“Sweet 16: We are slowly getting out of puberty – not fully grown up yet, but we are on our way.” Utz Schäffer, director of the Institute of Management Accounting and Control (IMC), was extremely pleased with this years’ outcome of the Annual Conference for Management Accounting Research (ACMAR) at WHU – Otto Beisheim School of Management. The 16th ACMAR once again turned out as an exceptionally inspiring conference. For the first time, the conference was hosted by three senior professors: Professor Dr. Marko Reimer, Professor Dr. Utz Schäffer, and Professor Dr. Dr. h.c. Jürgen Weber welcomed about 130 professors, researchers, and doctoral students from around the globe to the WHU campus in Vallendar.
Compared to previous years, paper submissions for the ACMAR increased by 25%, about 50% of the registrations deriving from outside German language area, while the participation numbers remained stable. “For us, it is important to have an informal atmosphere, encouraging dialog without academic hierarchy”, Utz Schäffer emphasized. Featuring three keynote speeches, parallel sessions, roundtable sessions, and a doctoral colloquium, the conference provided an ideal platform for the community to discuss recent management accounting research.
The organizers did not disappoint the participants when promising three exciting keynote speeches: Wim Van der Stede (London School of Economics and Political Science), Stefan Schnell (Senior Vice President Corporate Controlling BASF SE), and Thomas Ahrens (United Arab Emirates University) each captivated the audience with different topics. While Wim Van der Stede spoke on the opportunities in management accounting research (“We have to be careful not to be too defensive. There is so much going on that seems to be waiting for our research. We have huge opportunities, let’s talk about them.”), Thomas Ahrens pointed out achievements and challenges in management control practices, brightening the academic atmosphere with some entertaining video clips when talking about targets. Representing corporate controlling, Stefan Schnell explained amazing developments in terms of digital transformation in finance at BASF. Stefan Schnell is leading BASF Group’s Controlling Community, along with driving digitalization under the umbrella of “Controlling 4.0”.
“I really enjoy the energy at ACMAR”, said Jakub Bejnarowicz, Associate Director of the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA), a sponsor of the ACMAR. “It is about networking and connecting. So many interesting projects have already evolved from this!”
The next ACMAR will take place in Vallendar on March 5 an 6, 2020.