Financial Control
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    Financial Control Financial Control Presentation Transcript

    • Financial Control Chapter 12
    • What are Financial Controls?
      • Financial control involves the use of financial measures to assess organization and management performance
        • The focus of attention could be a product, a product line, an organization department, a division, or the entire organization
      • Financial control provides a counterpoint to the balanced scorecard view that links financial results to its presumed drivers
        • Focuses only on financial results
    • The Environment of Financial Control
      • Organizations have developed and exploited financial measures to assess performance and target areas for improvement because external stakeholders have traditionally relied on financial performance measures to assess organization potential
    • The Environment of Financial Control
      • Financial measures do not identify what is wrong, but they do provide a signal that something is wrong and needs attention
    • Financial Control
      • This chapter focuses on broader issues in financial control, including the evaluation of organization units and of the entire organization
      • Managers use and consider both:
        • Internal financial controls
          • Information used internally and not distributed to outsiders
        • External financial controls
          • Developed by outside analysts to assess organization performance
    • Decentralization
      • Decentralization is the process of delegating decision making authority down the organization hierarchy
      • Highly centralized organizations tend not to respond effectively or quickly to their environments
    • Decentralization
      • Centralization is best suited to organizations that:
        • Are well adapted to stable environments
        • Have no major information differences between the corporate headquarters and the employees
        • Have no changes in the organization’s environment that required adaptation by the organization
    • Centralized Organizations
      • In centralized organizations:
        • Technology and customer requirements are well understood
        • The product line consists mostly of commodity products for which the most important attributes are price and quality
    • Centralized Organizations
      • To accomplish this, organizations develop standard operating procedures to ensure that:
        • They are using the most efficient technologies and practices to promote both low cost and consistent quality
        • There are no deviations from the preferred way of doing things
    • Changing Environment
      • In response to increasing competitive pressures and the opening up of former monopolies to competition, many organizations are changing the way they are organized and the way they do business
      • This is necessary because they must be able to change quickly in a world where technology, customer tastes, and competitors’ strategies are constantly changing
    • Becoming More Adaptive
      • Being adaptive generally requires that the organization’s senior management delegate or decentralize decision-making responsibility to more people in the organization
      • Decentralization :
        • Allows motivated and well-trained organization members to identify changing customer tastes quickly
        • Gives front-line employees the authority and responsibility to develop plans to react to these changes
    • Degrees of Decentralization
      • The amount of decentralization reflects the organization’s need to have people on the front lines who can make good decisions quickly and:
        • The organization’s trust in its employees
        • The employees’ level of skill and training
        • The employees’ ability to make the right choices
    • From Task to Results Control
      • In decentralization, control moves from task control to results control
        • From where people are told what to do
        • To where people are told to use their skill, knowledge, and creativity to improve results
    • Responsibility Centers
      • A responsibility center is an organization unit for which a manager is made responsible
      • A responsibility center is like a small business
      • But it is not completely autonomous
        • Its manager is asked to run that small business to promote the best interests of the larger organization
    • Responsibility Centers
      • The manager and supervisor establish goals for their responsibility center
      • These goals should:
        • Be specific and measurable so as to provide employees with focus
        • Promote the long-term interests of the larger organization
        • Promote the coordination of each responsibility center’s activities with the efforts of all the others
    • Coordinating Responsibility Centers
      • For an organization to be successful, the activities of its responsibility units must be coordinated
      • Sales, manufacturing, and customer service activities are often very disjointed in large organizations, resulting in diminished performance
        • In general, nonfinancial performance measures detect coordination problems better than financial measures
    • Responsibility Centers & Financial Control
      • Organizations use financial control to provide a summary measure of how well their systems of operations control are working
      • When organizations use a single index to provide a broad assessment of operations, they frequently use a financial number because it is a measure that describes the primary objectives of shareowners in profit-seeking organizations
    • Responsibility Center Types
      • The accounting report prepared for a responsibility center reflects the degree to which the responsibility center manager controls revenue, cost, profit, or return on investment
      • Four types of responsibility centers:
          • Cost centers
          • Revenue centers
          • Profit centers
          • Investment centers
    • Cost Center
      • A responsibility center in which employees control costs but do not control revenues or investment level
