Publication Details

Funnell, W. N. (2006). National efficiency, military accounting and the business of war. Critical Perspectives on Accounting, 17 (6), 719-751.


Costly administrative failures during the South African War were shown by several official investigations to be associated with ineffective and deceptive accounting systems administered from the War Office. They were regarded also as symptomatic of a deterioration in the efficiency of British business and government. To retrieve Britain's greatness a movement of national efficiency sought to raise efficiency levels in all areas of British national life. Fundamental to the reforms that they advocated were a strong British empire and an efficient army. Thus, military administrators were urged to apply the methods of commerce to the business of war. Amongst the most innovative strategies to raise the commercial awareness and accounting expertise of army administrators were the Army Class at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) between 1906 and 1932 and the army cost accounting experiment (1919–1925) in which the LSE also played a role.



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