Concept and Meaning of Responsibility Accounting
Responsibility accounting is a system of dividing an organization into similar units, each of which is to be assigned particular responsibilities. These units may be in the form of divisions, segments, departments, branches, product lines and so on. Each department is comprised of individuals who are responsible for particular tasks or managerial functions. The managers of various departments should ensure that the people in their department are doing well to achieve the goal. Responsibility accounting refers to the various concepts and tools used by managerial accountants to measure the performance of people and departments in order to ensure that the achievement of the goals set by the top management.
Responsibility accounting, therefore, represents a method of measuring the performances of various divisions of an organization. The test to identify the division is that the operating performance is separately identifiable and measurable in some way that is of practical significance to the management. Responsibility accounting collects and reports planned and actual accounting information about the inputs and outputs of responsibility centers.
Role of Responsibility Accounting
Following are the main roles or contribution of responsibility accounting:
1. Decentralization: By dividing the total organization in smaller subunits, the organization becomes more manageable.
2. Performance Evaluation: Responsibility accounting establishes a sound and fair system of performance evaluation of each manager and personnel. The performance of each responsibility center is measured and presented periodically on performance report.
3. Motivation: Responsibility accounting emphasizes on the individual achievement-based performance evaluation. Therefore, the job becomes more challenging for the employees and motivates them to use their full potentiality in achieving the results.
4. Transfer Pricing: Responsibility accounting divides the organization in different autonomous responsibility centers or subunits. In such circumstances, product or service of one division or unit can be transferred to another division or unit within the same organization charging a transfer price. This creates an inter-competitive environment to make each subunit of the organization more profitable and efficient.
5. Drop or Continue Decision: If the organization is divided into subunits, it becomes possible to measure division wise or product wise profitability of the organization. If saving in costs exceeds the foregone revenues, the center can be discontinued.