The volatility of both global and national markets has emerged in recent years. In response to the changes in the operating environment, organizations have been adopting various practices to ensure sustainable development by anticipating threats and managing risks. While many studies are focusing on the investigation of strategic adaptation to the volatile economic environment, there has been little research examining management accounting (MA) as a sustainable development strategy in times of economic turbulence. This study investigates the degree of variation in the use of MA practices induced by economic recession. Investigating the variations in management accounting practices in Russian organizations in 2000–2013 (pre-recession period) and 2014–2018 (economic recession), the authors explore the change across 54 MA tools split into operation, management, and strategy pillars. The contribution of this study to the literature involves the understanding of the use of particular MA tools across various types of organizations and industries before and during the economic recession, as well as discovering the intention to change the instruments in case the economic situation deteriorates. The survey of four types of organizations (micro, small, medium, and large) in five sectors (service, industry, trade, agriculture, and tourism) was conducted in seven territories of Russia differentiated on the level of their economic performance (well-performing, average, and declining). The survey revealed that, during the crisis, the respondents tend to drop using many of proactive sustainability-oriented MA tools and instead focused on achieving immediate and direct effects on sales, profits, and other performance parameters by employing less-sophisticated short-term MA instruments. The forecast of future application of MA tools in a falling economy revealed that, in an attempt to achieve durable and sustainable performance, the organizations of all types and sectors intended to focus on practices such as risk management variance analysis, rolling forecasts, payback, breakeven analysis, and activity-based management.
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