Management Accounting : Case Study Society of Certified Management Accountants of Sri Lanka
Case Study • IFAC’s IES 6: Test on professional capabilities and competence • Test on Management Accounting skills • Test on Strategic skills
Evaluation Criteria • Management Accounting - 20 Marks Sound technical knowledge in Management Accounting • Application of theories - 20 Marks Diverse knowledge clearly applied in an analytical and practical manner in solving the problems in the case
Prioritisation - 10 Marks Issues to be prioritised in a logical manner with a clear rationale • Decision making skills - 20 Marks Ability to recognise and present appropriate alternative solutions and take effective judgment in a logical & rational manner
Logical arguments - 20 Marks Ability to communicate effectively with realistic recommendations in a concise and logical fashion • Communication skills – 10 Marks
How Case Study works • Scenario 1 will be released two months before the exam • Scenario 2 will be given on the exam date. • This will be the continuation of scenario 1, but with more twists • Students will be given a ‘Question’ on the exam date
Students cannot take their analysis with them into the exam room. A fresh scenario 1 will be given on the exam day • Answers will be marked against the set evaluation criteria. Students should be informed about the marks allocated for each evaluation criterion.
How NOT to prepare recommendations • A few one or two lines in bullet point format • Half a page of brief unjustified recommendations • No recommendations on the identified top priorities • Ask for more time, more data etc before a recommendation can be made • Unethical recommendations
Management Accounting skills • Advanced calculations • Relevant • Interpretation • Assumptions to be questioned& changed • Sensitivity analysis • Clear workings
General guidelines • Students should not repeat the basic facts without adding value • Lack of information cannot be given as an excuse for not taking decisions • Clear understanding of the ‘Role’
What makes a good report? • Achieve your objective • Logical structure • Easy to follow • Interesting to read • Clearly set out • Short and simple as possible • Clear conclusions/recommendations • Good to look at
Logical structure The story should unfold as the reader progresses through the document. This is achieved by going from the general to the specific, with the background material preceding the technical expose, which should lead logically to the conclusions.
Outline report format • Title Page • Contents • Terms of Reference • The body of the report • Conclusions - summary • Recommendations - Actions • Appendices – Technical
Body of the report • A good Case Study answer, should be like a good book, has a beginning, middle and an end. Together witha clear ‘storyline’ linking them together.
Beginning - Introduction • Facts/Present/Past situation. This will set the scene (can link to the terms of reference). • Summarises the background to the problem (or the company) and how it has arisen. Outlines the present position of the organisation, and the approach that you plan to take. • Your introduction may be very brief, as the recipients of the document may already know much of the background.
Middle • An evaluation - What was your decision criterion. What tools did you use and what did they indicate. • Remember you are the expert and need to interpret the results for others. • What were your findings and what other alternatives did you consider? • Investigate and assess the key issues or options that are relevant. These should be dealt with in a logical sequence and there should be a ‘storyline’. • Signpost intentions - The use of headings white space and appropriate language all help to make the report easier to read and navigate.
End • Conclusions. This section should round off your arguments, and summarise the balance of them. • Try to end positively at least with some power and authority. It gives you an opportunity to say how you feel, in general terms, about the situation. • Recommendations should be clearly identified, even if they are simply guidance as to what additional analysis is necessary before a decision can be made. There will always be a need for further action as a consequence of your analysis.
Terms of Reference • Objective of the report • Who asked for it and why? • Who did the work? • Any constraints imposed • Basis of information
The body of the report • Introduction - background to the report - the facts of the case • Evaluation: • Identify key issues dependant on objective and if feasible, rank in order (best first) • Analysis of results • List each alternative course of action • Show pros and cons for each • State why rejected
Conclusions • Separate from recommendations • Reservations – missing information – further work needed • Summary of thoughts - logic of / balance of argument
Recommendations • Action (or non-action) recommended as a result of the conclusions reached • Include a timescale for completion of major areas • If asked for a recommendation, give one. Shows you could make the decision yourself • They must be developed and justified using available information; stating the need for more information, and further investigation will not suffice
Appendices • If possible, put all major details into appendices. This includes PEST/SWOTS as well as NPV’s and any financial evaluation. • Ensure cross references to the text in the report.
How to write • Your own writing style • Writing style is something that develops over time. It is influenced by your education and experiences. To some it comes easy, they enjoy words but you are not looking to win any prizes in literature. • It’s about putting facts, ideas and opinions in a clear, concise, logical fashion. Generally write, as you would talk.
Who is reading the report • Failure to pitch the level correctly will also inevitably result in failure to communicate your ideas effectively, since the reader will either be swamped with complexity, or bored with blandness.
Understandable • Using the right words • are you writing about recommendations or options • are you writing about objectives or strategies? What you should do Actions What you could do Possibilities Desired results Route to achieving objectives
Simple • One main point per sentence: • Short • Short words • Short sentences • Short phrases • Short paragraphs
Tactful • Tactless • The directors have clearly made errors • Tactful • There were other options open to the board that with hindsight would have been beneficial • Tactless • The marketing director is responsible for this disastrous change in strategy • Tactful • The board should consider where this went wrong? It would appear that the marketing department may have made some mistakes
Things to avoid • Poor punctuation - Don’t go mad. Follow the breathing rule. • Tautology - (unnecessary repetition) • “I, myself, personally”. Do not “export overseas”. “Green in colour”. Ask the question, as opposed to what? • Oxymoron - word combinations that are contradictory. “I never make predictions; and I never will”. “I have told you a million times don’t exaggerate”.
Spelling. • This may seem a small an unimportant point, but poor spelling makes a document seem sloppy and may convey an impression that the content is as loose as the general appearance! • But starting with And, But and Because is OK. • And so are split infinitives. (Any word between to and the verb) . To travel. To eat. “To boldly go”. “To fully understand”.