      • Organizations evaluate the performance of cost center employees by comparing the center’s actual costs with target or standard cost levels for the amount and type of work done
    • Other Issues in Cost Center Control
      • Many organizations make the mistake of evaluating a cost center solely on its ability to control costs
      • Other critical performance measures may include:
        • Quality
        • Response time
        • Meeting production schedules
        • Employee safety
        • Respect for the organization’s ethical and environmental commitments
    • Other Issues in Cost Center Control
      • If management evaluates cost center performance only on the center’s ability to control costs, its members may ignore unmeasured attributes of performance
    • Revenue Center
      • A responsibility center whose members control revenues but control neither the manufacturing or acquisition cost of the product or service they sell nor the level of investment made in the responsibility center
      • Some revenue centers control price, the mix of stock carried, and promotional activities
    • Costs Incurred by Revenue Centers
      • Most revenue centers incur sales and marketing costs and have varying degrees of control over those costs
      • It is common in such situations to deduct the responsibility center’s traceable costs from its sales revenue to compute the center’s net revenue
        • Traceable costs may include salaries, advertising costs, and selling costs
    • Drawbacks of Revenue Centers
      • Critics of the revenue center approach argue that basing performance evaluation on revenues can create undesirable consequences
      • In general, focusing only on revenues causes organization members to increase the use of activities that create costs in order to promote higher revenue levels
    • Profit Center
      • A responsibility center where managers and other employees control both the revenues and the costs of the product or service they deliver
      • A profit center is like an independent business, except that senior management, not the responsibility center manager, controls the level of investment in the responsibility center
      • Most units of chain operations are treated as profit centers
    • Profit Centers?
      • It is doubtful that a unit of a corporate-owned hotel or fast-food restaurant meets the conditions to be treated as a profit center
      • These units are sufficiently large that:
        • Costs may vary due to differences in controlling labor costs, food waste, and scheduled hours
        • Revenues may also shift significantly based on how well staff manages the property
    • Profit Centers?
      • Although these organizations do not seem to be candidates to be treated as profit centers, local discretion often affects revenues and costs enough so that they can be
      • Many organizations evaluate units as profit centers even though the corporate office controls many facets of their operations
        • The profit reported by these units reflects both corporate and local decisions
    • Profit Centers? (3 of 3)
      • If unit performance is poor, it may reflect:
        • Poor conditions no one in the organization can control
        • Poor corporate decisions
        • Poor local decisions
      • Organizations should not rely solely on profit center’s financial results for performance evaluations
        • Detailed performance evaluations should include quality, material use, labor use, and service measures that the local units can control
    • Investment Center
      • A responsibility center in which the manager and other employees control revenues, costs, and the level of investment in the responsibility center
      • For example, between 1970 and 2000 General Electric acquired many businesses
        • Including aircraft engines, medical systems, power systems, transportation systems, consumer products, industrial systems, broadcasting, plastics, specialty materials, and financial services
      • Senior executives at General Electric developed a management system that evaluated these businesses as independent operations – in effect as investment centers
    • Evaluating Responsibility Centers
      • Underlying the accounting classifications of responsibility centers is the concept of controllability
      • The controllability principle states that the manager of a responsibility center should be held responsible only for the revenues, costs, or investment that responsibility center personnel control
    • Evaluating Responsibility Centers
      • Revenues, costs, or investments that people outside the responsibility center control should be excluded from the accounting assessment of that center’s performance
      • Although the controllability principle sounds appealing and fair, it can be difficult, misleading, and undesirable to apply in practice
    • Problems with the Controllability Principle
      • A significant problem in applying the controllability principle is that in most organizations many revenues and costs are jointly earned or incurred
        • The activities that create the final product are sequential and interdependent
        • Evaluating the individual performance of one center requires the firm to consider many facets of performance
    • Problems with the Controllability Principle
      • As part of the performance evaluation process, the organization may want to prepare accounting summaries of the performance of individual units to support some system of financial control
    • Using Performance Measures to Influence v. Evaluate Decisions
      • The choice of the performance measure may influence decision-making behavior
      • When more costs or even revenues are included in performance measures, managers are more motivated to find actions that can influence incurred costs or generated revenues
    • Example from a Dairy
      • A dairy faced the problem of developing performance standards in an environment of continuously rising costs
        • The costs of raw materials, which were 60% - 90% of the final costs, were market determined
        • Should the evaluation of the managers depend on their ability to control the quantity of raw materials used rather than the cost?
