ABC as a multi-lens sustainability reporting system in smart cities

Loai Alsaid, Jean Claude Mutiganda

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There is a very short list of theoretical and empirical studies on the role of management accounting tools in the sustainability of smart cities. While the majority of these studies have addressed this role from the perspective of openness, participation, and hybridisation, others have addressed it in terms of economic, social, and environmental sustainability. Despite their early efforts often focusing on institutionalisation and governmentality processes, their analyses did not address how management accounting tools can be used to achieve sustainable goals, particularly in developing countries with a political and cultural character. This study aims to explore how an activity-based costing/ABC system is configured within urban development organisations to internalise cultural and political sustainability values at the smart city level. It applies a politico-cultural model and uses a case study approach from an Egyptian state-owned smart city enterprise. The findings reveal smart city culture and political/government compliance in the implementation of the ABC system, enabled by enterprise resource planning/ERP technology, within state-owned enterprises/SOEs. This system, seen as an emerging field, was created as a multi-lens reporting system on their political and cultural sustainability in smart cities. While political sustainability refers to SOEs’ compliance with the ABC system, cultural sustainability refers to the embodiment of national smart city values in their system implementation. This sustainability costing system of a political and cultural nature has also created recursive dynamics, exemplified by the powerful role of ERP-ABC reports in making participatory sustainability decisions at various organisational and governmental levels for smart cities.
Original languageEnglish
Article number9357
Number of pages20
Issue number12
Early online date9 Jun 2023
Publication statusPublished - 9 Jun 2023

Bibliographical note

This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (


  • smart cities
  • sustainability reporting
  • activity-based costing
  • culture values
  • compliance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences(all)


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