The importance that businesses have accorded their customers during the past thirty years has not, as yet, been fully matched by the development of accounting for the customer. A range of customer-related techniques has emerged, including customer profitability analysis, the balanced scorecard and several strategic management accounting approaches. In large part these can be characterised as attempts to construct the customer in a very conventional manner, one which serves the interests of business rather than customers. Similar emphases can also be identified in the marketing management literature, which in recent years has shown worrying signs of becoming focused on the adoption of a form of hard number accounting. The purpose of this paper is to provide a review and critique of extant customer accounting techniques and approaches, as well as identifying some of the fundamentals of a more appealing attempt at ‘taking the customer into account’.
- Customer accounting
- Relationship marketing
- Strategic management accounting