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Chapter 1

Learning Objectives

Managerial Accounting and the Business Environment

LO1. Identify the major differences and similarities between financial and managerial accounting. LO2. Understand the role of management accountants in an organization. LO3. Understand the basic concepts underlying Just-In-Time (JIT), Total Quality Management (TQM), Process Reengineering, and the Theory of Constraints (TOC). LO4. Understand the importance of upholding ethical standards.

New in this Edition

• The discussions of JIT, TQM, and Process Reengineering have been condensed.

• Many new In Business focus boxes have been written.

Chapter Overview

A. Managerial vs. Financial Accounting. It is a good idea to begin the course by

contrasting managerial with financial accounting. Financial accounting is concerned with reports to owners, creditors, and others outside of the company. Managerial accounting is concerned with reports prepared for the internal use of management. Since these are internal reports, there is no requirement that management accounting reports conform to GAAP. Indeed, it is desirable to depart from GAAP in some instances.

B. Organizations. (Exercise 1-1.) A review of the work of managers and the organizations

in which they operate is useful. You may want to take a few moments and discuss some organizations that students are familiar with. Examples of organizations that students may mention include: sole proprietorships, partnerships, corporations, churches, cities, military units, social clubs, foundations, and families. With the various types of organizations listed, focus on two points.

1. An organization consists of people who are brought together for some common purpose. It is a group of people working together that is the essence of any organization, not the particular assets used by these people.

2. People work together in an organization in order to attain some goals. The objectives or goals may be clearly stated, but often they are not. The financial objectives for most organizations, even if not articulated, are fairly straightforward. In commercial enterprises, the primary goal is ordinarily to maximize profits or to at least earn a “satisfactory profit.”


In nonprofit organizations, avoiding losses is more of a constraint than a goal. Nevertheless, managers need virtually the same information to avoid losses that they need to maximize profits. While we usually talk about profit-making companies in the course, almost everything we say applies as well to nonprofit organizations.

C. The Work of Management and the Planning and Control Cycle. (Exercise 1-1.)

While it is clearly a simplification, the work of managers can be usefully classified as planning, directing and motivating, and controlling. All of these activities involve making decisions.

1. Planning consists of strategic planning and developing more detailed short-term plans. Most of what we refer to below is with reference to the more detailed short-term plans.

2. Directing and motivating involves mobilizing people to implement the plan.

3. Control is concerned with ensuring that the plan is followed. The accounting function plays a major role in the control phase. Accountants maintain the databases and prepare the reports that provide feedback to managers. The feedback can be used to reward particularly successful employees, but more importantly the feedback can be used to identify potential problems and opportunities that were not anticipated in the plan. Based on feedback, it may be desirable to modify the plan. The feedback can be also used to identify parts of the organization that need help and those parts that can provide advice and assistance to others.

4. Decision-making is an integral part of the other three management activities.

D. Need for Information. Accurate and timely accounting information helps management

plan effectively and to focus attention on deviations from plans. In the planning stage, managers make decisions concerning which alternatives should be selected. Financial information is often a vital component of this decision-making. Once the alternatives have been selected, detailed planning is possible. These detailed plans are usually stated in the form of budgets. The control function of management is aided by performance reports that compare actual performance to the budget. This feedback mechanism directs attention to activities where managerial attention is needed.

E. Comparison of Financial and Managerial Accounting. Financial and managerial

accounting both rely on the same basic accounting database, although managerial accountants often accumulate and use additional data. However, important differences exist between the two disciplines:

1. Financial Accounting:

• Is concerned with reports made to those outside the organization.

• Summarizes the financial consequences of past activities.

• Emphasizes precision and verifiability.

• Summarizes data for the entire organization.

• Must follow GAAP since the reports are made to outsiders and are audited.

• Is required for publicly-held companies and by lenders.

2. Managerial Accounting:

• Is concerned with information for the internal use of management.

• Emphasizes the future.

• Emphasizes relevance and flexibility of data.


• Places more emphasis on non-monetary data and timeliness and less emphasis on precision.

• Emphasizes the segments of an organization rather than the organization as a whole.

• Is not governed by GAAP.

• Is not required by external regulatory bodies or by lenders.

F. Organizational Structure. (Exercise 1-1.) Organizational structure refers to the way in

which responsibilities and authority are distributed within an organization.

1. Centralization vs. decentralization. At one extreme is a totally centralized organization in which the boss makes all decisions. The opposite extreme is a totally decentralized organization where decisions are made at the lowest possible level in the organization. Centralization tends to be favored in situations where information is centralized and control is important. Decentralization tends to be favored in situations where information is dispersed and centralized control is less important.

2. Organization charts. Exhibit 1-3 is useful in discussing the structure of an organization. Informal communication links are particularly important.

