Significance of Departmental Accounting
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Published: Wed, 25 Apr 2018
This report has done on wide research of financial accounting. This report has five parts. First part includes departmental accounting and its significance. Second part shows a calculation for a given question. Third part includes four fundamental accounting concepts such as going concern, matching concept, prudence and consistency with examples. Forth part includes users and uses of financial accounting and statements. Finally fifth part shows a significance of local community for businesses and corporate social governance, how it began and its importance.
1.0 Departmental Accounts
Departmental accounts may be stated as a procedure of book-keeping and accounting, the reason of which is to find how much profit (or loss) is made by each section or department of a business. In this context the term ‘department’ means an income making department, as dealing outcomes will not be obtained for non-revenue making department for example maintenance, trading or management, etc. (Pendlebury & Groves, 2004).
If an enterprise comprise of five independent activities, or is divided into five departments, for carrying on separate functions, its management is generally involved in finding out the working outcomes of each department to ascertain their relative efficiencies. This can be made likely only if departmental accounts are prepared. Departmental accounts are of great help and assistance to the managements as information for commanding the enterprise more intelligently and effectively, since thereby all kinds of waste either of material or of cash are readily detected; furthermore attention is drawn to inadequacies or inefficiencies in the working of departments or units into which the enterprise may be divided (Pendlebury & Groves, 2004).
Significance of Departmental Accounts
Preparation of Departmental accounts is helpful to the business in the following respects:
Easy to comparing the performance of each departments
Departmental accounts enable the businesses to compare the performance of one department with another department. It also helps an organisation to rank departments using their earning values.
The overall profit on sales, namely RM 490,000 on a turnover of RM 2,730,000 is probably quite satisfactory; yet in the absence of departmental accounting the loss incurred by Department C and D would not be revealed.
Easy to evaluate departmental growth
Departmental accounting helps an organisation to evaluate each departmental growth separately on the basis of trading results over period of time. An endeavour may be made to push up the sales of the department which is earning maximum profit. To explain it further here is an illustration:
The above table shows an individual product growth of ABC organisation for three years. Product D is a continuous loss making product whereas other products such as profit for product C is continuously decreasing over a period of time. Using departmental accounting for this organisation became easier for management to evaluate the performance of these products.
Departmental accounting makes it simplier for management to make conclusions if they are having more than one product, they can actually forecast the future performance of a product. Most of the time decision includes some questions such as whether a product is profitable or not, if the product is not profitable whether they should continue to produce that product or just eliminate it, what would be consequences of eliminating a product. Here is a further interpretation using illustration 2.
Management can actually decide whether they should continue to produce these five products based on their growth over a period of time. Let say product D as this product is continuously making loss since 2009, it became easier for management to decide whether they should produce product D or they should eliminate this product. Furthermore they can rank the product based on their profits. For example Product B is the most profitable product.
Easy to prepare departmental budget
Departmental budgeting assists an organisation to prepare budgets for each department. A budget ensures that an organisation can pay for costs for all products and don’t have risk of going into debt to keep business running. To construct a complete budget, an enterprise must understand how to set aside finances for each department and understand how each department works simultaneously to make up the full-scale plan.
ABC organisation can actually evaluate whether they can afford these departments or not. If we compare Department B and Department C, then B is a profitable department whereas C is loss making department. Now the management have to decide whether they can afford expenses for Department C in next year or not because they are not sure whether it can generate profit or not in next.
3.0 Four Fundamental Accounting Concepts
3.1 Going Concern Concept
The going concern concept assumes that business will persist with its business activities in the foreseeable future; thus the accountant will not suppose that there is a desire to cut back on business operations or an intention to liquidate. The significance of this concept is that items should be valued not at their break-up value but at their net book value, based on the estimation of the cost of the depreciation provision. Without this assumption, preparation of the balance sheet would be much more difficult (Pizzey, 2001).
Examples of going concern concept
The RM 2.6 billion inventory for Sara Ltd in 2012 is reported at the cost originally paid to purchase the inventory. This is a reasonable figure because, in the normal course of business, Sara Ltd can expect to sell the inventory for this amount, plus some profit. But if it were assumed that Sara Ltd would go out of business tomorrow, the inventory would suddenly be worth a lot less. The going concern concept allows the accountant to record assets at what they are worth to a company in normal use rather than what they would sell for in a liquidation sale (Pizzey, 2001).
