Beyond Budgeting in practice

University essay from Uppsala universitet/Företagsekonomiska institutionen

Abstract: The budgeting debate concerns that traditional budgets have become dysfunctional in today’s volatile business environment. Thus, it can seem logical that organisations would implement alternatives, and beyond budgeting has become popular. Nevertheless, knowledge of beyond budgeting’s practical implications is limited, and future research needs to study organisations that have implemented beyond budgeting. This study, therefore, investigates beyond budgeting in practice through a qualitative multiple case study with eight semi-structured interviews, whose respondents come from four retail organisations. The study intends to research reasons for choosing beyond budgeting, how the beyond budgeting solution is designed and what consequences beyond budgeting implies. The study finds that organisations choose to implement beyond budgeting for several reasons, some similar, such as budgets being time-consuming and aiming for higher adaptability, and some more organisation specific. The study also finds that the beyond budgeting solutions differ, for example, the companies’ management processes are designed differently. However, no organisation intentionally implemented all beyond budgeting principles, and all have a high focus on the management processes. Further, the study finds that the company's consequences implies some similarities and differences. For example, higher adaptability was a consistent outcome. Moreover, the study shows that all companies experienced consequences that were unanticipated. Lastly, the study implies that an organisation’s contingencies affects reasons, beyond budgeting solution and outcomes as beyond budgeting should be adjusted to its situation. 

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