A comfortable transportation into the unknown future: The role and meaning of accounting numbers in innovative start-ups

University essay from Handelshögskolan i Stockholm/Institutionen för redovisning och finansiering

Abstract: As innovative start-ups are growing in numbers, a new field of research is emerging revolving around how organizations create imaginaries and how they proactively can shape the future. The business case is often the starting point for such ventures, to motivate investors and receive funding through presentations of imagined economic futures. This thesis aims to shed light on how comfort can be created internally within an innovative start-up, i.e., how actors in a social context come to agreement on future- looking accounting information in relation to 1) the process of forecasting and 2) operational capacity to deliver upon targets stipulated in the business case. A case study has been conducted, in a start-up with two different technologies under development (two cases), which builds upon the emerging field of imagined futures (Beckert, 2021) and social procedures for comfort creation around soft accounting information (Rowe et al., 2012). The empirical findings suggest that when market conditions are deemed to be predictable, comfort can be created in a forecasting sense and with emphasis on standardized procedures to ensure operational capacity. In contrast, when future market conditions are perceived to be unpredictable, comfort will rather be found through the means available at the time, by adopting an entrepreneurial logic of reasoning.

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