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Options for Company in Financial Difficulty

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Introduction

There are a few options for S.B. Ltd to consider getting through difficult times. The five main options are firstly, to discontinue the Nottingham division and Leicester and Loughborough divisions could use their spare capacity to produce 60% of Nottingham’s 2010 output in addition to their own 2010 output, close the Nottingham division and outsource Nottingham’s 2010 output, to launch a major campaign for all 3 products to increase their sales, to introduce a transfer pricing system between the division and the head office to increase motivation among the staff in each division and rightsizing the organisation.

Discontinuation

As seen Nottingham is not making growth, in response to market forces, the first option is to discontinue Nottingham division by selling its assets and settling its liabilities and shifting production from Nottingham to Leicester and Loughborough. The discontinuation decision is a decision when the division profitability highlights the potential of unprofitable (Drury, 2010, pp.91-92). In this option, assuming that Leicester and Loughborough have some spare capacity to produce 60% of Nottingham’s 2010 output on top of their own 2010 output. According to Drury (2010, p.92), discontinuing the Nottingham division could aid the company in eliminating cost of goods sold, and other variable costs in the division.

 

Leicester

Loughborough

Derby

Sales - Strawberry jam

   

280.00

Sales - Orange Marmalade

   

240.00

Sales - Raspberry jam (60%)

   

96.00

Total Sales

   

616.00

Cost of goods produced and sold

173.00

153.00

326.00

Gross Profit

   

290.00

Advertising costs

   

30.00

Distribution costs

   

50.00

Local administration expenses

30.00

30.00

60.00

Head Office Costs

   

150.00

Net Profit

   

-

Other cost such as advertising costs, distribution costs and Head Office costs remain unchanged and is not affected by the discontinuation of the Nottingham division. O’Hare (2010, Management Accounting Lecture 3) suggested other factors which will affect an organisation to discontinue a division, the division is making a loss, to identify avoidable costs or to discover other saving.

Outsourcing

Outsourcing option is also known as sub-contracting option has become increasingly common in organisations, which enables organisations to concentrate on their core performance while outsource other specialist their secondary activities (Collier et al, 2007, pp.220-221). In S.B. Ltd case, according to Oxford University Press (2009), outsourcing could help to get through this hard time by going on a process of business process downsizing. Outsourcing allows operations that have seasonal demands to bring in additional resources in time of needs. Other advantages of outsourcing are, outsource activities will allow S.B. Ltd to focus on important functions without sacrificing quality or service, outsource specialist could help improve the quality and standard of the jam. It may also be able to purchase the jam more cheaply or perhaps more quickly.

Assuming the outsource price for raspberry jam is 20% more then the cost of goods produced and sold for raspberry jam. Hence, the sales of raspberry jam remains the same and Leicester division and Loughborough division have spare capacity which gives them room for expansion of 30% more sales each. All other expenses remain the same for both Leicester and Loughborough divisions. This gives the Head Office a net profit of £76,000

 

Leicester

Loughborough

Derby

Sales - Strawberry jam

   

364.00

Sales - Orange Marmalade

   

312.00

Sales - Raspberry jam (Outsource)

   

160.00

Total Sales

   

836.00

Cost of goods produced and sold

182.00

156.00

338.00

Outsource price

   

132.00

Gross Profit

   

366.00

Advertising costs

   

30.00

Distribution costs

   

50.00

Local administration expenses

30.00

30.00

60.00

Head Office Costs

   

150.00

Net Loss

   

76.00

On contrary to the advantages, outsourcing the jam to some specialist could lead to risk of unsatisfactory quality and standard of the jam. Other disadvantages could be leak of procedures and techniques of making the jam, outsourcing usually focuses on short-term cost-saving, and ignores the unchanged overhead burden.

Major Campaign

Another option is to launch a major advertising campaign for all three products to increase their sales and keep all three divisions. Advertising could boost awareness and generate demand of the sales of jams of S.B. Ltd. and hence acquiring more orders.

In the advertising campaign, assuming the advertising cost increase by 20% and it bring the sales of each product to an increase of 20% each. It simply boost up the profit of the company to £96,000.