      • Senior management announced that it would evaluate managers on their ability to control total costs
    • Example from a Dairy
      • The managers quickly discovered that one way to control raw materials costs was through long-term fixed price contracts for raw materials
        • Contracts led to declining raw materials costs
        • The company could project product costs several quarters into the future, thereby achieving lower costs and stability in planning and product pricing
      • When more costs or revenues are included in performance measures, managers are more motivated to find actions that can influence incurred costs or generated revenues
    • Using Segment Margin Reports
      • Despite the problems of responsibility center accounting, the profit measure is so comprehensive and pervasive that organizations prefer to treat many of their organization units as profit centers
      • Because most organizations are integrated operations, the first problem designers of profit center accounting systems must confront is the interactions between the various profit center units
    • The Segment Margin Report
      • A common form of the segment margin report for an organization that is divided into responsibility centers includes one column for each profit center
      • The revenue attributed to each profit center is the first entry in each column
      • Variable costs are deducted from its revenue to determine the contribution margin
      • The costs not proportional to volume are deducted from each center’s contribution margin to determine that unit’s segment margin
    • The Segment Margin Report
      • Allocated avoidable costs are deducted from the unit’s segment margin to compute its income
      • The organization’s unallocated costs, which represent the administrative and overhead costs incurred regardless of the scale of operations, are deducted from the total of the profit center incomes to arrive at total profit
    • Evaluating the Segment Margin Report
      • What can we learn from the segment margin report?
      • The contribution margin for each responsibility center is the value added by the manufacturing or service-creating process before considering costs that are not proportional to volume
      • A unit’s segment margin is an estimate of its short-term effect on the organization’s profit
    • Evaluating the Segment Margin Report
      • The unit’s income is an estimate of the long-term effect of the responsibility center’s shutdown on the organization’s profit after fixed capacity is allowed to adjust
      • The difference between the unit’s segment margin and income reflects the effect of adjusting for business-sustaining costs
    • Good or Bad Numbers?
      • Organizations use different approaches to evaluate whether the segment margin numbers are good or bad
      • Two sources of comparative information are:
        • Is performance this period reasonable, given past experience?
        • How does performance compare with similar organizations?
      • Evaluations include comparisons of:
        • Absolute amounts, such as cost or revenue levels
        • Relative amounts, such as each item’s % of revenue
    • Interpreting Reports with Caution
      • Segment margin statements should be interpreted carefully, however, because they reflect many assumptions that disguise underlying issues
        • Segment margins present an aggregated summary of each organization unit’s past performance
          • Important to consider critical success factors that will affect future profits
    • Interpreting Reports with Caution
        • Segment margin reports usually contain “soft numbers”
          • Allocations that may be quite arbitrary and over which there can be legitimate disagreement
          • These assumptions relate to the transfer pricing issue, which focuses on how revenues the organization earns can be divided among all the responsibility centers that contribute to earning those revenues
    • Transfer Pricing
      • Transfer pricing is the set of rules an organization uses to allocate jointly earned revenue among responsibility centers
      • To understand the issues and problems associated with allocating revenues in a simple organization, consider the activities that occur when a customer purchases a new car at a dealership:
    • Transfer Pricing
        • The new car department sells the new car and takes in a used car as a trade
        • The used car is transferred to the used car department
        • There, it may undergo repairs and service to make it ready for sale, or may be sold externally on the wholesale market
      • The value placed on the used car transferred between the new and used car departments is critical in determining the profits of both departments:
    • Transfer Pricing
        • The new car department would like the value assigned to the used car to be as high as possible to increase revenue
        • The used car department would like the value to be as low as possible because that makes its reported costs lower
      • The same considerations apply for any product or service transfer between any two departments in the same organization
    • Approaches to Transfer Pricing
      • Organizations choose among four main approaches to transfer pricing:
        • Market-based transfer prices
        • Cost-based transfer prices
        • Negotiated transfer prices
        • Administered transfer prices
      • Transfer prices serve different purposes; however, the goal of using transfer prices is always to motivate the decision maker to act in the organization’s best interests
    • Market-Based Transfer Prices
      • If external markets exist for the intermediate (transferred) product or service, then market prices are the most appropriate basis for pricing the transferred good or service between responsibility centers
      • The market price provides an independent valuation of the transferred product or service, and of how much each profit center has contributed to the total profit earned by the organization on the transaction
    • Cost-Based Transfer Prices
      • Some common cost-based transfer prices are:
        • Variable cost
