Overview Of The Strategic Accounting Accounting Essay

Published:

One of the key factors in achieving bottom line performance in any business enterprise is a complete understanding of how controlling costs contribute to the attainment of profitability.

Walters and Giles (2000) point out that managers who exercise flexibility in timing of decisions provide themselves with options in equating the viability of opportunities. The utilization of strategic accounting in decision-making represents a departure from past accounting practices whereby it was used to predict fiscal performance and then report on what was achieved.

Today's accounting theory sees this function as an ongoing active component in business operations. The proper utilization of varied accounting principles permits business owners and managers to utilize past results as a foundation for predicting future performance as well as the performance for the addition of new product lines. Horngren et al (1997) indicate that effective planning along with effective control represent critical factors in the achievement of business objectives. They go on to state that through effective planning goals are selected with more care and input and that the achievement of goal objectives calls for the utilization of effective controls.

Lady using a tablet
Lady using a tablet

Professional

Essay Writers

Lady Using Tablet

Get your grade
or your money back

using our Essay Writing Service!

Essay Writing Service

The introduction of a new section in a 'mini market' represents an application of the foregoing whereby the employment of 'strategic accounting for decision making' is a process by which the business can be evaluated from differing operational perspectives. The foregoing setting shall be utilized to explore and pose solutions and answers to business conditions and questions with respect to varying business decision-making areas within this setting.

Chapter 1 - Introduction

1.1  The Setting

An entrepreneur in South Wales postulated that the establishment of a mini market selling a limited variety of varied food items would be able to establish a foothold and survive in a competitive environment that included major supermarkets, Tesco - Safeways, Asda along with other outlets. The main theme for the foundation of this enterprise was based upon offering consumers 'convenience' as well as 'quality service' in an establishment where they could purchase either a single or multiple items quickly. The foregoing concept proved successful, as this entrepreneur was able to add three more mini markets in the area.

And success brings with it the need to innovative, improve operations and seek areas of opportunity to continue growth. In order to be successful when a business goes through expansion an entrepreneur needs to evolve into a professional manager and understand not only how to delegate, but how to lead as well as communicate and plan. And since sales and profitability are the barometers by which business is measured, the importance of being able to forecast revenues and expenditures, identify probabilities, analyze operations, and control costs are key components of strategic accounting.

The foregoing principles became apparent as a result of attending a University course for 'Budgetary Planning and Control. In order to develop a more sophisticated and effective system, the assistance and input of the managers of the stores was not only an necessary component, it was vital in gathering information as well as insight on the individual operations. Simons (1987) emphasizes that accounting represents an informational as well as control mechanism that managers must utilize to understand the varied components of their business and mold their accounting systems in terms of information gathering and construction, to fit the needs of the entity.

1.2  Background Facts and Factors

It was noticed that one of the store managers, located in Aberdare, was committed but lacked the expertise to functionally participate in the formal 'Budgetary Planning and Control' system that was being implemented. As a result is was agreed that the company would pay for this manager to attend a course conducted at the 'Glamorgan Business School Weekend MSC Accounting programme'. At a meeting that called together all of the store managers it was explained that hence forth each store would be rated and evaluated on its individual performance rather than the prior group consolidation basis. This entailed each manager producing a yearly budget for their outlet in consultation with their department managers to generate figures for each retail area. The overall line management organizational structure of the four mini markets is as follows:

Lady using a tablet
Lady using a tablet

Comprehensive

Writing Services

Lady Using Tablet

Plagiarism-free
Always on Time

Marked to Standard

Order Now

Table 1 - Organizational Structure

Managing Director

Newport Penarth Cowbridge Aberdare

Each manager was directed to compile the following:

1.      'Profit and Loss Account' for their individual mini markets for the period ending 31/21/04,

2.      a breakdown of staff salaries,

3.      employee composition by mini market section,

4.      percentage of floor space allocated to sections,

5.      asset value of each cost center within their mini markets,

6.      and, a Forecast of Profit and Loss for the six month period 01/01/05 through 30/06/05

