1 Management Accounting 15 Management Accounting and Decision-Making Management accounting writers tend to present management accounting as a loosely connected set of decision making tools. Although the various textbooks on management accounting make no attempt to develop an integrated theory, there is a high degree of consistency and standardization in methodology of presentation. In this chapter, the concepts and assumptions which form the basis of management accounting will be formulated in a comprehensive management accounting decision model. The formulation of theory in terms of conceptual models is a common practice. Virtually all textbooks in business administration use some type of conceptual framework or model to integrate the fundamentals being presented. In economic theory, there are conceptual models of the firm, markets, and the economy. In management courses, there are models of organizational structure and managerial functions. In marketing, there are models of marketing decision making and channels of distribution. Even in financial accounting, models of financial statements are used as a framework for teaching the fundamentals of basic financial accounting. The model, A = L + C, is very effective in conveying an understanding of accounting. Management accounting texts are based on a very specific model of the business enterprise. For example, all texts assume that the business which is likely to use management accounting is a manufacturing business. Also, there is unanimity in assuming that the behavior of variable costs within a relevant range tends to be linear. The consequence of assuming that variable costs vary directly with volume is a classification of cost into fixed and variable. A description of the managerial accounting perspective of management and the business enterprise will help put in focus the subject matter to be presented in later chapters.
2 16 CHAPTER TWO Management Accounting and Decision-Making The Management Accounting Perspective of the Business Enterprise The management accounting view of business may be divided into two broad categories: (1) basic features and (2) basic assumptions. Basic Features The business firm or enterprise is an organizational structure in which the basic activities are departmentalized as line and staff. There are three primary line functions: marketing, production, and finance. The organization is run or controlled by individuals collectively called management. The staff or advisory functions include accounting, personnel, and purchasing and receiving. The organization has a communication or reporting system (e.g. budgeting) to coordinate the interaction of the various staff and line departmental functions. The environment in which the organization operates includes investors, suppliers, governments (state and federal), bankers, accountants, lawyers, competitors, etc.) The organizational aspect of the business firm is illustrated in Figure 2.1. This descriptive model shows that there are different levels of management. A commonly used approach is to classify management into three levels: Top management, middle management, and lower level management. The significance of a hierarchy of management is that decision making occurs at three levels. Basic Assumptions in Management Accounting The framework of management accounting is based on a number of implied assumptions. Although no single work has attempted to identify all of the assumptions, Figure 2.1 Conventional Organizational Chart Board of Directors President Vice-President Marketing Vice-President Production Vice-President Finance Manager Cutting Dept Manager Finishing Dept. Manager Finishing Dept. Accounting Department Income Statement Balance Sheet
3 Management Accounting 17 the major assumptions will be detailed below. Five categories of assumptions will be presented: 1. Basic goals 2. Role of management 3. Nature of Decision making 4. Role of the accounting department 5. Nature of accounting information Basic Goal Assumptions - The basic goals or objectives the business enterprise may be multiple. For example, the goal may be to maximize net income. Other goals could be to maximize sales, ROI, or earnings per share. Management accounting does not require a specific of type of goal. However, whatever form the goal takes, management will at all times try to achieve a satisfactory level of profit. A less than satisfactory level of profit may portend a change in management. Role of Management Assumptions - The success of the business depends primarily upon the skill and abilities of management which skills can vary widely among different managers. The business is not completely at the mercy of market forces. Management can through its actions (decisions) influence and control events within limits. In order to achieve desired results, management makes use of specific planning and control concepts and techniques. Planning and control techniques which management may use include business budgeting, cost volume profit analysis, incremental analysis, flexible budgeting, segmental contribution reporting, inventory models, and capital budgeting models. Management, in order to improve decision making and operating results, will evaluate performance through the use of flexible budgets and variance analysis. Decision making Assumptions A critical managerial function is decisionmaking. Decisions which management must make may be classified as marketing, production, and financial. Decisions may also be classified as strategic and tactical and long run and short run. A primary objective of decision making is to achieve optimum utilization of the business s capital or resources. Effective decision making requires relevant information and special analysis of data. Accounting Department Assumptions The accounting department is a primary source of information necessary in making decisions. The accounting department is expected to provide information to all levels of management. Management will consider the accounting department capable of providing data useful in making marketing, production, and financial decisions. Nature of Accounting Information - In order for the accounting department to make meaningful analysis of data, it is necessary to distinguish between fixed and variable costs and other types of costs that are not important in the recording of business transactions. Some but not all of the information needed by management can be provided from financial statements and historical accounting records. In addition to historical data, management will expect the management accountant to provide other types of data, such as estimates, forecasts, future data, and standards. Each specific