3. Line and staff relationships. Exhibit 1-3 is also useful for discussing line and staff positions. A line manager is directly engaged in attaining the organization’s objectives. People in staff positions provide support to the line positions. Especially important to note here is that the accounting function is a staff position.

4. The Chief Financial Officer. The controller is the manager in charge of the accounting department and he/she reports to the Chief Financial Officer (CFO). The CFO is usually a member of the top-management team and should be an active participant in the planning, control, and decision-making processes at the very highest levels in the organization.

G. The Changing Business Environment. (Exercise 1-2.) Over the last two decades,

competition in many industries has become global and the pace of innovation in products and services has accelerated. While this has generally been good news for consumers, it has resulted in wrenching changes in business, including the advent of the internet. Many companies now realize that they must continuously improve in order to remain competitive.

1. Improvement programs come and go and have almost as many names as there are consulting firms engaged in marketing continuous improvement programs. The boundaries between the various approaches are blurry.

2. Historically, Just-In-Time (JIT) was developed first. While JIT has its roots in the Rouge River automotive plant built by Henry Ford in the 1920s, it was most fully developed by Toyota in Japan. We use the term JIT narrowly to refer to minimum inventory production systems. The use of the term JIT to refer to continuous improvement programs in general has fallen out of use.

3. In the text, we very briefly describe the major characteristics of three other general approaches to continuous improvement—Total Quality Management (TQM), Process Reengineering, and the Theory of Constraints (TOC). These approaches are not mutually exclusive. They can be used together in concert. Indeed, TQM and Process Reengineering may be most effective when they are combined with TOC.



A key concept in continual improvement is that improvement never ends. After every improvement, a new opportunity for improvement is sought out.

5. While not emphasized in the text, you may want to point out that these various improvement programs are not always successful. Advocates of the various programs will invariably claim that failures are due to poor implementation or to lack of support by top management. While these two factors undoubtedly account for many of the failures, we suspect that the improvement programs are not as universally appropriate as their proponents claim. For example, a TQM program that is focused on improving non- constraint workstations will have difficulty translating operational improvements into additional profits.

H. Just-In-Time. The term JIT means that materials are received just in time to be used in

production, manufactured parts are completed just in time to be assembled into products, and products are completed just in time to be shipped to customers. As a result, inventories are virtually eliminated in a JIT system.

1. JIT uses a “pull” approach to production control.

a. At the final assembly stage, a signal is sent to the preceding workstation as to the exact amount of parts and materials needed for the next few hours. Similar signals are sent back through each preceding workstation. All workstations respond to the pull exerted by the final assembly stage, which in turn responds to customer demands.

b. In contrast, in a conventional production control system each workstation completes its processing and “pushes” partially completed components forward to the next workstation. This is done regardless of whether the next workstation is ready to receive the components or whether anyone actually wants to buy the finished product. The result is that work in process tends to build up in front of the workstations that are inherently slower than the others. The overriding concern in many conventional facilities is to keep all the workstations busy all of the time. Since the capacities at workstations differ, this necessarily results in piles of work in process inventories in front of the workstations with lower capacities.

c. The pull approach used in JIT reduces inventories since workstations do not produce anything unless it has already been requested by a downstream workstation and ultimately by customers.

2. The causes of excessive inventory.

a. Some inventories are usually maintained to guard against stock-outs. These inventories can be cut if the time required to make a product is reduced to the point that current customer demands can be met with current production.

b. Poor coordination among workstations can lead to excessive inventories.

c. Large batch sizes lead to excessive inventories.

d. The desire to “keep everyone busy” often leads to inventory buildups. The market may not be able to absorb everything the plant can make. Moreover, differing capacities at


workstations will inevitably lead to buildups of work in process inventories in front of the workstations with lower capacities. (See the discussion above.)

I. Key Elements of JIT. In addition to JIT purchasing, successful JIT production control

systems usually have the following four key characteristics:

1. Improved plant layout. The layout of the plant should be improved to reduce distances work in process must travel. In conventional plant layouts, all of the machines of a similar class are grouped together in one location. For example, all of the milling machines are usually in one location and all of the drilling machines in another. Consequently, work in process must often move long distances between operations. There are a number of problems with this. First, moving components around the plant results in unnecessary costs. Second, moving introduces delay. The components sit around waiting to be moved and then it takes time to actually move them. Third, it is difficult to keep track of individual items when the inventory is scattered all over the factory floor.

2. Reduced setup time. Reduced setup time provides the capability to respond quickly to customer orders and reduces the need for safety stocks.

3. Low defect rates. A company should constantly strive to reduce the defects. Large numbers of defects require that excess work in process be put into production to ensure that there will be sufficient defect-free output to meet customer orders. Therefore, defects should be eliminated as much as possible in a JIT program.