The foregoing produced an interesting response from one of the department manager of General Groceries at the Aberdare mini market. The analysis of floor space in that section found that there was under-utilized space that could be put to better use. The manager had conducted some research and uncovered that there was no location in Aberdare where one could have photographs developed or enlarged. The idea was broached with the store manager and after gathering of some additional information regarding the cost of film it was included in reports to be presented at a meeting of managers and the owner. These were to consist of the following:

1.      A comprehensive comparison of the Aberdare and Penarth mini markets that includes their relative strengths as well as weaknesses.

2.      An analysis of the profitability of the profit centres in Aberdare.

3.      Because each mini market was henceforth to be operated as individual business entities, options as well as constraints with regard to raising capital to expand operations at the Aberdare location also were to be included.

4.      Budgetary planning and control was delegated to the manager of the Penarth mini market. The foregoing was based upon the fact that all managers had attended a seminar on this subject matter.

5.      Proposals for new revenue sources.

6.      Report on 'working capital management' emphasizing debtor control and the lack of a link between it and profit / cash flow.

7.      Presentation of the Forecast Balance Sheet and Profit and Loss Account for the Aberdare Super Service mini market in 2005.

Chapter 2 - The Mini Markets

2.1 A comprehensive comparison of the Aberdare and Penarth mini markets that includes their relative strengths as well as weaknesses.

In developing a basis for comparison of the Aberdare and Penarth the constant that is attributable to both locations is the general layout of the locations and organizational style. As shown by Table 3 the Penarth mini market does not have a sales area devoted to 'alcoholic drinks and cigarettes' as well as a separate defined space for the 'administrative office'. And while the specifications do not provide information on this point, the allocation of 50% of space in the Penarth mini market to 'stores' would seem to indicate that this area also is utilized for administrative functions.

The other difference in general layout between the two subject locations is the absence of 'alcoholic drinks and cigarettes' section at the Penarth mini market. As these products represent traffic builders as well as profitable items, alcoholic drinks at the Penarth mini market they are assigned to the 'general groceries' area for alcoholic drinks and most likely checkout location for cigarettes. This aspect indicates a weakness in the Penarth mini market as the sales of alcoholic drinks and cigarettes contributed 7% to revenue.

Table 2 - Organization of Aberdare / Penarth Mini Markets

Mini Market

Organization

Aberdare

% of Total Area

Lady using a tablet
Lady using a tablet

This Essay is

a Student's Work

Lady Using Tablet

This essay has been submitted by a student. This is not an example of the work written by our professional essay writers.

Examples of our work

Penarth

% of Total Area

1. Fresh Meat Area

10

10

2. Dairy Products

20

15

3. Stores

22

50

4. General Groceries

28

10

5. Frozen Foods

10

15

6. Alcoholic Drinks

and Cigarettes

5

7. Administrative

Office

5

Total

100

100

The allocation of 50% of floor space to 'stores' in the Penarth mini market represents a sizeable amount of area devoted to a non-sales function and would seemingly create a more cluttered layout for the remaining departments. For consumers accustomed to the spacious layout of major supermarkets such as Tesco - Safeways, and Asda the loss of floor space at Penarth as well as definitive section for 'alcoholic drinks and cigarettes' could negatively affect sales performance. However, the operating profit as shown by Table 4 for both locations is extremely close, recording 19% for Penarth and 17.4% for Aberdare.

Table 3 - Financial Comparisons for the Penarth and Aberdare Mini Markets

Penarth Aberdare

Operating Profit

Sales

19%

17.4%

Cost of Sales

Sales

50%

50%

Expenses

Sales

31%

32%

Interest cover

20 x

31

Gearing

20%

12.5%

Current Ratio

2:1

3:1

Quick Ratio

1:1

2:1

2.2 An analysis of the profitability of the profit centres in Aberdare

In calculating the profitability of each department at the Aberdare and Penarth mini markets, areas 3 (stores) and 7 (administrative office) need to be removed in order to calculate the relative profitability of the remaining sales areas. The calculations relating to the aforementioned were derived from Table 5 below.