        • Variable cost plus a percent markup on variable cost
        • Full cost
        • Full cost plus a percent markup on full cost
      • Economists argue that any cost-based transfer price other than marginal cost leads organization members to choose a lower than optimal level of transactions
    • Problems with Cost-Based Price
      • Cost-based approaches to transfer pricing do not support the intention of having the transfer pricing mechanism support the calculation of unit incomes
      • Transfer prices based on actual costs provide no incentive to the supplying division to control costs, since the supplier can always recover its costs
    • Problems with Cost-Based Price
      • Cost-based pricing does not provide the proper economic guidance when operations are capacity constrained
        • Production decisions near full capacity should reflect the most profitable use of the capacity, not only cost considerations
        • The transfer price should be the sum of the marginal cost and the opportunity cost of capacity, where opportunity cost reflects the profit of the best alternative use of the capacity
    • Interesting Variations
      • A dual rate approach - the receiving division is charged only for the variable costs of producing the unit supplied and the supplying division is credited with the net realizable value of the unit supplied
        • This lets marginal cost influence the decisions of the buying division while giving the selling division credit for an imputed profit on the transferred good or service
        • Target variable cost includes the number of standard hours allowed for the work done multiplied by the standard cost per hour, in addition to an assignment of the supplying division’s committed costs
    • Cost Allocations to Support Financial Control
      • Organizations should design and present responsibility center income statements in such a way that they isolate the discretionary components included in the calculation of each center’s reported income
        • Show the revenue and variable costs separately from the other costs in the profit calculation
        • Separate from the indirect or joint costs that are allocated
    • Allocation of Indirect Costs
      • Many different activity bases for selecting a method to allocate indirect costs
      • Allocating indirect costs in proportion to benefit is one option
    • Interpreting Segment Financials
      • Responsibility center income statements should be interpreted with considerable caution and healthy skepticism
      • They may include arbitrary and questionable revenue and cost allocations
      • They often disguise interrelationships among the responsibility centers
    • Negotiated Transfer Price
      • Some organizations allow supplying and receiving responsibility centers to negotiate transfer prices between themselves
      • Negotiated transfer prices reflect the controllability perspective inherent in responsibility centers, since each division is ultimately responsible for the transfer price that it negotiates
        • Negotiated transfer prices and therefore production decisions may reflect the relative negotiating skills of the two parties rather than economic considerations
    • Optimal Transfer Price
      • In an economic sense, the optimal transfer price results when the purchasing unit offers to pay the net realizable value of the last unit supplied for all the units supplied
        • The net realizable value of a unit of transferred material is the selling price of the product less all the costs that remain to prepare the final product for sale
      • If the supplying unit is acting optimally, it chooses to supply units until its marginal cost equals the transfer price offered by the purchasing unit
    • Problem with Negotiated Prices
      • Problems arise when negotiating transfer prices, because the bilateral bargaining situation causes:
        • The supplying division to want a higher than optimal price
        • The receiving division to want a lower than optimal price
      • When the actual transfer price is different from the optimal transfer price, the organization as a whole suffers
    • Administered Transfer Price
      • An arbitrator or a manager applies some policy to set administered transfer prices
        • Organizations often used administered transfer prices when a particular transaction occurs frequently
      • Such prices reflect neither pure economic considerations, as do market-based or cost-based transfer prices, nor accountability considerations, as negotiated transfer prices do
    • Administered Transfer Price
      • Administered transfer prices inevitably create subsidies among responsibility centers
        • Subsidies obscure the normal economic interpretation of responsibility center income
        • Subsidies may provide a negative motivational effect if members of a responsibility center believe the rules are unfair
    • Transfer Prices Based on Equity Considerations
      • Administered transfer prices are usually based on cost
      • Sometimes administered transfer prices are based on equity considerations:
        • Relative cost method
        • Base the allocation of cost on the profits that each manager derives from using the asset
        • Assign each manager an equal share of the asset’s cost
    • Assigning and Valuing Assets in Investment Centers
      • When companies use investment centers to evaluate responsibility center performance, there are:
        • All the problems associated with profit centers
        • Plus some new problems unique to investment centers
      • The additional problems concern how to identify and value the assets used by each investment center
    • Determining Level of Asset Use
      • In determining the level of assets that a responsibility center uses, the management accountant must assign the responsibility for:
        • Jointly used assets
        • Jointly created assets
      • Once decision makers have assigned assets to investment centers, they must determine the value of those assets
        • What cost should be used—historical cost, net book value, replacement cost, or net realizable value?