4. Flexible workforce. Workers should be multi-skilled in a JIT environment, which is often organized into small “cells” that contain all of the equipment required to carry out many steps in the production process. Workers need to be able to use all of the various pieces of equipment in the work cell. Also, workers are typically expected to perform maintenance tasks on their own equipment and to do their own quality inspections.

K. Benefits of JIT. Among the benefits resulting of using JIT are the following:

1. Inventories are reduced. In addition to releasing funds tied up in financing inventories (see below), smaller inventories reduce the risk of potential losses due to obsolescence.

2. Space is freed up. Areas that were previously devoted to storing inventories are made available for more productive uses.

3. Throughput time is reduced. This makes it easier to respond to customer demands and can be a very significant competitive advantage.

4. Defect rates are reduced. Operating without large work in process inventories makes it much easier to quickly identify and correct production problems. This latter point cannot be overemphasized. Excessive work in process inventories make it very difficult to detect and diagnose problems. When a facility operates without significant inventories, it is running “naked.” Problems become quickly apparent and can be dealt with in a timely manner.



Total Quality Management (TQM). Total Quality Management means different

things to different people. Nevertheless, most TQM programs seem to share at least two common elements—a focus on the customer and systematic problem-solving using teams made up largely of front-line workers.


TQM tools. TQM tools include the plan-do-check-act cycle, Pareto analysis, fishbone charts, storyboards, statistical process control, and benchmarking. We defer discussion of all of these tools except benchmarking to operations management courses.


Benchmarking involves studying the best practices of other organizations to learn how to do things better and as a means of setting goals. For example, a large bakery might study the distribution system of a successful florist to improve its own distribution system.


TQM empowers employees. TQM empowers those who are closest to problems and it focuses attention on fact-based problem solving rather than on finger pointing. For an exceptionally lucid overview of TQM that emphasizes these points, see Wruck and Jensen, “Science, Specific Knowledge, and Total Quality Management,” Journal of Accounting and Economics, 18, 1994, pp. 247-287.


Process Reengineering. The boundaries between Process Reengineering on the one hand

and JIT and TQM on the other hand are fuzzy. A successful JIT implementation almost always involves some Process Reengineering—although it may not be called by that name. And some TQM advocates would no doubt claim that Process Reengineering is just a special case of TQM. To prevent confusion, we have attempted in the text to draw the sharpest distinction we can between Process Reengineering and the other two methods.

1. Process Reengineering involves completely redesigning a business process from the ground

up. In this respect, it can be differentiated from TQM, which tends to emphasize small,

incremental improvements.

2. Process Reengineering begins by flowcharting whatever business process is under examination. Quite often, the flowchart reveals a Rube Goldberg-like process that has been thrown together over time in response to various problems.

3. Non-value-added activities in the flowchart are identified. These are activities that take time or consume resources but that do not add any value that the customer is willing to pay for.

4. The process is redesigned with a focus on simplification and elimination of non-value- added activities.

5. Unfortunately, Process Reengineering often fails because of behavioral problems.

a. By simplifying and eliminating non-value-added activities, it should be possible to design a process that gets the job done with fewer resources than before. This often means that fewer workers will be required. If management lays off the surplus workers or transfers them to less desirable jobs, morale suffers and further process reengineering efforts will very likely be resisted by employees. Management should develop plans for redeploying surplus resources—including people—even before the














b. Reengineering is often guided by consultants or staff specialists who recommend dramatic changes in how jobs are performed. Consequently, reengineering is likely to be resisted by front-line workers. Management must work hard to ensure that workers do not feel threatened by reengineering and that their legitimate concerns are taken into account.

N. Theory of Constraints (TOC). As with JIT, TQM, and Process Reengineering, we

barely scratch the surface of the Theory of Constraints in the text. For additional background, we recommend THE GOAL: Second Revised Edition, by Goldratt and Cox.

1. Every organization has at least one constraint. It is easiest to think about this in the context of a factory whose production cannot keep up with demand. In that case, the constraint is inside the factory. Ordinarily, the constraint will be the workstation with the lowest rate of output (and smallest capacity).

2. The output of the entire system (in this case, the factory) is determined by the rate of output (i.e., the capacity) of the constraint. The non-constraints have excess capacity.

3. To increase the output of the system the average rate of output through the constraint must be increased. The constraint should never be starved for work and improvement efforts should be focused on the constraint.

4. If improvement efforts are focused on a non-constraint, the end result will be an increase in the amount of excess capacity. This will be beneficial only if the excess capacity can be transferred in some way to the constraint or costs can be reduced by eliminating excess capacity. However, as noted above, eliminating excess capacity can have a negative impact on morale if it involves layoffs.

5. If improvement efforts are focused on the constraint (as they usually should be), its rate of output may improve to the point that it is no longer the constraint. The constraint would then shift elsewhere. At that point, improvement efforts should shift to the new constraint.