Table 4 - Organization of Aberdare / Penarth Mini Markets

Mini Market

Organization

Aberdare

% of Total Area

Penarth

% of Total Area

1. Fresh Meat Area

10

10

2. Dairy Products

20

15

3. Stores

22

50

4. General Groceries

28

10

5. Frozen Foods

10

15

6. Alcoholic Drinks

and Cigarettes

5

7. Administrative

Office

5

Total

100

100

Clearly, the stores (3) and administrative office (7) do not contribute to sales, and thus are cost expense areas. The following Table 6 distributes gross profitability against sales departments. An area that stands out in the analysis of these two locations is that Penarth has 50% of its available space devoted to 'stores' a non-sales area. In contrast, Aberdare devotes just 22% of its available space to this department (stores) and another 5% for administrative function thus losing just 27% as opposed to 50%. The percentage of profitability figures for Penarth sales sections double as a result of deducting the 50% allocated to 'stores'.

By comparing the two mini markets in this manner it is apparent that the Penarth mini market has a higher ratio of sales percentage attributable to the departments utilizing the remaining floor space. The largest discrepancy occurs in the frozen food section which is the third most profitable department at Aberdare (47,387.5) as well as ranking third in terms of sales (174,375) behind general groceries, which ranks first in terms of sales (465,000), and profits (136,260), and dairy products which ranked second (348,750 and 124,775 respectively).

Table 5 - Percent Profitability of Aberdare and Penarth Sales Areas

Mini Market

Organization

Aberdare

% of Profitability

Aberdare

Profitability

Penarth

% of Profitability

1. Fresh Meat

13.95

30,271.5

20

2.Dairy

Products

27.9

60,543

30

3. Stores

4. General

Groceries

37.2

80,724

20

5. Frozen

Foods

13.95

30,271.5

30

6. Alcoholic

Drinks and

Cigarettes

7

15,190

7.Administrative

Office

Total

100

217,000

100

In equating the percentage of sales attributable to each department at the Aberdare mini market, stores (3) along with the administrative office (7) were eliminated as these represent expense (support) functions. In so doing the percentage of sales differs from the percentage of space allocation in reaching this calculation.

Table 6 - Comparison of Area Percentage and Percentage of Sales - Aberdare

Mini Market

Organization

Cost

Centre

% of

Total

Area

% of

Sales

Sales

Allocation

1. Fresh Meat

1

10

13.95

174,375

2.Dairy

Products

2

20

27.9

348,750

3. Stores

3

22

22

4. General

Groceries

4

28

37.2

465,000

5. Frozen

Foods

5

10

13.95

174,375

6. Alcoholic

Drinks and

Cigarettes

6

5

7

87,500

7.Administrative

Office

7

5

Total

100

100

1,250,000

Table 7 - Overhead Expense and Net Profit Allocations at Aberdare

Mini Market

Organization

Salaries

Overhead

Cost

Of

Sales

Overhead

Total

Net

Profit

1. Fresh Meat

44,000

5,800

87,187.5

136,987.5

37,387.5

2.Dairy

Products

38,000

11,600

174,375

223,975

124,775

3. Stores

40,000

12,760

52,760

(52,760)

4. General

Groceries

80,000

16,240

232,500

328,740

136,260

5. Frozen

Foods

34,000

5,800

87,187.5

126,987.5

47,387.5

6. Alcoholic

Drinks and

Cigarettes

34,000

2,900

43,750

80,650

6,850

7.Administrative

Office

80,000

2,900

82,900

(82,900)

Total

350,000

58,000

625,000

1,033,000

217,000

As one of the points that were mentioned in the meeting of all mini market managers, any activity(s) that was producing a loss was to be discontinued. The preceding directive calls into question the 'stores' department at the Penarth mini market. At 50% of the available floor space allocation for that section is grossly out of line with the space allocated at Aberdare at 22%. Interestingly, the Penarth mini market does not indicate an allocation for an administrative office while Aberdare has a specific space for this function at 5% of floor space.