    • Measuring Return on Investment
      • Dupont, as a multiproduct firm, pioneered the systematic use of return on investment (ROI) to evaluate the profitability of its different lines of business
      • ROI = Income/ Investment
      • The following slide presents Dupont’s approach to financial control in summary form
    • The Dupont ROI Control System
    • The Dupont System
      • The Dupont system of financial control focuses on ROI and breaks that measure into two components:
        • A return measure that assesses efficiency
        • A turnover measure that assesses productivity
      • It is possible to compare these individual and group efficiency measures with those of similar organization units or competitors
    • The Dupont System
      • The productivity ratio of sales to investment allows development of separate turnover measures for the key items of investment
        • The elements of working capital
          • Inventories, accounts receivable, cash
        • The elements of permanent investment
          • Equipment and buildings
      • Comparisons of these turnover ratios with those of similar units or those of competitors suggest where improvements are required
    • Assessing Productivity Using Financial Control
      • The most widely accepted definition of productivity is the ratio of output over input
      • Organizations develop productivity measures for all factors of production, including people, raw materials, and equipment
    • Questioning The ROI Approach
      • Despite its popularity, ROI has been criticized as a means of financial control:
        • too narrow for effective control
        • profit-seeking organizations should make investments in order of declining profitability until the marginal cost of capital of the last dollar invested equals the marginal return generated by that dollar
    • Using Economic Value Added
      • Economic value added ( EVA —previously called residual income ) equals income less the economic cost of the investment used to generate that income
        • If a division’s income is $13.5 million and the division uses $100 million of capital, which has an average cost of 10%:
          • Economic value added = Income – Cost of capital
          • =$13,500,000 – ($100,000,000 x 10%)
          • =$3,500,000
    • Using Economic Value Added
      • Like ROI, EVA evaluates income relative to the level of investment required to earn that income
      • Unlike ROI, EVA does not motivate managers to turn down investments that are expected to earn more than their cost of capital
      • Recently, EVA has been extended to adjust GAAP income for the conservative approach that GAAP uses to determine income and value assets
    • Using Economic Value Added
      • Organizations now use economic value added to identify products or product lines that are not contributing their share to organization return, given the level of investment they require
        • These organizations have used activity-based costing analysis to assign assets and costs to individual products, services, or customers
        • This allows them to calculate the EVA by product, product line, or customer
      • Organizations can also use economic value added to evaluate operating strategies
    • The Efficacy of Financial Control
      • Critics of financial control have argued that:
        • Financial information is delayed—and highly aggregated—information about how well the organization is doing in meeting its commitments to its shareowners
        • This information measures neither the drivers of the financial results nor how well the organization is doing in meeting its other stakeholders’ requirements
    • The Efficacy of Financial Control
      • Financial control may be an ineffective control scorecard for three reasons:
        • Focuses on financial measures that do not measure the organization’s other important attributes
        • Measures the financial effect of the overall level of performance achieved on the critical success factors, and it ignores the performance achieved on the individual critical success factors
        • Oriented to short-term profit performance, seldom focusing on long-term improvement or trend analysis, instead considering how well the organization or one of its responsibility centers has performed this quarter or this year
    • The Efficacy of Financial Control
      • If used properly, financial results provide crucial help in assessing the organization’s long-term viability and in identifying processes that need improvement
      • Financial control should be supported by other tools since it is only a summary of performance
      • Financial control does not try to measure other facets of performance that may be critical to the organization’s stakeholders and vital to the organization’s long-term success
    • The Efficacy of Financial Control
      • Financial control can provide an overall assessment of whether the organization’s strategies and decisions are providing acceptable financial returns
      • Organizations can also use financial control to compare one unit’s results against another