6. The goal in the Theory of Constraints is not to eliminate all constraints; the system always has a constraint of some sort if the goal is to make more money. Nevertheless, constraints determine the performance of the entire system, so they should be intelligently managed.

O. Professional Ethics. (Exercise 1-4.) Some students tend to equate legal and ethical

behavior. That is, if an action is legal, they consider it to be ethical. We believe it is important to dispel this notion.

1. In the text we use a utilitarian approach in arguing for the importance of maintaining ethical standards. We argue that ethical standards are necessary for the smooth functioning of an advanced market economy. Basically, if you could not trust anyone, you would be unwilling to transact in the marketplace without ironclad guarantees. Such guarantees are expensive to write and enforce even when they are feasible. See Eric Noreen, “The economics of ethics: a new perspective on agency theory,” Accounting, Organizations and Society, vol. 13, no 4, 1988 for further development of these ideas.


2. One advantage of approaching ethical issues in the managerial accounting course is that the code of ethics promulgated by the Institute of Management Accountants can be used as a framework. This code of ethics is more specific than most codes of ethics, which tend to be general platitudes with little substantive content. By contrast, the IMA code of ethics is refreshingly specific and strongly worded in some key areas. It is also general enough that it can be used by managers as well as by management accountants.


Assignment Materials


Level of






Exercise 1-1

The roles of managers and management accountants


10 min.

Exercise 1-2

The business environment


10 min.

Exercise 1-3

Ethics in business


15 min.

Problem 1-4

Preparing an organization chart


30 min.

Problem 1-5

Ethics and the manager


20 min.

Problem 1-6

Line and staff positions; organization chart


30 min.

Problem 1-7

Ethics in business


20 min.

Problem 1-8

Ethics; just-in-time purchasing


30 min.



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Chapter 1 Lecture Notes

Helpful Hint: Before beginning the lecture, show students the first segment from the first tape of the McGraw-Hill/Irwin Managerial/Cost Accounting video library. This segment introduces students to many of the concepts discussed in chapter 1. The lecture notes reinforce the concepts introduced in the video.


Chapter theme: This chapter serves four main purposes. First, it explains the differences and similarities between financial and managerial accounting. Second, it describes the role of management accountants in an organization.

Third, it explains the basic concepts underlying Just-In- Time (JIT), Total Quality Management (TQM), Process Reengineering, and the Theory of Constraints (TOC). Fourth, it discusses the importance of upholding ethical standards.

I. The work of management and the need for managerial accounting information

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A. Managers carry out three main activities – planning, directing and motivating, and controlling.



1. The first step in planning is to identify

alternatives and then to select from among the alternatives the one that does the best job of furthering the organization’s objectives.



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3 4 12 5



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2. Once alternatives have been identified, the plans of management are often expressed formally in budgets.

a. Budgets are usually prepared under the

direction of the controller, who is the manager in charge of the accounting department.

b. Typically, budgets are prepared annually.

ii. Directing and motivating

1. In addition to planning for the future, managers must oversee day-to-day

activities to keep the organization functioning smoothly.

2. Managerial accounting data, such as daily sales reports, are often used in this type of day-to-day decision making.

iii. Controlling

1. In carrying out the control function, managers seek to ensure that the plan is being followed. Feedback, which signals

whether operations are on track, is the key to

effective control.

a. A performance report compares budgeted to actual results. It suggests where operations are not proceeding as planned and where some parts of the organization may require additional attention.



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6 7 14



iv. The planning and control cycle

1. The work of management, which is known as the planning and control cycle, can be depicted as shown.

II. Comparison of financial and managerial accounting

A. Seven key differences

i. Users

1. Financial accounting reports are prepared for external parties, whereas managerial accounting reports are prepared for internal users.

ii. Emphasis on the future

1. Financial accounting summarizes past transactions. Managerial accounting has a strong future orientation.

iii. Relevance of data

1. Financial accounting data are expected to be objective and verifiable. Managerial accountants focus on providing relevant data even if it is not completely objective or verifiable.

“In Business Insights” Management accounting systems should be flexible enough to provide whatever data are relevant for a particular decision.



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“Why Do You Ask?” (page 8)

Caterpillar has long been on the forefront of management accounting practice. When asked by

a manager for the cost of something, accountants

at Caterpillar have been trained to ask “What are you going to use the cost for?”

One management accountant at Caterpillar

explains: “We want to make sure the information

is formatted and the right elements are included.

