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EnIESEG School of Management ( IÉSEG )

Class code :



Level Year Period Language of instruction 
Academic responsibilityD.HARRISON


A prior course in managerial accounting is required. This course presumes fundamental knowledge of financial and managerial accounting reporting and analytic methods as covered in principles level courses. Prior knowledge of variance reporting and costing methods are helpful. Without some background in "standard" accounting methods and reporting, understanding the methods, theory, intracacies, advantages and limitations of the new topics will be greatly compromised. Students with a quick mind for quantative work and appreciation for innovative solutions will be very successful in the course.

Learning outcomes

1. Know the theory, concepts, applications, and limitations of how theory of constraints methods are applied in lean accounting environments, including variable costing techniques. (Primary Learning Objective)
2. Be practiced in the overall methods of these areas.
3. Understand how capacity constraints and opportunity costs influence optimal decision outcomes.
4. Distinguish between relevant and irrelevant financial decision information.
5. Identify the differentiating characteristics of financial reporting, traditional managerial accounting methods, and TOC methods, including their advantages and limitations.
7. Understand the differences between absorption and variable cost reporting methods.
8. Further develop analytic, communication, and presentation skills.

Course description

This course develops a special topic within "Lean Accounting Methods." The course focuses on optimizing productivity (/ profitability) through constraint management methods. These methods, largely Goldratt's Theory of Constraints [TOC], have a large global following, although are not without its critics. It is a controversial area, making it all the more interesting, and relevant. TOC methods focus on direct action, with an emphasis on detecting and eliminating system constraints. Using a systematic, generally linear approach, TOC methods work toward firm optimization through constraint management and short-term decision modelling. TOC shifts, and in some cases entirely eliminates, traditional financial reporting conventions. For example, absorption costing is not only disregarded, but considered the “enemy” (incongruent with decision optimization). Elements of variance reporting, activity-based costing, standard costing, and product cost reporting are among other traditional accounting areas that are bypassed in favour throughput analyses. Traditional inventory valuation methods are turned upside down. Inventory is considered a liability, not an asset. Reports that do not directly emphasize variable costs, throughput, operating efficiency, and profit-maximizing results are simply dropped. The result reshapes financial information into relevant, lean-based reports, targeting essential decision elements, and leading toward strategic decision outcomes.

The essence of lean accounting and TOC methods is a philosophy that postulates that the following three questions drive successful firm operations: “(1) what to change, (2) what to change to, and (3) how to cause the change.” Managerial accounting reports that target these issues provide the foundation for effective firm management and profit maximizing results. This course explores the foundations of lean accounting and TOC, then works toward developing a set of corresponding decision frameworks, emphasizing targeted information, to facilitate answering those questions.

Class type

Class structure

Type of courseNumbers of hoursComments
Independent work
Reference manual 's readings2,00  
Independent study
Individual Project3,00  
Group Project13,00  
Face to face
Total student workload36,00  

Teaching methods

  • Case study
  • Presentation
  • Project work
  • Research


Type of controlDurationNumberPercentage break-down
Continuous assessment
Continuous assessment0,0006,00
Individual Project0,0007,00
Written Report0,00012,00
Group Project0,00026,00
Final Exam
Written exam0,00022,00
TOTAL     100,00

Recommended reading

  • Theory of Constraints: Selected Short Readings -

* This information is non-binding and can be subject to change
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