 

Leicester

Nottingham

Loughborough

Derby

Sales - Strawberry jam

     

336.00

Sales - Raspberry jam

     

192.00

Sales - Orange Marmalade

     

288.00

Total Sales

     

816.00

Cost of goods produced and sold

140.00

110.00

120.00

370.00

Gross Profit

     

446.00

Advertising costs

     

90.00

Distribution costs

     

50.00

Local administration expenses

30.00

30.00

30.00

90.00

Head Office Costs

     

150.00

Net Profit

     

66.00

Transfer Pricing

The other option is when an organisation chooses to decentralise its divisions, transfer pricing helps decide what price to charge for in-company transactions (Collier et al, 2007, p.38-39) and as a form of promoting divisional autonomy (O’Hare, 2010, Management Accounting Lecture 8). It is useful when goods are transferred between divisions; hence, the performance measurement of each division is not prejudiced by the corporate objectives. The profitability of each business units will be affected and according to Solomon (1965 cited in Collier et al, 2007, pp.38-39), companies might take advantage of the transfer pricing which are suitable for evaluating divisional performance for the corporate interest, instead of the business units. Transfer pricing strategies and can produce substantial tax savings in addition to enhancing operational performance and improving cash flow. In many organisations, in order to avoid de-motivating effects on different business units, negotiated prices are adopted.

Say, each product is transferred to Derby division and it pays each division 70% of the sales it made from selling all the jams and yet still bare the cost of advertising, distribution and the head office costs. The local administrative expenses shall be bare by the respective divisions.

         
   

Leicester

Nottingham

Loughborough

Derby

   
 

Sales - Strawberry jam

     

280.00

   
 

Sales - Raspberry jam

     

160.00

   
 

Sales - Orange Marmalade

     

240.00

   
 

Total Sales

     

680.00

   
 

Transfer price revenues

196.00

112.00

168.00

     
 

Cost of goods produced and sold

140.00

110.00

120.00

     
 

Gross Profit

56.00

2.00

48.00

680.00

   
 

Total cost of transfer

     

476.00

   
 

Advertising costs

     

30.00

   
 

Distribution costs

     

50.00

   
 

Local administration expenses

30.00

30.00

30.00

     
 

Head Office Costs

     

150.00

   
 

Net Profit

26.00

(28.00)

18.00

(26.00)

   
             

There are downsides of transfer pricing. The political process in an organisation might affect the transfer pricing between divisions. Incorrect prices adopted can distort reported performance, by making some divisions more profitable at others expense. Opportunities exist to avoid taxes using artificial transfer prices to transfer profits from a high tax division to a low tax division.

Rightsizing

Rightsizing, or corporate restructuring, with the aim of reducing costs and improving efficiency and effectiveness is also one option in difficult times. Rightsizing is downsizing in the belief that an organisation really should operate with fewer personnel. The primary reason to engage in rightsizing is to make the daily operations of a business more productive. For example, a company may be able to replace assembly line employees with machines which will be quicker and less prone to error. In addition, rightsizing increases profits by reducing the overall overheads of a business.

S.B. Ltd operates a full cost (TAC) standard costing system. The standard costs set fot the year 31 March 2010 and information about future costs and selling prices are in Appendix 2.

Part 2 (700)

Assuming the company decided to go for the option of keeping all divisions open and launching an advertising campaign, you are required to produce a standard cost card for each product and a budget for the company showing clearly the costs attributable to each division for the year to 31 March 2011. State clearly all assumptions made.

Appendix 2 - Standard cost data

       
             

Standard cost cards for the year ended 31 March 2010 (per batch of 40 jars each of 500 grams)

 

Strawberry Jam

Raspberry Jam

Marmalade

   

£

 

£

 

£

Selling price

 

28

 

32

 

40

Fruit

16kg

4.8

16kg

5.6

24kg

4.8

Sugar

8kg

1.6

8kg

1.6

12kg

2.4

Labour

1 hour

6

1 hour

6

2 hours

12

Other variable costs

 

1

 

2

 

2

Fixed overheads

1 hour

2

1 hour

2

2 hours

4

   

15.4

 

17.2

 

25.2

Profit

 

12.6

 

14.8

 

14.8

             

Other information

           

Demand

With the right promotion the company believe that they could sell 20%

 

more of each product at the 2010 standard selling price

 

Material wastage

It is considered that improvements can be made but input weight will

 

always be at least 10% more than output weight for jam and 50% for

 

marmalade

         

Labour

Currently operates at 80% efficiency levels

   

Prices

Strawberries are sourced from the UK and prices are expected to rise by

 

