in the adoption of MAPs. These results implied that manufacturing SMEs relied on basic MAPs and did not fully utilise the more sophisticated ones. Using the Spearman’s rank of the correlation coefficient, the associative relationship between MAPs utilisation and perceived organisational performance was tested. Results showed a moderate positive significant relationship between costing, budgeting and performance measurement techniques utilisation and increasing operating profits. A weaker positive significant relationship was found between decision making support, strategic management accounting techniques and increasing operational profits. These results implied that there was a positive relationship between MAPs utilisation and perceived organisational performance represented by operational profits. This study extends the current knowledge of MAPs utilisation and performance links in SMEs particularly in developing economies. Also, this research is vital to SME owners in considering adoption of MAPs, and it is recommended that they take the initiative to explore these tools. Furthermore, the Department of Small Business Development (DSBD) can incorporate strategic MAPs in their training materials. Lastly, accounting advisory firms need to expand their services rendered to the SMEs to include the utilisation of relevant MAPs.