Authors:Raul Manuel Da Silva Laureano, Maria João Cardoso Vieira Machado and Luís Miguel Da Silva Laureano
The purpose of this paper is to characterize the level of maturity of management accounting in Portuguese industrial SMEs. Specifically, the study classifies firms using Kaplan’s Four-Stage model; and introduces a new model to classify them better. The research design is exploratory. The data were collected through interviews with those responsible for management accounting in 58 Portuguese industrial SMEs. The analysis used descriptive and inferential statistics and a cluster analysis was performed to classify firms according to their management accounting characteristics. The results showed that all the SMEs belong to stage 2 of Kaplan’s model and that it is possible to classify them in one of the four stages of the proposed new model. Moreover, the type of firm and the source of capital have no influence on the level of maturity, although larger firms tend to have greater maturity. The study offers evidence that there is a clear difference between management accounting knowledge and practices, which should motivate top management to focus on the continuous training of firm employees on the latest developments in management accounting methods.