2-5%

         
 

Raspberries are sourced from the UK and prices could rise by up to 15%

 

due to poor weather

       
 

Oranges are imported and paid for in euros euro prices are expected to

 

be as 2010

         
 

Discounts on all fruit can be negotiated if quantities increase

 

Labour rates per hour have been the same for the last 2 years

 

Variable costs may rise by up to 5 %

     
 

Fixed overheads may rise by between 5 and 10%

 

Standard Cost Card

A standard cost card can be defined as ‘a detailed listing of the standard amounts of materials, labour and overheads that should go into a unit of product, multiplied by the standard price or rate that has been set for each elements’ (Anon 2, 2010). A standard cost card, for example must include the price, specifications, quantity and quality of material required, as well as such factors as the period of credit allowed from suppliers, cash and quantity discounts, spoilage due to wastage and deterioration. A standard cost card demands an investigation of all contributing factors that can constitute a cost before the cost is adopted. According to Drury (2010, p.278), standard costs are ‘predetermined costs’ and they are the target costs that should be incurred under efficient operating conditions. The standard cost card will be subjected to updating caused by revision of standards such as changes in prices, discounts, etc.

Standard costing is a control system which sets standards that are ideal, expected and achievable (O’Hare, 2010, Management Accounting Lecture). Collier (2007, p.36) put forward that standard costing is a control technique which compares standard cost and all of production revenues with actual results. It is to obtain variances of each division and product (O’Hare, 2010, Management Accounting Lecture 8), which are used to stimulate improved performance and to increase motivation of staff in each division. It is a detective control used to prevent problems from reoccurring as it measures variances as it occur, thus allowing management to take necessary corrective action.

The standard cost card for the year ended 31 March 2011 (per batch of 40 jars each 500 grams) for Strawberry Jam, Raspberry Jam and Orange Marmalade are as below:

   

Strawberry Jam

 
       

£

£

 

Selling price

     

28.00

 

Fruit

16/kg

0.31

4.90

 
 

Sugar

8/kg

0.20

1.60

 
 

Labour

1 hour

6.00

6.00

 
 

Other Variable Cost

   

1.50

 
 

Fixed Overheads

1 hour

2.10

2.10

 
         

15.65

 

Profit

     

12.35

   

Raspberry Jam

 
       

£

£

 

Selling price

     

32.00

 

Fruit

16/kg

0.40

6.44

 
 

Sugar

8/kg

0.20

1.60

 
 

Labour

1 hour

6.00

6.00

 
 

Other Variable Cost

   

2.10

 
 

Fixed Overheads

1 hour

2.10

2.10

 
         

18.24

 

Profit

     

13.76

               
   

Orange Marmalade

 
       

£

£

 

Selling price

     

40.00

 

Fruit

24/kg

0.20

4.80

 
 

Sugar

12/kg

0.20

2.40

 
 

Labour

2 hours

6.00

12.00

 
 

Other Variable Cost

   

2.10

 
 

Fixed Overheads

1hour

2.10

2.10

 
         

23.40

 

Profit

     

16.60

             

Budget

The principal tool in planning is called ‘a budget’. A budget is a collection of predictions. It is an estimation of the revenue and expenses over a specified future period of time. There are three purposes of budgets as identified by Emmanuel et al (1990 cited in Collier, 2007, pp.39-40), ‘as forecasts of future events’, ‘as motivational targets’ and ‘as standards for performance evaluation’. Budget is a financial plan or qualitative statement for implementing the various decisions to be pursued during a specific accounting period, that management has made in the previous period.

Collier (2007, pp.39-42) suggest that budgets provide a control mechanism through both the feed forward and feedback loops. The control mechanism in the budget is to provide a performance monitoring function to the appropriate managers who are responsible for implementing the various decisions by producing and presenting the performance reports. According to Drury (2010, pp.8-9), the performance report provide feedback information by comparing planned and actual results.

Generally, a functional budget is drawn up for each division of S.B. Ltd. These budgets are, then, merged together into a single combined statement, which is known as the master budget, of S.B. Ltd’s expectations for the future periods. The master budget consists of budgeted profit, which it is expected to convey to everyone in the organisation the part that they are expected to achieve in implementing management’s decisions. The master budget, usually, consists of a budgeted profit and loss, a budgeted balance sheet and a budgeted cash-flow statement. In order to finalised a budgeted profit and loss, other budgets for the individual divisions and produced, such as the sales budget, direct materials usage budget, direct materials purchase budget, direct labour budget, and selling and administration budget.

