The senior assessor s report aims to provide the following information: An indication of how to approach the examination question

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2 INFORMATION FOR CANDIDATES The senior assessor s report is written in order to provide candidates with feedback relating to the examination. It is designed as a tool for candidates for both those who have sat the examination and those who wish to use it as part of their revision for future examinations. Candidates are advised to refer to the Examination Techniques Guide (see the following linkhttp://www.cips.org/documents/study%20and%20qualify/examinationtechnique sguide%20oct09%20fv_1.pdf) as well as this senior assessor s report. The senior assessor s report aims to provide the following information: An indication of how to approach the examination question An indication of the points the answer should include and how marks are allocated An indication of candidate performance for the examination question APPENDIX A matrix for the examination is included as an appendix. It highlights the learning objectives of the unit content that each question is testing. The unit content guides are available to download at the following link: ADDITIONAL SOURCES OF INFORMATION The Supply Management magazine is a useful source of information and candidates are advised to include it in their reading during their study. Please see the following link to the Supply Management website L6-12/SA report/march

3 SECTION A Q1 Prepare a monthly cash flow forecast for the period 1st August to 31 st December showing month end cash positions. (25 marks) The question was designed to test candidates knowledge and understanding of the purpose and preparation of cash flow forecasts, and making the necessary required calculations. Candidates needed to apply this knowledge and understanding specifically to the Icarus Solutions case. Candidates should recognise the importance of a cash flow forecast, and be able to demonstrate how one is prepared, and also show each month end position, as required in the question. The answer should have focused on details of each month s income and expenditure, starting with the given overdraft of 102,500 at 31 st July which was identified in the case study, with details of the income and expenditure for the month of August, ending with a closing forecast balance at the bank for 31 st August. This process should then have been repeated for each month up to and including December. Candidates were given monthly sales, and they were required to be adjusted to each month s income, taking into account that credit terms were given as 60 days. Rent and business rates were given as annual amounts, and candidates were required to adjust these to show the quarterly and half yearly amounts due to be paid, and ensure they were shown in the correct month. Calculations were also required for the cost of living pay rise of 3.5%, and these additional amounts should have been added to the basis monthly salaries, which were shown in the case study. The calculation of the performance related bonus should also have been calculated, and added in to the cash flow for December. Candidates should also have identified in the case study that there was the possibility of a bad debt of 50,000 relating to sales invoiced in June, and this would have adversely affected forecast income. As well as the potential bad debt, there was also the problem of the cheque drawn in favour of the tax authorities for 155,000. This amount should not have been left out of the cash flow, and should have been included in the expenditure for the month of August, as the purpose of the cash forecast is to identify the forecast cash positions, which would then enable directors and management to review the situation, and take what actions would be required. Strong answers produced a cash forecast in the required format, unfortunately there were some weaker answers that just produced separate monthly figures relating to income and expenditure, ignoring the ongoing positions. There were some common errors with weaker answers, such as not taking into account the 60 day credit terms in calculating monthly forecast income, missing out the tax payment of 155,000 in August, and ignoring the possible 50,000 potential bad debt. There were also a number of calculation errors. These errors had a limiting effect on the level of marks that could be achieved for many candidates. L6-12/SA report/march

4 Candidates found this to be the easiest question in Section A, with the overall average mark scored being 16/25 with the majority of candidates achieving above or close to this average mark. Q2 (a) Q2 (b) Question 2 a) Explain how the services of factoring and invoice discounting organisations might be particularly helpful to a rapidly expanding company such as IC. Analyse the advantages and disadvantages of leasing as a means of financing business assets. (13 marks) (12 marks) Part (a) of the question required the candidate to explain the effective use of a specific source of short term finance provided by an outside organisation. Part (b) The question was designed to test the candidates ability to explain the effective use of a specific source of short term finance. Part (a) Unfortunately, factoring and invoice discounting seemed to be a topic where only a few candidates had a satisfactory understanding. Many candidates classified factoring and invoice discounting organisations as the same apart from the fact that a factoring company acted as the credit control department for the company. This is an acceptable point, but candidates did not specifically identify that in invoice discounting, debts are paid by the debtor to the company, not the finance organisation, and also that with invoice discounting the debtor is unaware that the invoices have been discounted by a finance organisation. Many candidates did identify that in factoring, the company would lose close contact with their debtor due to the fact that the factoring company was collecting the debts, and many also identified that the use of a factoring company is sometimes seen as a weakness in the company s financial position. Only one candidate mentioned that when a company is using a factoring or invoice discounting company, there would be a gap in income receivable of 1 or 2 months, depending upon terms and conditions, if the financial services ceased. Far too many weaker answers indicated that invoice discounting was the granting to their debtors an early settlement discount which implied that candidates did not understand this topic. Part (b) This part of the question was better answered than part (a). Many candidates identified some of the advantages and disadvantages of leasing assets, and also gave some good examples, some based on their own companies. Nearly all candidates identified ownership of asset remained with the lease company, maintenance was often incorporated as an integral part of the lease, and upgrading was also mentioned by many candidates. Some of the stronger answers also mentioned sale and lease back, again giving examples as well as the advantages and disadvantages. L6-12/SA report/march