4 18 CHAPTER TWO Management Accounting and Decision-Making managerial technique requires an identifiable type of information. The accounting department will be expected to provide the information required by a specific tool. In order for the accounting department to make many types of analysis, a separation of costs into fixed and variable will be required. The management accountant need not provide information beyond the relevant range of activity. Implications of the Basic Assumptions The assumption that there are three types of decisions,( marketing, production, and financial) requires that management identify the specific decisions under each category. The identification of specific decisions is critical because only then can the appropriate managerial accounting technique be properly used. Some typical management decisions of a manufacturing business include: Marketing Production Financial Pricing Units of equipment Issue of bonds Sales forecast Factory workers wages Issue of stock Number of sales people Overtime, second shift Bank loan Sales people compensation Replacement of equipment Retirement of bonds Number of products Inventory levels Dividends Advertising Order size Investment in securities Credit Suppliers An understanding of financial statements is critical to the ability of management to make good decisions. Financial statements, although prepared by accountants, are actually created by management through the implementation of decisions. The historical data from which accountants prepare financial statements result from actual management decisions. The reader and user of financial statements is not primarily the accountant but management. From a management accounting point of view, it is management rather than accountants that needs to have the greater understanding of financial statements. The income statement and the balance sheet can be viewed as a descriptive model for decision making. Financial statements reflect success or lack of success in making decisions. Management can be deemed successful when the desired income has been attained and financial position is considered sound. To achieve managerial success management must manage successfully the assets, liabilities, capital, revenue and expenses. Financial statements, then, serve as a ready and convenient check list of decision making areas. The basic balance sheet equation, of course, is A = L + C. A management accounting interpretation is that the assets or resources come from the creditors (liabilities) and the owners (capital). It is management responsibilities to manage both sides of the equation. That is, management must make decisions about both the resources (assets) and the sources of the assets (liabilities and capital). Each item on the balance sheet is an area of management. Stated differently each item on financial statements represents a critical area sensitive to mismanagement.
5 Management Accounting 19 Cash, accounts receivable, inventory, fixed assets, accounts payable, etc. can be too large or too small. Given this fact, then, for each item there must be the right amount or optimum. It is management s responsibility to make the best decision possible regarding each item on the financial statements. Gross mismanagement of any single item could either result in the failure of the business or the downfall of management. Following are some examples of decisions associated with specific financial statement items: Balance Sheet Items Cash Accounts receivable Inventory Fixed asset Bonds payable Income Statement Items Sales Salesmen compensation Advertising Decision Minimum level Credit terms Order size Capacity size Amount and interest rate Price, number of products, number of sales people Salaries and commission rate Media, advertising budget The statement that the management accountant will be required to furnish information not of a historical nature means that the accountant will have to deal with planned and estimated or future data. Furthermore, much of this data will be not be found in the historical data bank from which the accountant prepares financial statements. The management accountant may be required to do analysis requiring data of an economic nature. For example, analysis of pricing may require data about the company s demand curve. Labor cost analysis may require estimating the productivity of labor relative to various wage rates. Decision-making in Management Accounting In management accounting, decision making may be simply defined as choosing a course of action from among alternatives. If there are no alternatives, then no decision is required. A basis assumption is that the best decision is the one that involves the most revenue or the least amount of cost. The task of management with the help of the management accountant is to find the best alternative. The process of making decisions is generally considered to involve the following steps: 1 Identify the various alternatives for a given type of decision. 2. Obtain the necessary data necessary to evaluate the various alternatives. 3. Analyze and determine the consequences of each alternative. 4. Select the alternative that appears to best achieve the desired goals or objectives. 5. Implement the chosen alternative. 6. At an appropriate time, evaluate the results of the decisions against standards or other desired results.
