Management accounting systems in venture capital-backed start-up companies

Aresu Simone, Rombi Luigi, Cardia Andrea

Management Accounting Systems (MAS) can help start-up companies to manage resource allocation and satisfy investors’ information needs. This study helps to investigate the main features of MAS adopted by Italian venture capital-backed start-up companies. Also, the study aims to analyse how venture capitalists monitor their investment through management accounting. Thirty semi-structured interviews were carried out to gather information from a corporate and an investor perspective.

Our results show that both start-up companies and investors consider MAS as useful to make conscious and target-oriented decisions. MAS are used by investors to monitor the investee’s performance and contribute in aligning goals’ time horizon. In addition, MAS help investors to develop a cooperative relationship with start-up companies and to provide business advices.

This study contributes to the agency-theory debate by showing that MAS help not only to reduce information asymmetries but also to foster a dialogue and to benefit from investors’ human capital.

Keywords: agency theory, information asymmetry, management accounting systems, start-up, venture capital.


Aresu, S., Rombi, L., Cardia, A.(2019). Management accounting systems in venture capital-backed start-up companies, Management Control, n.3, pp. 35-58. DOI: 10.3280/MACO2019-003003