As the directive indicated any activity that generates a loss is to be eliminated, the 5% allocated for the administrative office at Aberdare needs to be discontinued. The positioning of the stores department as well as the administrative office at the rear of the store means that existing floor space for dairy products as well as a portion of general groceries could be expanded from the 5% that will become available. Since the subject of adding a film developing department was broached, the utilization of the added 5% in floor space will be covered in a later section.

As administrative functions represent desk space for a computer, files, printer, telephone and allied equipment a small segment of space in the stores area will be utilized for this function. The Penarth's stores allocation needs to be reduced to a percentage that approximates Aberdare's 22%. This would open up 28% to be devoted to profitable sales such as diary products and general groceries, significantly expanding these sections as well as providing additional space for small increases in the other departments, fresh meats - frozen foods and space for alcoholic drinks and beverages which is completely missing from the Penarth mini market.

2.3 Because each mini market was henceforth to be operated as individual business entities, options as well as constraints with regard to raising capital to expand operations at the Aberdare location also were to be included.

Options for raising capital at each mini market are governed by prudent business practice. The calculation of factors such as 'interest cover and gearing provide guidelines by which to operate in constraining the raising of capital beyond acceptable levels. Interest Cover represents an important financial variable for business entities in that it provides a gauge concerning the interest paid on the businesses borrowings as measured against its operating profit (HM Revenue & Customs, 2005). This figure is arriving at by dividing the operating profits of the mini market by the interest paid during the same fiscal period. The preceding ratio illustrates the relationship of gearing with respect to the profit and loss. Simply stated, 'gearing' describes the debt compared with the mini market's equity capital (Randall, 2003)

Table 3 - Financial Comparisons for the Penarth and Aberdare Mini Markets

Penarth Aberdare

Operating Profit

Sales

19%

17.4%

Cost of Sales

Sales

50%

50%

Expenses

Sales

31%

32%

Interest cover

20 x

31

Gearing

20%

12.5%

Current Ratio

2:1

3:1

Quick Ratio

1:1

2:1

2.4 Budgetary planning and control was delegated to the manager of the Penarth mini market.

In fulfilling this aspect of the directives discussed in the manager's meeting the balance between improving operational performance through decision making precedes budgetary planning as the direction and changes to be employed must first be decided upon and all impacting variables considered. One such example is the allocation of space at the Penarth mini market whereby the stores department occupies 50% of available floor space. The decision making process in this instance revolves around how to reapportion space and to what departments to maximize the return. Another decision-making process entails the introduction of film processing at the Aberdare mini market and the allocation of resources as well as space based upon projections and market research.

Decision making entails utilizing a checklist of steps to assist in arriving at the most viable selection based upon a consideration of factors, facts, influences and alternative options. The following are decision-making procedures to aid in determining what courses of action to take:

1.      Pareto Analysis

This technique helps to select the most effective changes through following the courses of action that will yield the largest benefits. The technique entails listing the changes that could be made and grouping them into changes that are related. The list items are scored by the basis of profit, customer satisfaction or other titles basing the scores on the profit generated or reduction in complaints, to utilize and example of the two possibilities indicated. In this manner attention is paid to those items with the highest scores (Reh, 2004).

2.      Paired Comparison

Through this technique the importance of options that are relative to each other is worked out. The methodology aids in setting priorities when resources are subject to conflicting demands. Placing options on a grid permits the varied options to be compared and then numbered ranging from 0, representing no difference, through 3 which represents major difference(s) are assigned. These values are converted to percentages of the total score (Marsh et al, 2003).

3.      Grid Analysis

The utilization of a grid analysis is employed when there are a number of good possibilities or alternatives. The list of options is placed into rows and factors are put into columns. The relative importance of factors comprising the decision is worked out and shown as numbers. These are utilized to apply varying weights to preferences through the importance of the factors. If this is not apparent then 'paired comparison analysis is utilized (Olsen et al, 2002).