6 20 CHAPTER TWO Management Accounting and Decision-Making From the descriptive model of the basic features and assumptions of the management accounting perspective of business, it is easy to recognize that decision making is the focal point of management accounting. The concept of decision making is a complex subject with a vast amount of management literature behind it. How businessmen make decisions has been intensively studied. In management accounting, it is useful to classify decisions as: 1. Strategic and tactical 2. Short run and long-run Strategic and Tactical Decisions In management accounting, the objective is not necessarily to make the best decision but to make a good decision. Because of complex interacting relationships, it is very difficult, even if possible, to determine the best decision. Management decision making is highly subjective. Whether a decision is good or acceptable depends on the goals and objectives of management. Consequently, a prerequisite to decision making is that management have set the organization s goals and objectives. For example, management must decide strategic objectives such as the company s product line, pricing strategy, quality of product, willingness to assume risk, and profit objective. In setting goals and objectives, it is useful to distinguish between strategic and tactical decisions. Strategic decisions are broad based, qualitative type of decisions which include or reflect goals and objectives. Strategic decisions are non quantitative in nature. Strategic decisions are based on the subjective thinking of management concerning goals and objectives. Tactical decisions are quantitative executable decisions which result directly from the strategic decisions. The distinction between strategic and tactical is important in management accounting because the techniques of management accounting pertain primarily to tactical decisions. Management accounting does not typically provide techniques for assisting in making strategic decisions. Examples of strategic decisions and tactical decisions from a management accounting point of view include: Decision items Strategic Decisions Tactical Decisions Cash Maintain minimum level without excessive risk Specific level of cash Accounts receivable Sell on credit Specific credit terms Inventory Maintain safety stock Specific level of inventory Price Be volume dealer by Specific price setting price lower than competition Once a strategic decision has been made, then a specific management tool can be used to aid in making the tactical decision. For example, if the strategic decision has been made to avoid stock outs, then a safety stock model may be used to determine the desired level of inventory.
7 Management Accounting 21 The classification of decisions as strategic and tactical logically results in thinking about decisions as qualitative and quantitative. In management accounting, the approach to decision making is basically quantitative. Management accounting deals with those decisions that require quantitative data. In a technical sense, management accounting consists of mathematical techniques or decision models that assist management in making quantitative type decisions. Examples of quantitative decisions include: Decision Price Inventory order size Purchase of new equipment Credit terms Sales people compensation Quantitative Criterion Maximum income Minimum total inventory cost Lowest operating costs Maximum net income/sales Minimum total compensation Short run Versus Long-run Decision making The decision making process is complicated somewhat by the fact that the horizon for making decisions may be for the short run or long run. The choice between the short run or the long run is particularly critical concerning the setting of profitability objectives. A fact of the real business world is that not all companies pursue the same measures of success. Profitability objectives which management might choose to maximize include: 1. Net income 2. Sales 3. Return on total assets 4. Return on total equity 5. Earnings per share The decision making process is, consequently, affected by the profitability objective and the choice of the long-run versus the short-run. If the objective is to maximize sales, then the method of financing a new plant is not immediately important. However, if the objective is to maximize short run net income, then management might decide to issue stock rather than bonds to avoid interest expense. In the short run, profits might suffer from expenditures for preventive maintenance or research and development. In the long run, the company s profit might be greater because of preventive maintenance or research and development. Although the interests of management and the organization may be presumed to coincide, the possibility of making decisions for the short run may cause a conflict in interests. An individual manager planning to make a career or job change might have a tendency to make decisions that maximize profitability in the short run. The motivation for pursuing short run profits may be to create a favorable resume. The tools in management accounting such as C-V-P analysis, variance analysis, budgeting, and incremental analysis are not designed to deal with long range objectives and decision. The only tools that looks forward to more than one year