5 Part (a) of this question was generally answered poorly, with too many weaker answers not demonstrating the required knowledge to fully explain the issues, which significantly impacted marks that they achieved. Part (b) was answered better with stronger answers demonstrating an understanding of the topic. The poor answers to part (a) brought the average mark for this question down to below pass average, and was a poor 11/25. SECTION B Q3 A purchasing manager has obtained the following information (a summary Profit and Loss Account and Balance Sheet for 2 years was given) from the financial accounts of Cook and Bell Ltd, a potential new major supplier. Appraise the company s position using an appropriate range of financial ratios and outline any concerns that the accounts reveal. (25 marks) The question was designed to test the ability of the candidate to undertake a financial appraisal of a potential supplier, from financial information supplied, using and calculating financial ratios, and making a judgement on the results obtained. There were many good answers to this question. Mainly the ratios used were well calculated, the most common errors was using sales instead of cost of sales in calculating Creditor days. There were a number of answers that had the sums the wrong way round, indicating they knew which figures to use, but did not understand what they should mean. The question required an appraisal, so the answer was just not the calculation of the ratios, but understanding what they meant, and also outlining areas of concern. Sometimes the appraisal was very limited. This was a question where the good answers were mainly very good, and the not so good answers required more knowledge of the topic, and also an appraisal of the calculations given. This question was the most popular question in Section B, and this was proved to be the right choice as it achieved the highest marks of all the questions. Even though many candidates achieved high marks, there were also a number of weaker answers that failed to address the context of the question incorrect calculations and appraisals not given - and failed to gain high marks as a result. As indicated, the best marks for all questions in the paper, average 18/25. L6-12/SA report/march

6 Q4 (a) Q4 (b) Explain the concept of absorption costing and how it differs from marginal costing. Explain the concept of target costing and discuss when its use is appropriate. (12 marks) (13 marks) Part (a) of the question aimed to test candidates knowledge and understanding of different approaches to costing methods. Part (b) This part of the question was to test the candidates knowledge and use of a specific costing approach. Part (a) Answers should have given an explanation of both costing methods, and as required by the question, identify the differences. The answers to part (a) of the question were disappointing, as costing forms is an important part of the syllabus, especially as well over half of the candidates chose to answer this question. Answers were too brief, just indicating that in absorption costing all fixed overheads relating to production need to be identified and marginal costing focuses upon splitting costs into fixed and variable elements would not have gained sufficient marks to gain a pass level for this question. Part (b) Most candidates that attempted this part of the question understood about what price the market could stand, and the need to work backwards, and nearly all candidates thought that its origin was based on the Japanese car market. The part many candidates failed to answer was when its use would be appropriate i.e. often in new product launch. Part (a) The general level of competence in the answers to this part of the question was below pass standard, which was very disappointing. Apart from the detail and definition required, weaker answers only provided a minimal discussion on how they differed. Part (b) The two part costing question had disappointing results, even with over half of the candidates answering this question out of choice. Overall the average mark was 11/25, the mark being adversely impacted by some poor answers to the first part of the question. L6-12/SA report/march

7 Q5 Assess how various external factors might impact upon the decision making process for an international capital investment project. (25 marks) The question aimed to test candidates knowledge and understanding of how uncertain external factors might impact upon an international capital project. The candidates that answered this question were split into two parts. Some used the PESTLE analysis approach, and many showed not only knowledge of the factors, but also explained how they would impact on decision making. Using PESTLE Political, Economic, Social, Technology, Legal, Environment the main areas of importance would have been covered. Unfortunately, some weaker answers didn t identify the PESTLE approach. Those that did not, seemed to have a lack of understanding of what the question required, and tended to wander off and did not answer the specific requirements of the question and failed to gain marks as a result. Most candidates attempting this question either achieved a high mark having used the PESTLE approach, or failed to gain high marks indicating that they did not properly understand the requirements of the question. Average mark was 11/25. Q6 (a) Q6 (b) Outline the benefits to a purchasing manager of the convergence of accounting standards. Explain the need for effective corporate governance in private sector organisations, making particular reference to the roll of non-executive directors in public limited companies (plcs). (10 marks) (15 marks) Part (a) Candidates were required to assess the benefits for a purchasing manager of the convergence of accounting standards. Part (b) The question was aimed to test candidates knowledge of the significance of effective corporate governance in the private sector. Part (a) The answer should have reviewed accounting standards and their roll, and indicated convergence facilitated comparability, and were required to ensure uniformity in disclosing results. Some candidates identified recent high profile cases that have taken advantage of shortcomings in accounting practices. Some stronger answers identified additional costs in standardising accounting practices, and some also identified other interested parties as well as purchasing managers, i.e. L6-12/SA report/march

8 stakeholders, financial institutions, tax authorities etc. More specifics in the answer would have gained higher marks. Part (b) Candidates seemed to answer this simply as a general question on corporate governance, and the points raised in this part of the answer were generally well founded. However the question required the candidates to make specific reference to nonexecutive directors in plcs. This role included their independence, evaluating risk, overseeing audit practice, ensuring CEO/Chairman roles are separated, transparency etc.. Too many weaker answers ignored this specific requirement of the question, thus not gaining high marks. Part (a) This part of the question was generally well answered by most candidates who chose this question and the marks achieved reflected this fact. The convergence of standards was understood and well explained Part (b) This part of the question was generally poorly answered. Many weaker answers failed to gain significant marks, due to not answering the specific requirements of the question. Overall the average marked scored was only 11/25 L6-12/SA report/march

9 APPENDIX: Syllabus matrix indicating the learning objectives of the syllabus unit content that each question is testing L6-12/SA report/march

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