4.      Decision Trees

This time proven method begins with the decision that needs to be made which is drawn as a square. Lines emanating from this square are drawn to the right for every possible solution with the explanation written on the line. The end of these lines considers the results and if it is not certain a circle at the end is used to designate this with squares used for decisions. The process is continued until as many possible outcomes as can be thought of are considered (Monahan, 2000).

5.      PMI

The Plus-Minus-Implications technique weighs the pros as well as cons of a decision. The process entails utilizing a table with the headings 'Plus-Minus-Implications' where one writes the positive (plus), negative (minus) and possible outcomes (implications) of taking a particular course of action (Hennen, 2004). If the decision is not obvious after the preceding then scores are applied in a subjective manner to complete the exercise.

6.      Force Field Analysis

This looks at all of the forces as well as pressures for as well as against change. The process looks to strengthen those forces that support the decision and weaken the impact of those forces in opposition. The forces representing change are listed in one column, with those against change listed in the other, then a score is assigned from 1, representing weak, to 5, representing strong are used (Lewin, 1951).

7.      Six Thinking Hats

Looking at a decision representing all the possible points of view is the basis for this technique. The method forces thinking outside of habitual styles and employs emotional, creative, intuitive, .

8.      Cost/Benefit Analysis

This relatively simple method entails adding up the relative value of a course of action's benefits and then subtracting the costs that are associated with it. These costs may be one time or ongoing. Time is factored into the equation by looking at the period required for payback or breakeven as well as the costs (risks) involved (Gramlich, 1981).

Budgetary planning represents actions and activities undertaken by a company over a specified period of time whereby the costs and results are contained in forecasts and projections that consider the factors resulting from the decision making process to arrive at the courses of action (Otley, 1978) ). While decision-making is utilized to arrive at the answers or solutions, budgetary planning uses elements that have already been decided upon and worked into a coherent plan. Decision-making represents the phase when possibilities are considered, whereby budgetary planning entails utilizing elements that are parts of the overall plan for the business entity, both new as well as existing.

2.5 Proposals for new revenue sources.

The manager of the Aberdare mini market was approached by one of the departmental managers who suggested that an unutilized space in the General Groceries section could be used for photograph development, enlargement, etc. The manager presented the following facts to support the recommendation:

1.      Equipment utilized in the process of developing and enlargement cost 18,000 with a useable life cycle of three (3) years.

2.      Operation of the service would entail hiring an additional employee at 15,000 per annum.

3.      The cost of photographic paper would total 0.75, and would represent 36 prints per sheet.

4.      The cost of chemicals to develop 36 prints would total 0.40

5.      It was suggested that a good marketing promotion would consist of giving customers a free album with each roll of film that was developed. The cost of each album was presented as 0.80.

6.      Competitive pricing put the figure for developing 36 prints at 5.50.

7.      In order to retain customers it was recommended that an offer of a free roll of film be provided customers for each roll brought in for developing.

8.      Film could be obtained from Fuji at 0.75 per roll.

In conjunction with the foregoing the manager of the Aberdare mini market prepared a demand forecast representing film development for the years 2005 through 2007:

Table 8 - Demand Forecast for Films Developed 2005-2007

Year

2005

2006

2007

Films Processed

11,000

12,500

14,000

The following indicates the cost of sales and profit for this area at the indicated volume levels. These figures take into account all of the cost of sales areas as well as the 50% cost variable attributable to mini market overhead expenditures. At a sales price of 5.50 per roll, the subtraction of all cost of sales and overhead mini market expenses yields a profit per unit of 1.025. At this return it would take 9,760 unit sales to yield 10,004 in profit. If the cost of the equipment is factored in utilizing a three-year payoff, sans interest cost, that unit total increases to 15,610.

Table 9 - Forecast Projections for Aberdare Mini Market

Category

# of Units

# of U