• The ‘beyond budgeting’ movement, which emerged in the 1990s, advocates that companies could improve their performance by abandoning budgeting altogether.
• The findings of this research are very different from the assertions of those who favour ‘beyond budgeting’ and who claim that managers are very dissatisfied with budgeting systems.
• Analysis of the survey data supported the long-held view that managers are likely to be more satisfied with budgets in relatively stable environments, especially those with a high degree of task certainty.
• Decentralisation might be attractive and it is essential for the ‘beyond budgeting’ theory to work in practice.
About 95% of financial managers thought that budgets are fairly, very or extremely important, especially for performance evaluation, control and planning.