GRA 6232 Management Control

GRA 6232 Management Control

Course code: 
GRA 6232
Accounting and Operations Management
Course coordinator: 
Hanno Roberts
Course name in Norwegian: 
Management Control
Product category: 
MSc in Business - Accounting and Business Control
2023 Spring
Active status: 
Level of study: 
Teaching language: 
Course type: 
One semester

The management accounting or controller role has recently undergone drastic changes. The former “bean counter” has made room for the internal business consultant, acting as a translator of financial information into meaningful business scenarios for managerial decision making at senior and/or divisional or business-unit level.
The context of accounting has become one of flexible, decentralized organizations with a strong strategic and service orientation. The accounting toolkit itself has experienced similar changes, and now includes tools and approaches that explicitly incorporate competitive strategy arguments while adopting multiple levels of analysis. The active use of technology for analytical and reporting purposes has equally increased in importance, and is embedded in the various topical elements of this course.
This course addresses the knowledge and skills as necessary to fulfil a Controller or CFO role in organizations. It is related to the courses Project and Relationship Management (E2) and Advanced Management Accounting (P2) of the CIMA professional qualification as Chartered Global Management Accounting™.

Learning outcomes - Knowledge

After completing the course, students should have knowledge about:

  1. Management control; including financial and non-financial performance measurement, performance report generation and integration with responsibility centers, budget control and its behavioral consequences, and alternatives to budgeting as a control mechanism.
  2. Performance measurement and management; financial and non-financial metrics, analysis of performance reports, and the relationship between performance and organization design, notably with respect to team-based structures.
  3. Theoretical perspectives on control: the instrumental and functional perspective, the behavioral perspective, and the organisational perspective.
Learning outcomes - Skills

After completing the course, students should be able to:

  • Make decisions using accounting and control information
  • Manage projects and processes (people skills)
  • Use information systems and analytical technologies
  • Develop teamwork, time management, and group decision-making competences (Interpersonal skills)
  • Create and substantiate an analytic line-of-argument (argumentative skills)
General Competence

Reflective skills acquired are in the managerial awareness that numbers drive behaviour, and, vice versa, behaviour drives numbers. Furthermore, that the integration of financial and non-financial information requires professional integrity and an ethical stance towards business consequences and computational outcomes.

Course content

Topics covered include:

  • management control as a package of cultural, cybernetic, and administrative controls
  • organisation design as a management control vehicle
  • budgeting, forecasting, and 'beyond budgeting';
  • control and performance management of responsibility centres;
  • contemporary developments in management control;
  • F&A software systems and visual analytics as platforms for the CFO/Controller.
Teaching and learning activities

Computer-based tools: There is a consistent and continuous integration of computer-based tools across all course topical areas, both for analytical casework and decision support as for computational exercises and reporting scenarios in different business and competitive contexts (B2C, B2B, SMEs, and MNCs). Students can expect to perform most, if not all, coursework online, using various computer tools.

The course is designed into three streams - Theory, Tools, and Tradecraft - and is grouped in 4 clusters of 3 sessions each. The clusters cover the link between strategy & stakeholders and control, the link between organization design and control, performance measurement, and technology & interfaces. Every cluster will cover all three streams of Theory, Tools, and Tradecraft. An individual session is dedicated to either Theory, or Tools, or Tradecraft. The theory sessions provides alternative perspectives on control other than the instrumental tooling perspective. The tool sessions cover the practical instruments to exercise management control. The tradecraft sessions focus on immersion in the praxis of a CFO or Controller role. It features casework presentations by students, the in-class demonstration of the technology platforms of major financial software providers, and CFO/Controller guest speakers from practice.

Cases questions need to be answered and analytically supported, using relevant software and technology platforms. Cases focus on the integration of computational aspects and its qualitative managerial consequence, i.e., numbers drive behavior, and behavior drives numbers. Cases are purposely selected to reflect the uncertainty and complexity of managerial decision-making, requiring both interpretation and judgement as well as analytical prowess. Cases will change and be updated every repetition of the course.

Software tools
Software defined under the section "Teaching and learning activities".
Additional information

Please note that while attendance is not compulsory in all courses, it is the student’s own responsibility to obtain any information provided in class.

This is a course with continuous assessment (several exam components) and one final exam code. Each exam component is graded by using points on a scale from 0-100. The components will be weighted together according to the information in the course description in order to calculate the final letter grade for the examination code (course). Students who fail to participate in one/some/all exam elements will get a lower grade or may fail the course. You will find detailed information about the point system and the cut off points with reference to the letter grades when the course starts.

At resit, all exam components must, as a main rule, be retaken during next scheduled course.


All courses in the Masters programme will assume that students have fulfilled the admission requirements for the programme. In addition, courses in second, third and/or fourth semester can have specific prerequisites and will assume that students have followed normal study progression. For double degree and exchange students, please note that equivalent courses are accepted.


Deviations in teaching and exams may occur if external conditions or unforeseen events call for this.

Exam category: 
Form of assessment: 
Presentation and discussion
20 Minute(s)
Students will present their casework as a group for an audience of all class members and selected external professionals. The case discussion is moderated by the teacher.

The casework group composition will be made by the teacher.

The group grade for the casework will be individualized, based on a within-group peer evaluation that adjusts the group grade to an individual grade.
Exam code: 
GRA 62321
Grading scale: 
Point scale leading to ECTS letter grade
All components must, as a main rule, be retaken during next scheduled course
Exam category: 
Form of assessment: 
Written submission
Group (2 - 3)
1 Semester(s)
Term paper

Group composition will be based on student self-selection.

Further specifics on the what and how of the term paper will be included in the course outline/syllabus.
Exam code: 
GRA 62321
Grading scale: 
Point scale leading to ECTS letter grade
All components must, as a main rule, be retaken during next scheduled course
Type of Assessment: 
Continuous assessment
Grading scale: 
Total weight: 
Sum workload: 

A course of 1 ECTS credit corresponds to a workload of 26-30 hours. Therefore a course of 6 ECTS credits corresponds to a workload of at least 160 hours.