Making the Numbers Count: The Accountant as Change Agent on the World-Class Team, 2nd Edition (Hardback) book cover

Making the Numbers Count

The Accountant as Change Agent on the World-Class Team, 2nd Edition

By Brian H. Maskell

Productivity Press

243 pages | 33 B/W Illus.

Purchasing Options:$ = USD
Hardback: 9781420090604
pub: 2009-06-18

FREE Standard Shipping!


The first edition of Brian Maskell’s now classic work proved that when given the chance, accountants would prefer not to serve out their working days as number crunching automatons. With its energetic tone and common sense approach, the book inspired numbers people at all levels to become true allies in their companies’ lean revolutions. It encouraged new directions for both management and financial accounting, and helped provide impetus for the lean accounting movement that continues to find adherents in companies small and large today.

With the second edition of Making the Numbers Count: The Accountant as Change Agent on the World-Class Team, Maskell once again shows that the accountant’s first responsibility during a lean implementation is not to simply read the conventional bottom-line profit-and-loss results, but measure and reflect the processes that influence the bottom line. Once released from the chains of the ledger, the accountant is then free to establish performance measures that make a difference, empower others throughout the company to create customer value, eliminate waste, improve processes, and participate in a truly lean organization that is flexible and responsive enough to function optimally in turbulent and unpredictable times.

In these pages, Maskell provides the rationale, approaches, and tools needed to embrace a companywide allegiance to lean principles and practices. The book is updated throughout to reflect recent advances. Notably, it eliminates activity-based costing and management (ABC/M) in favor of the much more expedient value-stream accounting methods that have been tried and tested in diverse companies over the last ten years.

Like lean itself, this book will teach you to throw out what’s wasteful and improve upon that which has value. In this way, it turns accountants who once merely followed into powerful leading change agents.

Table of Contents

The Proactive Accountant

Manufacturing in the Twenty-First Century

Criticism of Accountants and Controllers

The Proactive Accountant

Attributes of a World-Class Management Accountant

Tools and Techniques

The Role of the Management Accountant

Shortcomings of Traditional Accounting Methods

History of Management Accounting

Problems with Management Accounting

Lack of Relevance

Cost Distortion


Incompatibility with Lean Principles

Inappropriate Links to the Financial Accounts

Lean Manufacturing

What Is Real Manufacturing?

The Five Critical Issues of Lean Manufacturing

Issue 1: Quality

Issue 2: Just-in-Time Manufacturing

Issue 3: World-Class People

Issue 4: Flexibility

Issue 5: Value to the Customer

Agile Manufacturing

Simplification of Accounting Systems

Aspects of Traditional Accounting Systems

Why Are Complex Systems Needed?

The Lean Manufacturer

New Accounting Goals

A Four-Stage Approach to Simplification

Value-Stream Accounting

How Does Value-Stream Accounting Work?

Plain-English Income Statements

Financial Benefits of Lean Improvement

Product Costing

Value-Added Management

What Is a Process?

Value-Added Analysis

Process Mapping

Root-Cause Analysis

Process Improvement and Reengineering

Performance Measurement

Characteristics of the New Performance Measures

Examples of New Performance Measures at Work

Implementing New Performance Measurements

A New Approach to Product Design

What Is Wrong with the Traditional Design Approach?

Concurrent Engineering

Target Costing

Value Engineering

Life-Cycle Costing

Quality Function Deployment

Variety Effectiveness Analysis

Continuous Improvement

Implementing the New Approach to Accounting

Making the Changes

Implementing the Accounting Changes

What’s an Accountant to Do?

Interlude: Accounting Is Boring, but Controllership Is Not

Interlude: Bean Counters No More

South Central Bell

Automatic Feed Company


Accounting and Measurement Questionnaire



Each chapter concludes with a Summary & Questions

About the Author

Brian H. Maskell has more than 25 years' experience in manufacturing and distribution industry. He has held a variety of management positions from the shop-floor of an electronics company to Manager of European Inventories for the Xerox Corporation to Vice President of Product Development and Customer Service of the Unitronix Corporation. Over the past ten years Mr. Maskell's consulting practice has taken him to many manufacturing and distribution companies in the United States, England, Mexico, Australia, South Africa, and Europe. He has assisted these companies in the implementation of advanced manufacturing techniques including lean and agile manufacturing methods, logistics and supply chain management, lean accounting, value-stream costing/management, new performance measurement, process re-engineering, enterprise information systems, and total quality management.

A sought after speaker, Brian Maskell is the author of Practical Lean Accounting (2004), Performance Measurement for World Class Manufacturing (1991), Software and the Agile Manufacturer (1993), New Performance Measures (1994), and the software product Putting Performance Measurement to Work (1999) from Productivity Press. Mr. Maskell’s works address the needs of manufacturers, distributors, healthcare, insurance companies, banks, and service industries, as they move into the increasingly competitive 21st century. Mr. Maskell conducts seminars and workshops around the world on such subjects as Lean Accounting, the Lean Management System, Performance Measurement for World Class Manufacturing, Lean Manufacturing, Software and the Agile Manufacturer, Value Stream Cost Management, and Agile Manufacturing.

Mr. Maskell has an engineering degree from the University of Sussex, England. He is certified with the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants in London, the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, and is a Fellow of the American Production and Inventory Control Society. He is the author of numerous articles and papers and regularly presents papers at national and international conferences.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Management Science
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Quality Control
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Industries / Manufacturing Industries