PhD student Manjunath Rao gave a poster presentation on how Maharishi Vedic Science can be a powerful analytic tool in implementing “lean accounting” at the recent annual conference of the Institute of Management Accountants (IMA) in Florida. Mr. Rao, who is a Certified Management Accountant and member of IMA, gave a poster presentation on his Ph.D. research, which addresses the issue of why organizations haven’t readily adopted lean accounting.
Mr. Rao explains that lean accounting complements the rapidly growing trend toward lean manufacturing: a practice that derives from the Toyota Production System and is a way of standardizing procedures, removing unnecessary activities, and empowering the workforce. However, anecdotal evidence suggests that companies that have adopted the lean manufacturing strategy continue with traditional standard cost accounting practices rather than adopting lean accounting. “Lean accounting theory posits that traditional standard cost accounting practices are not suitable to companies that have implemented lean manufacturing,” Mr. Rao says. “My research seeks to answer the question why lean manufacturing companies continue to retain standard cost accounting.”
In order to find the answer, Mr. Rao’s research takes a holistic perspective based on Maharishi Vedic Science. His study aims at identifying the dominant variables on three dimensions of rishi (accountants), devata (organizational processes), and chhandas (organizational resources) in order to describe the profile of accounting practices in lean manufacturing companies. “The lens provided by Maharishi Vedic Science can be a powerful tool for analysis because of its holistic nature,” he says. “My analysis highlights startling parallels between ancient Maharishi Vedic Science approach and the postmodern structuration theory approach provided by Giddens.”
Mr. Rao says accounting is a knowledge-creating process, and that the kind of knowledge that accountants create depends on the way they think. It’s important for them to go beyond, or transcend, their past experiences and integrate new methods. During the course of his presentation Mr. Rao had the opportunity to network with accounting professionals from around the world. “They showed a keen interest in my research,” he said. “And I received appreciation from Sandra Richtermeyer, the outgoing president of IMA.”