Do you need a variable cost, do you need a fully burdened cost, do you need overhead applied, are you just talking about discretionary cost? The cost that they really need depends on the decision they are making.”

iv. Less emphasis on precision

1. Financial accounting focuses on precision when reporting to external parties. Managerial accounting aids decision makers by providing good estimates as soon as possible rather than waiting for precise data later.

v. Segments of an organization

1. Financial accounting is concerned with reporting for the company as a whole. Managerial accounting focuses more on the segments of the company. Examples of segments include:

a. Product lines, sales territories, divisions, departments, etc.



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vi. Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP)

1. Financial accounting conforms to GAAP. Managerial accounting is not bound by GAAP.

vii. Managerial accounting – not mandatory

1. Financial accounting is mandatory because various outside parties require periodic financial statements. Managerial accounting is not mandatory.

III. Organizational structure


A. Decentralization

i. Decentralization is the delegation of decision-making authority throughout an organization by providing managers with the authority to make decisions relating to their

area of responsibility.

ii. An organizational chart shows how responsibility is divided among managers and it shows formal lines of reporting and communication.

B. Line and staff relationships

i. An organization chart also depicts line and staff positions in an organization.



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9 10 20



1. A person in a line position is directly involved in achieving the basic objectives of the organization.

2. A person in a staff position is indirectly involved in achieving those basic objectives. Staff positions support line positions, but they do not have direct authority over line positions.

C. The Chief Financial Officer

i. The Chief Financial Officer (CFO) is the member of the top management team who is responsible for providing timely and relevant data to support planning and control activities and for preparing financial statements for external users.

1. The controller reports to the CFO.

“In Business Insights” CFOs and their subordinates in most organizations contribute in numerous ways beyond just preparing financial statements. For example:

“Beyond the Numbers” (page 11)

Judy C. Lewent is the CFO of Merck, a major pharmaceutical company. She is in charge of 750 people.

Merck’s chairman, CEO, and president Raymond Gilmartin says this about Lewent “Many CFOs take as their prime directive the timely, accurate delivery of detailed financial data and analysis to top management. While the importance of these services cannot be overestimated, with Judy they



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11 12 22


are simply one of the many ways she contributes to the business.”

Gilmartin went on to say that Lewent helps “make decisions about which developmental-product projects to fund and how to structure our product franchises, acquisition possibilities, and licensing arrangements.”

“What Does It Take?” (page 12)

A controller at McDonald’s claims that its most successful management accountants must possess numerous skills.

For example, they need to be experts in the company’s business and accounting software. They need to have a working knowledge of what people do in marketing, engineering, human resources, and other departments. They also need to understand how the processes, departments, and functions work together to run the business.

IV. The changing business environment


A. We are going to discuss six changes in the business environment, namely Just-In-Time production, Total Quality Management, Process Reengineering, the Theory of Constraints, international competition, and e- commerce.

B. Just-In-Time (JIT)

i. When companies use the JIT production and inventory control system, they purchase materials and produce units only as needed to meet actual customer demand. The



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12 13 24



receipt of a customer order triggers the steps as shown.

1. When applied in a manufacturing setting, JIT systems seek to minimize raw materials, work in process, and finished goods inventories.

ii. Other improvements required to support JIT and inventory reduction include:

1. Reduce the number of suppliers to a reliable few who can make frequent deliveries of defect-free goods in small lot sizes.

2. Improve the plant layout by creating a focused factory or manufacturing cell. a. An improved plant layout can dramatically reduced throughput time (also known as cycle time), which is the time required to make a product.

“In Business Insights” Numerous companies have adopted cellular manufacturing to cut costs and boost productivity. For example:

“Canon Goes Cellular” (page 14)

Canon has completely revamped its production processes in its photocopier plants, ripping out the conveyor belts and heavy equipment that used to be the core of its assembly lines.

Instead, Canon has adopted cell production with small teams of about six workers concentrating on building a single type of copying machine.



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13 14 26


Instead of being bolted to the floor, the production equipment is lighter and modular, and can be easily moved into new configurations.

As a result, assembly costs have been cut in half and productivity has been boosted by 20%.


3. Reduce setup time to make smaller batch sizes economical.

4. Eliminate defects to ensure a smooth flow of production and timely customer shipments.

5. Develop a flexible workforce that is capable of operating all of the equipment in a manufacturing cell.

iii. Benefits of a JIT system

1. Funds tied up in inventory can be used elsewhere.

2. Areas previously used to store inventories can be used for productive purposes.

3. Throughput time is reduced enabling more rapid response to customers.

4. Defect rates are reduced resulting in less waste and greater customer satisfaction.

“In Business Insights” While JIT offers many benefits, it can cause some problems as well. For example:

“The Downside of JIT” (page 15)

Toyota is a strong proponent of JIT; however, it found out the hard way that unexpected disruptions in supply can bring the production line to a halt.



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15 16 28


One Saturday, a fire at Aisin Seiki Company’s plant in Aichi Prefecture stopped the delivery of all brake parts to Toyota.

