A framework for conducting numerical experiments on cost system design

Vic V. Anand, Ramji Balakrishnan, Eva Labro

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper aims to advance the use of numerical experiments in the study of cost system design. As with laboratory and field experiments, researchers must decide on the independent variables and their levels, the experimental design, and the dependent variables. Options for dependent and independent variables are ample, as are ways to model the relations among these variables. We provide a modular framework that provides structure to these variables, their definitions, and the modeling of connections among them. Further, we offer insights into the design and layout of output data files to facilitate data analysis. We also present tips on how to report the results from such numerical experiments effectively. Finally, we provide C# source code for many of these modules in an online appendix. We hope that the framework and guidance provided in this paper will promote further meaningful work in this important area of management accounting. Data Availability: The appendix and computer code that accompany this paper are available for downloading at https://github.com/vanand74/CostSystemSim. We request that anybody who downloads the code and amends it for their research paper purposes acknowledges their use of this code and references this paper in an acknowledgement section.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)41-61
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Management Accounting Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1 2019


  • Cost system design
  • Cost systems
  • Numerical experiments
  • Simulation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • Accounting


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