8 22 CHAPTER TWO Management Accounting and Decision-Making are the capital budgeting models discussed in chapter 12. Consequently, the results obtained from using management accounting tools should be interpreted as benefits for the short run, and not necessarily the long-run. Hopefully, decisions which clearly benefit the short run will also benefit the long run. Nevertheless, it is important for the management accountant, as well as management, to beware of possible conflicts between short run and long run planning and decision making. Management Accounting Decision Models Management accounting consists of a set of tools that have been proven to be useful in making decisions involving revenue and cost data. Even though many of the techniques appear to be simplistic in nature, they have proven to be of considerable value. A comprehensive list of the tools and their mathematical nature which constitute management accounting appears in Appendix C of this book. The techniques which are also listed in Figure 2.2 are all based on mathematical equations or mathematical relationships. All of the techniques may be regarded as mathematical decision making models. For example, the foundation of C-V-P analysis is the equation: I = P(Q) V(Q) - F. The mathematical models which form the foundation of every tool are summarized in Appendix C to this book. The approach described above concerning the use of financial statements as a check list to identify decision making areas may also be used to identify the appropriate management accounting technique. For every item on financial statements, there is one or more appropriate management accounting technique. The following illustrates the association of management accounting tools with specific financial statement items. Financial Statement Items Balance Sheet: Cash Accounts receivable Inventory Fixed assets Income Statement: Sales Expenses Net income Management Accounting Tools Cash budget Capital budgeting models EOQ models, Safety stock model Incremental Analysis, Capital budgeting C-V-P analysis, Segmental reporting C-V-P analysis, Direct costing
9 Management Accounting 23 Figure 2.2 Management Accounting Tools 1. Comprehensive business budgeting 2. Flexible budgeting and variance analysis 3. Variance analysis 4. Capital budgeting 5. Keep or replace Additional volume of business Credit analysis Demand analysis Sales people compensation analysis Capacity analysis 6. Cost-volume-profit analysis 7. Cost behavior analysis 8. Return on investment analysis 9. Economic order quantity analysis 10. Safety stock/lead time analysis 11. Segmental reporting analysis Decision making and Required Information The assumption that management will use management accounting tools in making decisions places a burden on the management accountant. Each tool requires special information. The management accountant will be asked to provide the specialized information needed. Management accounting texts have traditionally emphasized the mechanics of techniques with little emphasis on how to obtain the necessary data. In many cases, the inability to obtain the required information has rendered a particular technique useless. The following illustrates the kind of information required for certain selected tools: Tools Flexible budget Variance analysis EOQ models Capital budgeting models Cost volume profit analysis Required Information Variable cost rates Standard costs Purchasing cost, carrying cost Opportunity cost, escapable costs Future cash inflows, future cash outflows Variable cost percentage, fixed cost, desired income
10 24 CHAPTER TWO Management Accounting and Decision-Making Comprehensive Management Accounting Decision Model As the above discussion should make clear, decision making is a complex network of interrelated decision variables. Management can face an overwhelming task if it tries to identify every variable and minute decision relationship. One approach to dealing with complexity is the development of models, both mathematical and descriptive for the purpose of simulating only the relevant or more important variables. Management accounting is, therefore, one approach to simplifying complex relationships by dealing with key variables and models based on restricting assumptions. The decision making process discussed in this chapter leads to the conclusion from a management accounting perspective that there is a connecting link between the following: 1. Financial statement items 2. Strategic and tactical decisions 3. Management accounting techniques 4. Decision making information The relationships among these elements may be summarized by the following diagram: Financial Statement Items Strategic Decisions Tactical Decisions Tools Management Accounting Information These relationship as discussed may be used to develop a comprehensive management accounting decision model for a manufacturing business. The complete version of this model as it applies to a manufacturing firm from a management accounting viewpoint is illustrated in the appendix to this chapter as Exhibits I, II, and III. Summary From a management accounting point of view the primary purpose of management is to make decisions that may be classified as marketing, production, and financial. The tactical decisions which must be preceded by strategic decisions provide the historical data from which the accountant prepares financial statements. In addition to being statements summarizing historical transactions, financial statements may be regarded as a descriptive model for decision making. Every item or element on the financial statements is the result of a decision or decisions. For each decision, there exists a management accounting tool that may be used to make a good decision. However, the management accounting tools can be used only if the management accountant is successful in providing the information demanded by the particular tool.