By Tuesday, Toyota had to close down all of its Japanese assembly lines. By the time the supply of brake parts had been restored, Toyota had lost an estimated $15 billion in sales.


C. Total quality management (TQM)

i. TQM improves productivity by encouraging the use of science in decision-making and discouraging counter-productive defensive behavior. There are two main characteristics of TQM:

1. A focus on serving customers.

2. The use of systematic problem solving using teams made up of front-line workers. a. One problem solving tool commonly used is called benchmarking, which involves studying and learning from organizations that are among the best in world at a particular task.

D. Process reengineering

i. In Process Reengineering, a business process is diagrammed in detail, questioned, and then completely redesigned to eliminate all non- value-added activities.

1. A business process is any series of steps that are followed to carry out some task in a business.



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17 18 30


ii. Process Reengineering versus TQM

1. TQM tweaks existing processes to realize gradual incremental improvements. Process Reengineering radically overhauls existing processes.

2. TQM uses a team approach involving people who work directly in the process. Process Reengineering is more likely to be imposed from above and to use outside consultants.

E. The Theory of Constraints (TOC)

i. Key definitions/concepts

1. A constraint (also called a bottleneck) is anything that prevents you from getting more of what you want.

a. The constraint in a system is determined by the step that has the

smallest capacity.

2. The Theory of Constraints (TOC) is based on the insight that effectively managing the constraint is the key to success.

a. The goal is to manage the constraint with the intent of generating more business rather than cutting the workforce.

Helpful Hint: Explain to students that the theory of constraints (TOC) can help a company prioritize the use of time. Ask students whether they would be better off spending their available time studying for a course



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in which they have an A average or one in which they have a C average.

ii. The TOC approach to process improvement

1. First, identify the weakest link in the chain, which is the constraint.

2. Second, do not place a greater strain on the system than the weakest link can handle – if you do, the chain will break.

3. Third, concentrate improvement efforts on strengthening the weakest link.

4. Fourth, if the improvement efforts are successful, eventually the weakest link will improve to the point where it is no longer the weakest link. a. At this point, the new weakest link must be identified and the improvement process starts over again.

“In Business Insights” All organizations encounter bottlenecks that can adversely affect their operations. For example:

“Watch Where You Cut Costs” (page 18)

At one hospital, the emergency room became so backlogged that its doors were closed to the public.

It turned out that the constraint was not the emergency room itself; it was the housekeeping staff. To cut costs, managers at the hospital had laid off housekeeping workers.

This created a bottleneck in the emergency room because rooms were not being cleaned as quickly



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as the emergency room staff could process new patients.

Thus laying off some of the lowest paid workers at the hospital had the effect of forcing the hospital to idle some of its most highly paid staff and most expensive equipment.

F. International competition

i. Over the last several decades, competition has become worldwide in most industries. This has been caused by:

1. Reductions in tariffs, quotas, and other barriers to free trade.

2. Improvements in global transportation systems.

3. Increasing sophistication in international markets.

ii. An excellent management accounting system is needed to succeed in today’s competitive global marketplace.

“In Business Insights” Management accounting is practiced throughout the world. Global competition has influenced management accounting practice. A historical perspective is as follows:

“Global Forces” (page 19)

Traditionally, management accounting practices have differed from one country to another. For example, Spain, Italy, and Greece historically relied on less formal management accounting



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systems, whereas countries such as Germany, France, and the Netherlands developed relatively sophisticated management accounting systems.

In recent years a number of forces, such as intensified global competition, standardized information system software, the increasing significance and authority of multinational corporations, the global consultancy industry, and the diffusion of information throughout academia, are causing management accounting practices to become more similar around the world.

G. E-commerce

i. In recent years, many dot.com businesses failed. These businesses may have benefited from the application of many managerial accounting tools such as:

1. Cost concepts (Chapter 2)

2. Cost estimation (Chapter 5)

3. Cost-volume-profit analysis (Chapter 6)

4. Activity-based costing (Chapter 8)

5. Budgeting (Chapter 9)

6. Decision making (Chapter 13)

7. Capital budgeting (Chapter 14)



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Professional ethics


A. The IMA’s Standards of Ethical Conduct for Practitioners of Management Accounting and Financial Management have two main parts – guidelines for ethical behavior and guidelines for resolution of an ethical conflict.

i. Guidelines for ethical behavior

1. Competence

a. Maintain professional competence.

b. Follow applicable laws, regulations,

and standards.

c. Prepare complete and clear reports after appropriate analysis.

2. Confidentiality

a. Do not use confidential information for personal advantage.

b. Do not disclose confidential information unless legally obligated to do so.

c. Ensure that subordinates do not disclose confidential information.

