Chapter 1

An approach by geographic areas of the diffusion processes of managerial practices

Chapter 2

An approach by point of interest: technique, branch, sector, company

Chapter 3

Disseminators of doctrine, authors and tenets of management


An Unknown Aspect of the History of Cost Calculation


    Université Paris-Sud
  • Yves LEVANT


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The TD ABC method appeared at the beginning of the 21st century, ten years after the ABC method. We may ask what differences there are between the two methods. While we can say that the TD ABC method can be called an equivalence method, we think it is worth investigating how and why such methods developed in the history of costing. There has been much research into costing history since the 19th century. The history of equivalence methods however has been greatly neglected. Our research aims to shed light on this matter with regard to France, paying particular attention to the period from 1880 to 1960.

If we apply the simple logic that costing methods developed according to economic need, we can see that there were some successive waves of innovation, at the crests of which can be found the equivalence methods. These appear to occur whenever businesses having recently adopted new costing techniques feel the need to simplify them. We have thus determined that the development of equivalence methods occurred at three levels.

The pendulum effect observed between the increasing complexity of the methods used and a move to simplify them by means of the principle of equivalences, makes us question whether this is not a natural trend, implicit in the function of costing, which has to find a balance between precision and operationality.

The full text in French is available here.