Another example is fixed assets, we show fixed asset at cost less depreciation to rather their current value in the second-hand market, because they are held by the firm not for immediate resale, but to be used by the business until their working life is over. This is clearly an assumption on which the balance sheet is based (Pizzey, 2001).
Before the accounts are certified as showing a true and fair view, the auditor must be satisfied that the company is a going concern and that it will continue to function successful in the future (Pizzey, 2001).
This the profit measurement calculation is insulated from fluctuations in the value of fixed assets, and the spread of the capital cost of an asset over the years of its useful life, by depreciation, is supported by this principle (Pizzey, 2001).
3.2 Matching concept
This is sometimes called the accruals principle. Its purpose is to match effort to accomplishment by setting the cost of resources used up by a certain activity against the revenue or benefits received from that activity. When a profit statement is compiled, the cost of the goods sold should be set against the revenue from the sale of those goods, even though cash has not yet been received. Expense and revenue must be matched up so that they concern the same goods and time period, if a true profit is to be computed. Costs concerning a future period must be carried forward as a prepayment and charged in that period, and not charged in the current profit and loss account. Expenses of the current period not yet entered in the books must be estimated and inserted accruals (Pizzey, 2001).
Example of matching concept
Jason pays rent for his guest house of 1000 RM per year, in a lump sum at the end of the year. If he did not use the accruals concept, accounts would show zero rent expenses for the first eleven months of operation and then a heavy rent expense at the end of the 12th month. In order to show more realistic and accurate monthly profit and loss accounts, he should “accrue” the sum of RM 1000/12 and then adjust for any differences at the end of the year.
3.3 Prudence Concept
The prudence concept is often referred to as the conservatism concept. The preparation of accounts requires judgements to be made about the future and because of the uncertainties associated with this a prudent or cautious approach is required profit determination. Under this concept all expected losses should be taken into account immediately they are known about, whereas expected gains are not recognised until actually realized. An example of the widespread use of the prudence concept is closing stock valuation. The normal rules is that closing stock should be valued at cost but if the market value of the stock falls below cost then the market value should be used. This is the ‘lower of cost or net realizable value’ that is generally applied to stock valuations (Pendlebury & Groves, 2004).
The prudence concept is clearly useful in terms of preventing over-optimistic calculations of profit to be reported. Overstatement of profit might lead excessive dividend payments being made or to incorrect investment decision being taken. However, the concept of prudence should not be taken to excess because the understatement of profit which would result might be just as misleading as overstatement and might discourage investment unnecessarily (Pendlebury & Groves, 2004).
3.4 Consistency Concept
In accounting there are often several acceptable ways of determining asset values and the proportion of the cost of assets that should be borne by each accounting period. The consistency concept requires there to be consistency if treatment of like items within each accounting period and from one period to the next. In other words once one of the generally accepted methods is chosen then the method should usually be used consistently from year to year (Pendlebury & Groves, 2004).
However, if there are compelling and justifiable reasons for changing the method of valuing a particular item. E.g. closing stock, then this is permitted under the consistency concept, but the impact of the change on current year profit and the impact the change would have had on accounts of the previous year should be reported to provide comparability (Pendlebury & Groves, 2004).
4.0 Users and Uses of financial statements and accounting information
There are different kinds of users of financial statements. The users of financial statements may be inside or outside the business. They use financial statements for a large variety of business purposes and their ability to understand and analyse financial statements helps them to succeed in the business world.
4.1 Classification of Users of Financial accounting Information
The five users of financial statements are classified and explained as follows:
Investors are concerned about risk and return in relation to their investments. They require information to decide whether they should continue to invest in a business. They also need to be able to assess whether a business will be able to pay dividends, and to measure the overall performance of the business’ management (Riley, 2012).
Customers require information about the ability of the business to survive and prosper. As customers of the company’s products, they have a long-term interest in the company’s range of products and services. They may even be dependent on the business for certain products or services (Riley, 2012).