3. Integrity

a. Do not subvert the organization’s legitimate objectives.

b. Avoid conflicts of interest and advise others of potential conflicts.

c. Recognize and communicate personal and professional limitations.

d. Refrain from activities that would discredit the profession.

e. Avoid activities that could affect your ability to perform duties.



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f. Refuse gifts or favors that might

influence behavior.

g. Communicate unfavorable as well as favorable information.

4. Objectivity

a. Communicate information fairly and objectively.

b. Disclose all information that might be useful to management.

“In Business Insights” Senior managers’ commitment to ethics can influence how their company is perceived by employees. For example:

“Where Would You Like to Work?” (page 25)

Several thousand employees in many different organizations were asked if they would recommend their company to prospective employees. Overall, 66% said that they would.

Among those employees who believed top management strives to live by the company’s stated ethical standards, the number of recommenders jumped to 81%.

But among those employees who believed top management did not follow the company’s stated ethical standards, the number was just 21%.


ii. Guidelines for resolution of an ethical conflict

1. Follow the organization’s established policies for resolving ethical conflict. If this does not work consider the following steps:



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a. Discuss the conflict with immediate supervisor or next highest uninvolved managerial level.

The Sarbanes-Oxley Act, which was passed in 2002 in response to the wave of corporate scandals, gives new legal protection to those who report corporate misconduct. A manager who retaliates against an employee who reports misconduct can be imprisoned for up to 10 years.

b. If immediate supervisor is the CEO, consider the board of directors or the audit committee.

c. Except where legally required, maintain confidentiality.

d. Clarify issues in a confidential discussion with an objective advisor.

e. Consult an attorney regarding your legal obligations.

f. The last resort is to resign.

B. Why have ethical standards?

i. Ethical standards are motivated by a very practical consideration – if the standards are not followed in business, then the economy and all of us would suffer.

ii. Abandoning ethical standards would lead to a lower standard of living with lower-quality goods and services, less to choose from, and higher prices. In short, ethical standards are



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essential for the smooth functioning of an advanced market economy.

“In Business Insights” Trust can mean everything to a business. Jonathan Karpoff uses Enron to demonstrate this point beautifully as he writes:

“No Trust – No Enron” (page 21)

“As we know, some of Enron’s reported profits in the late 1990s were pure accounting fiction. But the firm also had legitimate businesses and actual assets.

The firms with whom Enron was trading electricity had to trust Enron. And trust they did to the tune of billions of dollars of trades every year.

In October 2001, when Enron announced that its previous financial statements overstated the firm’s profits, it undermined such trust.

The effect was to undermine even Enron’s legitimate and previously profitable operations that relied on trustworthiness.

This is why Enron melted down so fast. Its core business relied on the firm’s reputation. When that reputation was wounded, energy traders took their business elsewhere.”

C. Codes of conduct on the international level

i. The Guidelines on Ethics for Professional Accountants, issued in 1990 by the International Federation of Accountants (IFAC), govern the activities of all



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professional accountants throughout the world.

ii. In addition to outlining ethical requirements in matters dealing with competence, objectivity, independence, and confidentiality, the IFAC’s code also outlines the accountants ethical responsibilities in matters relating to:

1. Taxes.

2. Fees and commissions.

3. Advertising and solicitation.

4. The handling of monies.

5. Cross-border activities.

VI. The Certified Management Accountant (CMA)

A. The key facts

i. A management accountant who possesses the necessary qualifications and who passes a rigorous professional exam earns the right to be known as a Certified Management Accountant (CMA).

ii. Information about becoming a CMA and the CMA program can be accessed on the IMA’s website at www.imanet.org or by calling 1-


“In Business Insights” Advanced college degrees, experience, and professional certifications can dramatically improve your salary earning potential. For example, see the results of the following study:


“How’s the Pay?” (page 27)

The IMA published the following information to estimate one’s salary as a management accountant.

Start with a base amount of $64,625. If you are top-level management, then add $22,970. If you are entry-level management subtract $20,725.

Multiply the number of years in the field by $521. If you have an advanced degree, then add $13,737. If you hold a CMA, then add $8,786. If you hold a CPA, then add $8,619.

For example, if you make it to top-level management in ten years and have an advanced degree and a CMA, then your estimated salary would be $115,328 ($64,625 + $22,970 + (10 × $521) + $13,737 +$8,786).


Chapter 1 Transparency Masters


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1. The work of management.

2. Management accounting contrasted with financial accounting.

3. Organizational structure and the work of the management accountant.

4. Continuous improvement.

• Just-In-Time (JIT).

• Total Quality Management (TQM).

• Process Reengineering.

• Theory of Constraints (TOC)

5. Ethical standards in management accounting.

© The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc., 2006. All rights reserved.

TM 1-2


(Exhibit 1-1)

TM 1-2 THE PLANNING AND CONTROL CYCLE (Exhibit 1-1) © The McGraw-Hill Companies, In c., 2006.