           
 

Master Budget

Budgeted Profit and Loss Account for the year ending 31 March 2011

   

£

£

 
 

Forecast sales (Schedule 1)

 

816,000

 
 

Purchases (Schedule 3)

     
 

Materials - Fruit

130,272

   
 

Materials - Sugar

46,080

   
 

Cost of raw materials consumed

176,352

   
 

Direct Labour (Schedule 4)

155,520

   
 

Factory Overheads (Schedule 5)

68,040

   
 

Cost of Sales

 

399,912

 
 

Gross Profit

 

416,088

 
 

Selling and administration expenses (S6)

 

350,000

 
 

Variable Costs (Schedule 7)

 

40,320

 
 

Budgeted operating profit for the year

 

25,768

 
         
           
 

Schedule 1 - Sales Budget for year ending 31 March 2011

   
 

Product

Batches Sold

Selling Price

Total Revenue

 
 

Strawberry Jam

12,000

28.00

336,000.00

 
 

Raspberry Jam

6,000

32.00

192,000.00

 
 

Orange Marmalade

7,200

40.00

288,000.00

 
       

816,000.00

 
           
 

Schedule 2 - Annual Direct Material Usage Budget

     
   

Leicester

Nottingham

Loughborough

Total Units

 
 

Strawberry

192,000

   

192,000

 
 

Raspberry

 

96,000

 

96,000

 
 

Orange

   

172,800

172,800

 
 

Sugar

96,000

48,000

86,400

230,400

 
   

288,000

144,000

259,200

   
           
 

Schedule 3 - Direct Materials Purchase Budget

     
   

Strawberry

Raspberry

Orange

Sugar

 
   

(units)

(units)

(units)

(units)

 
 

Quantity necessary to meet production

192,000

96,000

172,800

230,400

 
 

requirements as per material usage budget

         
 

Planned unit purchase price

0.31

0.39

0.20

0.20

 
 

Total Purchases

58,752.00

36,960.00

34,560.00

46,080.00

 
           
 

Schedule 4 - Annual Direct Labour Budget

     
   

Leicester

Nottingham

Loughborough

Total

 
 

Budgeted production (units)

12,000

6,000

7,200

   
 

Hours per unit

0.80

0.80

1.60

   
 

Total budgeted hours

9,600

4,800

11,520

25,920

 
 

Budgeted wage rate per hour (£)

6.00

6.00

6.00

   
 

Total Wages (£)

57,600

28,800

69,120

155,520

 
           
 

Schedule 5 - Annual Fixed Overheads

       
   

Leicester

Nottingham

Loughborough

Total

 
 

Fixed Overheads hour

1

1

2

   
 

Fixed overheads rate

2.10

2.10

2.10

   
 

Fixed Overheads per batch

2.10

2.10

4.20

   
 

Total Fixed Overheads (£)

25,200.00

12,600.00

30,240.00

68,040.00

 
           
 

Schedule 6 - Annual Selling and Administration Budget

 
   

£

£

 

Selling:

   
 

Advertising Costs

60,000.00

 
 

Distribution Costs

50,000.00

 
     

110,000.00

 

Administration:

   
 

Local Administration Expenses

90,000.00

 
 

Head Office Costs

150,000.00

 
     

240,000.00

     

350,000.00

       
 

Schedule 7 - Annual Variable Cost Budget

     
   

Leicester

Nottingham

Loughborough

   
 

Other variable costs

1.00

2.00

2.00

   
 

Variable costs per batch

1.05

2.10

2.10

   
 

Total Variable Costs

12,600.00

12,600.00

15,120.00

40,320.00

 
           

It is now April 2011. The actual results for the year 31 March 2011 are in Appendix 3.

Part 3

You are required to:

(a) Produce an operating statement for each division based on your own budgets.

(b) Write a report to the board appraising the performance of each division using whichever indicators you feel are appropriate. You should also suggest what other information should be obtained in order to improve your appraisal.

(c) Write a report to the company management accountant on whether the company should change their traditional approach to accounting for overheads to one based on Activity Based Costing.