Employees are seeking security of employment and a return for the work they do. Employees would therefore be looking for indications that the company is doing well enough to continue to trade into the future and is doing well enough to continue to employ them and is able to meet the salary and wages bill each month. If there is any profit or performance related component to the remuneration they will also be interested in the company performance and how close it is to triggering the bonus payments (Riley, 2012).
There are many government agencies and departments that are interested in accounting information. For example, the IR&CE needs information on business profitability in order to levy and collect Corporation Tax. For example: Various regulatory agencies (e.g. the Competition Commission and the Environment Agency) need information to support decisions about takeovers and grants (Riley, 2012).
The banks are a common source of short term funds for an organisation, and the place where cash is deposited as it is received. If the bank gives loan to the company then they will be interested in the ability of the company to pay its interest and the loan amount back on the due dates. How profitable the company is and how good it is being managed will be important areas they will look at. In the case of small businesses this will revolve around the faith they have in the owner/manager (Riley, 2012).
4.2 Classification of uses of financial accounting information
Accounting provides companies with various pieces of information regarding business operations. It is often conducted by a company’s internal accounting department and reviewed by a public accounting firm. Small businesses often have significantly less financial information recorded during the accounting process. However, business owners often review this financial information to determine how well their business is operating. Accounting information can also provide insight on growing or expanding current business operations (Vitez, 2012).
A common use of accounting information is measuring the performance of various business operations. While financial statements are the classic accounting information tool used to assess business operations, business owners may conduct a more thorough analysis of this information when reviewing business operations. Financial ratios use the accounting information reported on financial statements and break it down into leading indicators. These indicators can be compared to other companies in the business environment or an industry standard. This helps business owners understand how well their companies operate compared to other established businesses (Vitez, 2012).
Business owners often use accounting information to create budgets for their companies. Historical financial accounting information provides business owners with a detailed analysis of how their companies have spent money on certain business functions. Business owners often take this accounting information and develop future budgets to ensure they have a financial road map for their businesses. These budgets can also be adjusted based on current accounting information to ensure a business owner does not restrict spending on critical economic resources (Vitez, 2012).
Accounting information is commonly used to make business decisions. Decisions may include expanding current operations, using different economic resources, purchasing new equipment or facilities, estimating future sales or reviewing new business opportunities. Accounting information usually provides business owners information about the cost of various resources or business operations. These costs can be compared to the potential income of new opportunities during the financial analysis process. This process helps business owners understand how current business operations will be affected when expanding or growing their businesses. Opportunities with low income potential and high costs are often rejected by business owners (Vitez, 2012).
External business stakeholders often use accounting information to make investment decisions. Banks, lenders, venture capitalists or private investors often review a company’s accounting information to review its financial health and operational profitability. This provides information about whether or not a small business is a wise investment decision. Many small businesses need external financing to start up or grow. The inability to provide outside lenders or investors with accounting information can severely limit financing opportunities for a small business (Vitez, 2012).
5.0 Why community is important for an organisation
A local community is a group of interacting people sharing an environment. In human communities, intent, belief, resources, preferences, needs, risks, and a number of other conditions may be present and common, affecting the identity of the participants and their degree of cohesiveness (Post, Lawrence, & Weber, 1999).
Business activity occurs within a community, and it is important that the community is considered in major business decisions. Businesses face community in different roles such as they could be potential employees and customers who can help the organisation be successfully. Without the community there would be no business. Community can influence business in different manners such as (Post, Lawrence, & Weber, 1999)
Customers as a community
Community can decrease demand for an organisation’s product because customers are also a part of community. If businesses affect community in a negative manner such as providing low quality product, harming environment by pollution and so on, then customers as a part of community will start reducing their demand for that particular businesses’ product. If demand for their product will decrease then the company would be making a serious loss and without making profit, an organisation cannot survive (Taylorr, 2010).
Employees as a community
Employees are also a part of community and they also have a power to influence an organisation. If an organisation does not play a good role in community, then employees can actually strike or stop working in that organisation. Labour strike is a serious problem for an organisation because it can reduce the production. Reduction in production can also be a loss making situation for an organisation (Taylorr, 2010).
