This study adopts a configurational approach that captures possible variables (strategy, structure, leadership and decision-making styles) and their relationships with management accounting systems (MAS) from an organizational life-cycle perspective. Using Miller and Friesen's life-cycle model (Miller, D., & Friesen, P. H. (1983). Successful and unsuccessful phases of the corporate life cycle, Organization Studies, 339-356; Miller, D., & Friesen, P. H. (1984). A longitudinal study of the corporate life cycle, Management Science, 1161-1183), a set of hypotheses were tested with data from mail survey and field studies of firms in the clothing and footwear industry. Results indicated that MAS formality changed to complement organizational characteristics across life-cycle stages. In uncovering how and why MAS formality changed during organizational development, our results indicate that it is growth firms that pay particular attention to increasing the formality of their MAS. Furthermore, between stages, it is the selection of management accounting tools that dominates the presentation of information in explaining the different MAS life-cycle stage designs. While based on cross-sectional data, the homogeneity of organizational configurations at each life-cycle stage does suggest that these results imply a longitudinal development of MAS.