CHAPTER 7 FLEXIBLE BUDGETS, VARIANCES, AND MANAGEMENT CONTROL: I Management by exception is the practice of concentrating on areas not operating as expected and giving less attention to areas operating as expected. Variance analysis helps managers identify areas not operating as expected. The larger the variance, the more likely an area is not operating as expected.
Two sources of information about budgeted amounts are (a) past amounts and (b) detailed engineering studies. A favorable variance––denoted F––is a variance that increases operating income relative to the budgeted amount. An unfavorable variance––denoted U––is a variance that decreases operating income relative to the budgeted amount. The key difference is the output level used to set the budget. A static budget is based on the level of output planned at the start of the budget period. A flexible budget is developed using budgeted revenues or cost amounts based on the actual output level in the budget period. The actual level of output is not known until the end of the budget period. A Level 2 flexible-budget analysis enables a manager to distinguish how much of the difference between an actual result and a budgeted amount is due to (a) differences between actual and budgeted output levels, and (b) differences between actual and budgeted selling prices, variable costs, and fixed costs. The steps in developing a flexible budget are: Identify the actual quantity of output. Calculate the flexible budget for revenues based on budgeted selling price and actual quantity of output. Step 3: Calculate the flexible budget for costs based on budgeted variable costs per output unit, actual quantity of output, and budgeted fixed costs. Step 1: Step 2:
Four reasons for using standard costs are: (i) cost management, (ii) pricing decisions, (iii) budgetary planning and control, and (iv) financial statement preparation.
7-8 A manager should subdivide the flexible-budget variance for direct materials into a price variance (that reflects the difference between actual and budgeted prices of direct materials) and an efficiency variance (that reflects the difference between the actual and budgeted quantities of direct materials used to produce actual output). The individual causes of these variances can then be investigated, recognizing possible interdependencies across these individual causes.
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Possible causes of a favorable materials price variance are: purchasing officer negotiated more skillfully than was planned in the budget, purchasing manager bought in larger lot sizes than budgeted, thus obtaining quantity discounts, materials prices decreased unexpectedly due to, say, industry oversupply, budgeted purchase prices were set without careful analysis of the market, and purchasing manager received unfavorable terms on nonpurchase price factors (such as lower quality materials).
7-10 Direct materials price variances are often computed at the time of purchase of materials, while direct materials efficiency variances are often computed at the time of usage of materials. Purchasing managers are typically responsible for price variances, while production managers are typically responsible for usage variances.
7-11 Budgeted costs can be successively reduced over consecutive time periods to incorporate continuous improvement. The chapter uses the phrase continuous improvement budgeted costs to describe this approach.
7-12 An individual business function, such as production, is interdependent with other business functions. Factors outside of production can explain why variances arise in the production area. For example: • poor design of products or processes can lead to a sizable number of defects, • marketing personnel making promises for delivery times that require a large number of rush orders can create production-scheduling difficulties, and • purchase of poor-quality materials by the...
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