11 Management Accounting 25 Appendix: Management Accounting Decision-Making Model Exhibit 1 Balance Sheet Model Strategic Decisions Tactical Decisions Management Accounting Tool Required Information Assets Cash Risk Minimum balance Amount needed Cash budget Cash inflows Cash outflows Accounts receivable Credit Credit terms Additional sales Additional expenses Inventory Materials Finished Goods Risk Quality Risk Order size, no. of orders Supplier Safety stock EOQ model Safety models Purchasing cost Carrying cost Demand Probability distributions Fixed Assets Capacity Purchase/ lease Depreciation methods Rate of return Capital budgeting Cash inflows/outflows Present value tables Investments Risk/ diversification Number of shares Capital budgeting Potential dividends / earnings Liabilities Accounts payable Leverage Amount to pay/ not pay Cost analysis Interest rate Terms of credit Notes payable Leverage Short-term vs. long-term Amount borrow/ repay Interest rate/ lender ROI analysis Interest rate Cost of capital Bonds payable Leverage Short-term versus long-term Shares to issue Shares to retire ROI analysis Cost of capital analysis Interest rate Cost of capital ROI data Stockholders Equity Common stock Leverage / risk Shares to issue Amount needed ROI analysis Cost of capital analysis Cost of capital Cost of issuing ROI data Retained earnings Internal financing Risk Amount of dividend Type of dividend Cost of capital analysis ROI data Cost of capital
12 26 CHAPTER TWO Management Accounting and Decision-Making Exhibit 2 Income Statement Model Strategic Decisions Tactical Decisions Management Accounting Tool Required Information Sales Market share Growth Price Number of territories Credit Additional volume Incremental analysis C-V-P analysis Cost behavior Demand curve Fixed & variable costs Cost of goods sold Beginning inventory Cost of goods mfd. Ending inventory (See exhibit 3) Risk Amount of safety stock EOQ model Safety stock model Probability of stock out Purchasing costs Carrying costs Gross profit Expenses Selling Sales people salaries Commissions Sales people training Travel Advertising Packaging Bad debts Sales office rentals Office operating Home office Motivation/turnover Motivation/turnover Risk/volume Risk Salary Number of sales people Commission rate Number of new people Amount of advertising Bad debt estimate Incremental analysis C-V-P analysis Price of product Calls per month Fixed and variable costs Sales forecast Market potential Bad debt probability General and Admin. Executive salaries Secretaries Supplies Depreciation Travel Effective service Turnover Amounts of salaries C-V-P analysis Fixed and variable costs Net income
13 Management Accounting 27 Exhibit 3 Cost of Goods Manufactured Model Strategic Decisions Tactical Decisions Management Accounting Tool Required Information Materials Used Materials (BI) Safety stock model Lead time Demand Material Purchases Quality Standards Budgeted production Suppliers Order size Number of orders Sales forecast Budgeted production EOQ model Carrying cost Purchasing cost Demand Freight-in Suppliers Quantity discount schedule List prices Direct labor Productivity Motivation Capacity Industry reputation Wage rate Number of workers Second shift/ overtime New equipment Business budgeting C-V-P analysis Fixed and variable costs Relevant costs Wage rates Productivity rates Variable manufacturing overhead Capacity Keep or replace Wage rates Variable cost rates Cost factors Physical factors Fixed Manufacturing Overhead Fixed direct labor Capacity Keep or replace C-V-P analysis Fixed and variable product cost Utilities Capacity Keep or replace Fixed and variable product cost Production planning Purchasing & receiving Factory insurance Depreciation, equipment Deprecation, building Capacity Fixed and variable product cost Capacity Fixed and variable product cost Capacity Fixed and variable product cost Capacity Keep or replace Fixed and variable product cost Capacity Fixed and variable product cost Factory supplies Capacity Fixed and variable product cost
