Enhancing management accounting for servitization and service business innovation


New service businesses are emerging in all the industries. Especially, manufacturing companies are increasingly interested and currently investing in their service offerings, that is ranging from after sales and business support to training and upgrading services for their customers and from spare parts supply to long-term service agreement contracts. A substantial part of the revenues of the manufacturers currently stems outside the physical product sales and this trend is furthermore driven by the full exploitation of the potential of digital technologies in transforming business environments (Industry 4.0). New business models and new management accounting practices are required from manufacturers to face and manage this rapid transformation. Further, the division of tasks between the manufacturers, the customers and third-party service providers are challenged in many respects. Managing networks (manufacturers, customers and other service providers) requires rethinking of management accounting in supporting the service business beyond the organizational boundaries. New approaches are crucial for releasing the service business potential and to manage the performance and profitability of the parties involved. Thus, most of the companies are struggling in identifying and introducing innovation in management accounting to support these transformations.  


In dealing with these issues in manufacturing settings, the concept of servitization has been introduced and studied in these last decades: servitization is a development of manufacturing firms in terms of “transformational processes whereby a company shifts from a product-centric to a service-centric business model and logic” (Kowalkowski et al., 2017). The servitization process, has been first introduced by Vandermerwe and Rada (1988) referring to the trend related to “the increased offering of fuller market packages or ‘bundles’ of customer focussed combinations of goods, services, support, selfservice and knowledge in order to add value to core corporate offerings”. The diffusion of new technologies and the new opportunities arising from their application have boosted the relevance of “service” far beyond the increase of the weight of “service sectors” in the overall economy (Lay et al., 2010). 


In order to support the service business innovation of the manufacturers (servitization, service infusion, industrial services, product-service systems), there are several critical aspects to be taken into consideration. First, different levels of service innovation across the customer industries in different regions need to be enhanced and monitored. This requires new management accounting practices (for instance financial and non-financial indicators) for the manufacturers. Second, the value is increasingly generated during the life-cycle of the products, based on the collected information about those products, and their relations/connections to their use contexts. Third, the management accounting needs to be re-thought to make it fit the new business models, e.g. to manage the product fleets considering products in use at the customers (measuring the value-in-use), to increase customer value (requirements of the customers under new circumstances) and to enhance service operations (featuring new capabilities). Despite their practical relevance, these aspects and many other related topics have not been sufficiently addressed in the literature. 
We specifically encourage papers on cost and performance management intended to foster the integration of internal management accounting with innovations in manufacturing and service business processes, such as design and use of management and cost accounting, business analytics, management control, and performance management systems in all functional domains of the organization, the use in combination with advanced manufacturing and service, and the use within customer-supplier and inter-organizational networks. The effects on management accounting of digital technologies and service orientation of manufacturing, i.e. Industry 4.0, is furthermore appreciated. 


We welcome contributions that address (but are not limited to) the following topics:

  • The role of management control and performance management systems in enhancing servitization, innovation and new ventures; 

  • Management accounting and control aspects and support of new business models; 

  • The role of management accounting, control and performance management systems in manufacturing and service contexts characterized by digital technologies; 

  • Performance metrics, management accounting and control in Industry 4.0. 

  • The roles and implications of business analytics and management accounting and control techniques in e-commerce and online business models; 

  • The use of management accounting and control systems in R&D, Supply Chain Management, (service) production, and the marketing and sales function; 

  • The value generation and distribution process in servitization; 

  • The use of management accounting and control systems in relation to organizational behavioral change, human resource management, and knowledge management; 

  • Methodological advances and novelties in researching the operational processes of manufacturing and service organizations in relation with management accounting; 

  • New sources, contents and units of analysis of accounting information in service-oriented business (i.e. real time monitoring and life-cycle costing); 

  • The role of accountants, business controllers and other experts in the service-oriented business innovation; 

  • The role of management accounting, control and performance management systems in Networks of manufacturers, customers and service provider.


The contextualization of all the aforementioned topics with respect to changes of management control of (inter)organizational raised to cope with the consequences of COVID-19 crisis is welcome. How management accounting tools and practices are useful in light of the COVID-19 push towards the digital transformation and business model innovation towards service business. 

This list of topics is not exhaustive, but a key point is that papers should bring insight into the various aspects of social impact as they are relevant both to discrete sectors, and across sectors.   

A variety of theoretical and empirical perspectives is encouraged by the Guest Editors, although research engaged with practice is highly encouraged. While we have no wish to prescribe research methods and theories, given the journal outlet we are seeking those which take a qualitative research approach. 

This Special Issue is launched and linked with the XV EIASM Manufacturing & Service Accounting Research Conference (MSAR) to be held in Pisa on 29-30 June, 1 July 2022, although the participation/presentation of paper at the workshop IS NOT a requirement for the submission. 



  • Deadline for submission of papers to QRAM: 31 October 2022 

  • Expected Publication of the Special Issue: 2023 

  • Manuscripts should be prepared and submitted in accordance with QRAM author guidelines and is subject to QRAM’s regular double-blind review process. All submissions must be made via QRAM’s online system 

  • Please specify that your submission is to the special issue on ‘‘Enhancing management accounting for servitization and service business innovation’’ 

  • Enquiries and expressions of interest to any of the guest editors are welcomed. 


Guest Editors

Lino Cinquini, [email protected] (Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna, Pisa, IT) 

Andrea Tenucci, [email protected] (Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna, Pisa, IT) 



Kowalkowski, C., Gebauer, H., Kamp, B., Parry, G. (2017) Servitization and deservitization. Overview, concepts, and definitions. Industrial Marketing Management, 60, 4-10. 

Lay, G., Copani, G., Jäger, A., Biege, S. (2010) The relevance of service in European manufacturing industries. Journal of Service Management, 21(5), 715-726. 

Vandermerwe, S., Rada, J. (1988) Servitization of business. European Management Journal, 6(4), 314-324.