© The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc., 2006. All rights reserved.

TM 1-3


(Exhibit 1-2)

MANAGERIAL AND FINANCIAL ACCOUNTING CONTRASTED (Exhibit 1-2) © The McGraw-Hill Companies, In c., 2006. All rights

© The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc., 2006. All rights reserved.

TM 1-4


(Exhibit 1-3)

TM 1-4 AN ORGANIZATION CHART (Exhibit 1-3) © The McGraw-Hill Companies, In c., 2006. All rights

© The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc., 2006. All rights reserved.

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• Continuous improvement is often necessary just to remain competitive.

• A number of management approaches to continuous improvement are widely used, including:

• Just-In-Time (JIT)

• Total Quality Management (TQM)

• Process Reengineering

• Theory of Constraints (TOC)

• These basic approaches to continuous improvement have different emphases, but can be used to complement and reinforce each other.

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Just-In-Time (JIT) means that raw materials are received just in time to go into production, parts arrive at workstations just in time to be assembled into products, and products are completed just in time to be shipped to customers. In a true JIT system, inventories are almost entirely eliminated.

• In JIT, parts and material are pulled through the assembly process as needed.

• At the final assembly stage, a signal is sent to the preceding workstation as to the exact amount of parts and materials needed over the next few hours for the final assembly of products.

• A similar signal is sent back through each preceding workstation. Thus, all workstations respond to the pull exerted by the final assembly stage.

• The pull approach is in contrast to the push approach used in conventional production control systems. In a push system, work in process is pushed through the factory from one workstation to the next with little regard to when it is actually needed. In a push system, the overriding concern is often to keep all the workstations busy.

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Initiate JIT purchasing. Suppliers must deliver defect-free goods in just the right quantity and just when needed.

Improve the plant layout to reduce the distances work in process must travel. Traditionally, all drill presses are put in one location, all milling machines in another, and so on. Instead, under JIT all of the different machines required to make a major component are often grouped together in a “manufacturing cell.”

Reduce setup time. This permits a reduction in batch sizes, increases the speed with which a company can respond to customer orders, and reduces the need for inventories.

Strive for zero defects. When defect rates are high, excess work in process is needed to ensure that enough defect-free goods are completed to meet customer orders.

Develop a flexible work force. Manufacturing cells contain many different machines that each individual should know how to run.

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The following are often cited as major benefits of a JIT system:

1. Funds that had been tied up in inventories can be used elsewhere.

2. Space is made available for more productive uses.

3. Throughput time is reduced, resulting in better responsiveness to customers.

4. Defect rates are reduced.

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• TQM emphasizes an unending series of small, incremental improvements.

• TQM is implemented by teams of front-line workers who identify and solve problems.


• Process reengineering is a more radical approach to improvement than TQM.

• In Process Reengineering, business processes are completely redesigned to eliminate non-value-added activities, reduce errors, and reduce costs.

• Unlike TQM, Process Reengineering is often imposed from above and often involves outside consultants and specialists.

• Managers must take care that Process Reengineering does not have a negative impact on employee morale.

• Changes imposed from above and by outsiders are often resented and resisted.

• Process Reengineering, by simplifying work and eliminating unnecessary steps, may tempt managers to lay off workers.

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• A constraint is anything that limits the ability of an individual or organization to attain its objectives.

• If the factory cannot satisfy demand, the constraint is in the factory. The constraint (i.e., bottleneck) is likely to be the workstation that has the lowest rate of output and smallest capacity.

• The rate of output of the entire factory is determined by the rate of output of the constraint.

• The other, non-constraint, work stations have excess capacity.

• Improvement efforts should usually be focused on the constraint.

• Improvements that increase the rate of output and capacity of the constraint will increase the output of the entire factory.

• Improvements that increase the rate of output and capacity of workstations that are not constraints will simply increase their excess capacity.

• If the current bottleneck is improved enough, the constraint will shift. Improvement efforts should then be shifted to the new constraint (bottleneck).

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• Maintain professional competence.

• Follow laws, regulations, and standards.

• Prepare complete and clear reports and recommendations after appropriate analysis.


• Don’t disclose confidential information.

• Ensure that subordinates do not disclose confidential information.

• Do not use confidential information for personal gain or advantage.


• Avoid actual or apparent conflicts of interest.

• Refuse gifts, favors, or hospitality that might influence objectivity.

• Refrain from subverting the organization’s legitimate objectives.

• Recognize and communicate personal limitations.

• Communicate unfavorable as well as favorable information and opinions.

• Refrain from actions that discredit the profession.


• Communicate information fairly and objectively.

• Fully disclose all information that could be expected to influence a user’s understanding.

© The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc., 2006. All rights reserved.