14 28 CHAPTER TWO Management Accounting and Decision-Making Q. 2.1 List four examples of strategic decisions. Q. 2.2 List six examples of tactical decisions. Q. 2.3 What type of financial goals may management set for the business? Q. 2.4 What is the primary role of management in a business from a management accounting point of view? Q. 2.5 In what different ways may decisions be classified? Q. 2.6 What kinds of information can the management accountant be expected to provide to management? Q. 2.7 Explain how financial statements can be used to identify the decisions that management is required to make. Q. 2.8 Management accounting consists of a set of tools. For each of the following tools list the basic information required. 1. Business Budgeting 2. Cost-volume-profit analysis 3. Flexible budgeting 4. Return on investment analysis 5. Segmental contribution income statements 6. Economic order quantity model 7.
15 Management Accounting 29 Exercise: 2.1 Strategic and Tactical Decisions For each item listed below, indicate (4) whether that decision is primarily strategic in nature or primarily tactical in nature. Classifying Management Decisions Strategic Decision Tactical Decision 1 Management has decided to sell on credit. 2 Management has decided to keep the cash balance as low as possible. 3 Management has set a minimum balance of $100,000 for the cash account. 4 Management has decided to keep the turnover ratio of management as low as possible. 5 Management has decided for this quarter that an inventory turnover ratio of 12 is desirable. 6 Management has decided to determine the correct order size by use of an EOQ model. 7 Management for the current quarter set the safety stock of raw materials at 1,000 units. 8 Management has decided to use internal financing as a means of expending the business. 9 Management has decided to issue $10,000,000 in 10 year bonds. 10 Management has decided it wants to be a high volume seller by setting price to be the lowest in the industry. 11 Management for the current quarter set price at $ Management has decided to compensate sales people with an above industry average commission rate. 13 Management for the current quarter set the sales people commission rate at 10%. 14 Management has decided to motivate factory workers with a wage rate that is above the industry average. 15 Management has decided that the current quarter wage rate should be $15 per hour.
16 30 CHAPTER TWO Management Accounting and Decision-Making Exercise 2.2 In the left hand column is a list of decisions. In the right hand column is a list of different types of information. For each decision in the left hand column, identify from the right hand column the type of information that would be helpful in making that decision. Decision-making Information Decision Helpful information Types of Information 1. Increase in price A. Fixed expenses 2. Increase in advertising B. Variable cost rates 3. Increase in material order size C. Demand curve 4. Purchase of new plant and equipment D. Carrying cost of materials 5. Addition of a new territory E. Purchasing cost of materials 6. Closing of a territory F. Maximum capacity required 7. Increase in credit terms G. Calls per month-sales people 8. Replacement of old equipment H. Escapable expenses 9. Increase in sales people commission rate I. Inescapable expenses 10. Issue of bonds J. Cost of capital K. Direct costs L. Indirect costs M. Price of product N. Quantity discount schedule O. Cost of equipment- different suppliers
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