Nothing is standard: the transformation of standard costing under state policy in the USSR (1930-1934)

Marina Sidorova, Karen McBride, Dmitry Nazarov

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In the 1930s, active industrialization of the economy in the United Soviet Socialist Republic was impossible without using modern management techniques and accounting methods. To increase the manageability of industrial enterprises, attempts to introduce standard costing, imported from the United States, were undertaken. Previously called progressive and useful, after the policy of the Communist Party changed, standard costing was identified as a calculative technique that did not correspond to the goals of the socialist state. Soviet researchers formulated the principles of normative cost accounting, based on standard costing. The method of this new version was greatly simplified and lost its analytical focus. The paper investigates the influence of state policy on the transformation of standard costing methodology during the construction of the Socialist economy. The authors contribute to previous literature by focusing on the periodic press, professional societies, and educational institutions being used as tools of political power to put pressure on accounting theory and practice.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)47-64
Number of pages18
JournalAccounting Historians Journal
Issue number1
Early online date4 Mar 2021
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2021


  • Accounting history
  • standard costing
  • normative cost accounting
  • state policy
  • USSR


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