Purpose - Two prior survey papers on the use and perceived merit of customer accounting (CA) practices, one in Australia and one in New Zealand (NZ), disclosed contrasting results with confusing elements. The purpose of this paper is to replicate and extend previous survey research in order to update and clarify our understanding of CA practices in NZ.
Design/methodology/approach - Within a contingency theory framework, a mail questionnaire survey is used to measure the use and perceived merit of CA practices in NZ and investigate their relationship with six contingent factors: competitive strategy, market orientation, environmental uncertainty, costing methodology, company size and industrial sector.
Findings - Mean CA usage and perceived merit scores in NZ in 2009 are much higher than was found in NZ in 2007 and similar to those found in Australia in 2002. A significant gulf between usage rates of historical and forward-looking CA measures is now found in NZ. There is strong evidence for a positive contingent relationship between the marketing concept of marketing management and both the use and perceived merit of historical CA measures. Also found is a significant positive relationship between the customer concept of marketing management and the use and perceived merit of customer profitability analysis at the individual customer level.
Research limitations/implications - The survey method used prevents follow-up questions and clarification of ambiguities, but the survey results do provide new insights and potential avenues for further research.
Originality/value - This survey provides researchers, teachers and firms using or considering using CA practices, with an improved understanding of current usage and perceived merit of CA practices in NZ companies.