Course 2009-2010 a.y.



Department of Accounting

Course taught in English

Go to class group/s: 31
MM-LS (6 credits - I sem. - AI) - AFC-LS (6 credits - I sem. - AI) - CLAPI-LS (6 credits - I sem. - AI) - CLEFIN-LS (6 credits - I sem. - AI) - CLELI-LS (6 credits - I sem. - AI) - DES-LS (6 credits - I sem. - AI) - CLG-LS (6 credits - I sem. - AI) - M-LS (6 credits - I sem. - AI) - IM-LS (6 credits - I sem. - AI) - ACME-LS (6 credits - I sem. - AI) - EMIT-LS (6 credits - I sem. - AI)
Course Director:

Classes: 31 (I sem.)

Course Objectives


As the structure and size of companies have changed, so, too, have the practice of and implications for cost management. Global competition forces firms to study the cost management methods of others; as technology changes the type and amount of data, managers have more flexibility and capability to control resource use, measure performance and make timely decisions.  Starting from this preliminary remarks, the course is intend to broaden students' appreciation of the role of cost management techniques and applications in organizations. It is designed to build on the student's existing management accounting knowledge by: 

  • Carrying out costing and quantitative techniques at an advanced level; 
  • Reviewing the literature that challenges the validity of traditional quantitative techniques.

Applying and defending the appropriateness of techniques to the production and presentation of information for management decision making by the use of case studies.

Course Content Summary

During the last two decades a revolution in the practice of cost management has occurred. First, activity-based costing emerged in the eighties as a replacement of the traditional standard cost systems that had remained essentially unchanged since the turn of the century. Second, activity based management became integrated with other cost management techniques, such as kaizen costing and target costing to produce new ways to reduce costs both across the value chain and over the life of the product. At the same time the importance of non-financial measures to inform and motivate performance improvements became apparent. 

The course deals with the conceptual leap from feedback to feedforward cost management, leading to effective programs for strategic cost management, and will go through the following issues: 

  • Cost and performance management systems: the different stage of cost systems from financial reporting to the support to strategic and operational decisions 
  • Linking resource expenses to cost objects: two stage measurement process; direct and indirect cost assignment; role of nonfinancial measures and indicators for continuing improvement 
  • Activity based costing in action: the reason for a different methodology, measure the costs of resource capacity; operational and strategic activity based costing in manufacturing companies 
  • Strategic activity based management for customers and suppliers and for product development
  • The emergence for integrated cost systems: challenge of system integration

Detailed Description of Assessment Methods

Attending students
La valutazione si articola rispetto a momenti differenti, che comprendono la partecipazione d'aula (discussione di casi), la valutazione di assignment individuali o di gruppo (le concrete modalità saranno definite in ragione della numerosità dell’aula) a cura degli studenti, e la partecipazione ad un business game che si sviluppa nelle ultime sessioni del corso. Una parte della valutazione complessiva sarà data dall'esito di un esame scritto che assume la veste della discussione di un caso aziendale (normalmente comunicato quarantottore prima della discussione).

Non-attending students
La prova di accertamento si articola in due parti: analisi di un casoaziendale (normalmente comunicato quarantottore prima della discussione); alcune sintetiche domande su uno dei casi previsti nel programma d'aula.


R. COOPER, R.S. KAPLAN, The design of Cost Management Systems. Text and Cases, Prentice Hall

Exam textbooks & Online Articles (check availability at the Library)
Last change 06/05/2009 09:05