Appendix 3 S.B. Ltd - Trading results for the year ended 31 March 2011

   
                 
 

Leicester

Nottingham

Loughborough

Derby

   

£'000s

 

£'000s

 

£'000s

£'000s

Sales - Strawberry Jam

11000 batch

         

330

Sales - Raspberry Jam

   

6250 batch

     

200

Sales - Marmalade

       

6000 batch

 

250

TOTAL SALES

           

780

Fruit

170000kg

53

100000kg

36

140000kg

30

 

Sugar

84000kg

21

48000kg

12

68000kg

17

 

Labour

10000 hours

70

6000 hours

39

6000 hours

39

 

Variable costs

 

12

 

10

 

13

 

Fixed Overheads

10000 hours

22

6000 hours

12

6000 hours

15

 
               

Cost of goods produced and sold

178

 

109

 

114

401

Gross Profit

           

379

Advertising costs

           

60

Distribution costs

           

60

Local administration expenses

 

32

 

32

 

32

90

Head Office Costs

           

155

NET PROFIT

           

14

                 
                 

Note

Sales = Production

           

(a) According to Anon 3 (2010) and Anon 4 (2010), an operating statement is a detailed periodic report of the financial reports or a financial statement of a firm’s operations. In many organisations, management rely on the financial and quantitative statement provided to record performance achieved by that area of the operation, for a selected budget period, for which the management is responsible (Oxford University Press, 2009). S.B. Ltd practices a decentralised control over its responsibility centres where Derby division is delegated as the controlling costs centre. Decentralisation means there is a delegation of authority in decision making in the organisation. According to CIMA Official Terminology (Collier, 2007, pp.13-14), the financial control in divisionalised businesses is the divisional performance control by producing a budget and the monitoring of actual performance towards the budget.

Each division management will carry out a significant function in analysing and interpreting financial information and will achieve the target given. Below is the operating statement for the individual division based on the budget prepared in part 2.

Operating Statement for S.B. Ltd

               

Description

Leicester

Nottingham

Loughborough

Derby

   

Sales - Strawberry Jam

 

336,000

       

336,000

     

Sales - Raspberry Jam

     

192,000

   

192,000

     

Sales - Marmalade

         

288,000

288,000

     

Total Sales

             

816,000

   
                     

Cost of Sales

                   

Purchases - Fruits

58,752

 

36,960

 

34,560

         

Purchases - Sugar

19,200

 

9,600

 

17,280

         

Labour

57,600

 

28,800

 

69,120

         

Variable Costs

12,600

 

12,600

 

15,120

         

Fixed Overheads

25,200

 

12,600

 

30,240

         

Cost of goods produced and sold

 

173,352

 

100,560

 

166,320

 

440,232

   

Gross Profit

 

162,648

 

91,440

 

121,680

 

375,768

   
                     

Operating Expenses

                   

Advertising costs

           

60,000

     

Distribution costs

           

50,000

     

Local administration expenses

30,000

 

30,000

 

30,000

 

90,000

     

Head office costs

           

150,000

     
   

30,000

 

30,000

 

30,000

 

350,000

   

Net Profit

 

132,648

 

61,440

 

91,680

 

25,768

   
                 

Solomon (1965 cited in Collier, 2007, pp.13-14) highlighted three purposes for financial reporting at divisional level; to guide divisional managers and top management in decision making, and to enable top management to appraise the performance of divisional management.

(b) TO: The Directors of S.B. Ltd

From the earlier budget, the performances of all four divisions are appraised. The overall company’s performance as seen on Derby division operating statement seems to have achieved the budgeted gross profit. However, all the other costs, such as the advertising costs, distribution costs, local administration expenses and head office costs, influence the net profit not achieving the budgeted figure. The overall sales, although did not attain the budgeted sales, did make a good number and managed to produce the goods at a much lower price compared to the budgeted figure.

Operating Statement for Derby Division

     

Description

Current Period

Budgeted

Sales - Strawberry Jam

330,000

 

336,000

 

Sales - Raspberry Jam

200,000

 

192,000

 

Sales - Orange Marmalade

250,000

 

288,000

 

Total Sales

 

780,000

 

816,000

         

Cost of goods produced and sold

 

401,000

 

440,232

Gross Profit

 

379,000

 

375,768

         

Operating Expenses

       

Advertising costs

60,000

 

60,000

 

Distribution costs

60,000

 

50,000

 

Local administration expenses

90,000

 

90,000

 

Head office costs

155,000

 

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