Investors as a community
Investors also play a role as a community for an organisation. By having a bad image in community, it stops investors to invest in particular businesses because investors are concern with their return on investments. If an organisation has a bad image on community, chances are high for decrease in stock value of an enterprise, which will effect investor’s decision of investing in a particular organisation (Taylorr, 2010).
There are many other reasons which create a value of a local community for an organisation while making decisions. The best idea for survival of an entity is to have a good relationship with local community.
5.1 Corporate Social Responsibility
Corporate social responsibility means that a corporation should be held accountable for any of its actions that affect people, their communities, and their environment; it implies that negative business impacts on people and society should be acknowledged and corrected if at all possible. It may require a company to forgo some profits if its social impacts are seriously harmful to some of its stakeholders or if its funds can be used to promote a positive social good (Post, Lawrence, & Weber, 1999).
5.1.1 How corporate social responsibility began
In the United States, the idea of corporate social responsibility appeared around the turn of the twentieth century. Corporation at that time came under attack for being too big, too powerful, and guilty of antisocial and anticompetitive practices. Critics tried to curb corporate power through antitrust laws, banking regulations, and consumer-protection laws.
Faced with this kind of social protest, a few farsighted business executives advised corporations to use their power and influence voluntarily for broad social purposes rather than for profit alone. Some of the wealthier businesses leaders for example steelmaker Andrew Carnegie became great philanthropists who gave much of their wealth to educational and charitable institutions. Other like, automaker Henry Ford, developed paternalistic programs to support the recreational and health needs of their employees. The point to emphasize is that these business leaders believed that business had a responsibility to social that went beyond or worked in parallel with their efforts to make profits (Post, Lawrence, & Weber, 1999).
As a result of these early ideas about business’s expanded role in society, two broad principles emerged which are: The Charity Principle and The Stewardship Principle. These principles have shaped business thinking about social responsibility during the twentieth century and are the foundation stones for the modern ideas of corporate social responsibility (Post, Lawrence, & Weber, 1999).
5.1.2 Importance of Social Governance in businesses
An easy way to build its brand, reputation and public profile
Being socially responsible creates goodwill and a positive image for an organisation. Trust and a good reputation are some of company’s most valuable assets. In fact, without these, one wouldn’t even have a business. One can nurture these important assets by being socially responsible (Taylorr, 2010).
It is however, crucial that an organisation devise the right socially responsible program for their business. When used properly, it will open up a myriad of new relationships and opportunities. Not only will an association success grow, but so will company’s culture. It will become a culture which an entity, its staff and the wider community genuinely believe in (Taylorr, 2010).
It attracts and retains staff
Socially responsible companies report increased employee commitment, performance and job satisfaction. By attracting, retaining and engaging staff, ‘doing well’ for others reduces an organisation’s recruitment costs and improves work productivity (Taylorr, 2010).
It attracts more customers
Branding business as ‘socially responsible’ differentiates it from competitors. The Body Shop and Westpac are companies who have used this to their advantage. Developing innovative products that are environmentally or socially responsible add values and gives people a good reason to buy from that organisation (Taylorr, 2010).
It attracts more investors
Investors and financiers are attracted to companies who are socially responsible. These decision-makers know this reflects good management and a positive reputation. Businesses should not underestimate this influence; it can be just as important as a company’s financial performance. In fact, it may be the deciding factor in choosing to support company (Taylorr, 2010).
It encourages professional and personal growth
Employee can develop their leadership and project management skills through a well-designed corporate social responsibility program. This may be as simple as team building exercises, encouraging employees to form relationships with people they would not normally meet (Taylorr, 2010).
It helps to cut business costs
Environmental initiatives such as recycling and conserving energy increase in-house efficiency and cut costs. Introducing a corporate social responsibility program gives an organisation a good reason to examine and improve on its spending (Taylorr, 2010).
After conducting this report we have learn that departmental accounting is compulsory for an organisation with more than one department because it make business activities more effective. Another thing we have learn is it very important for a survival in a local community to perform corporate social responsibilities, without doing right for community it’s hard for an organisation to survive in long term. Furthermore we have learnt that it is compulsory for businesses to apply fundamental concepts while preparing financial statements.
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