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Performance Management Essay

Overview Welcome to Module 1. If you have not already done so, read the Program Manual located in the Reference Material section of the CMA Canada Professional Programs website. It provides you with important introductory information about the program. In Module 1 of the program, candidates are exposed to many functional competencies from the CMA Competency Map that involve decision making regarding performance management, performance measurement, risk management and governance, and financial reporting. For assistance when doing their assignments in these areas, candidates are expected to draw on many of their intermediate and advanced management and financial accounting concepts they learned in their university courses and/or in the Accelerated Program.

For instance, in this assignment, one of the concepts involves Cost-Volume-Profit (CVP) analysis. In these types of analysis, candidates may be asked to look at how profits and costs change with a change in volume, or a change in such factors as variable costs, fixed costs, selling prices, and mix of products sold. By studying the relationships of costs, sales and net income, management is better able to cope with many planning decisions. Candidates who have difficulty doing this assignment or future assignments regarding CVP are encouraged to review Chapters 11 and 12 from the Horngren et al. required reading mentioned below. As candidates gain more work experience, they will be exposed to a number of organizational concerns in the topic areas outlined above.

For instance, candidates may be asked to provide analysis on such items as: 1. Preparing reports on a product or geographic segment to determine where the organization generates cash and profits; 2. Evaluating strategic alternatives in one’s organization using cost-benefit and scenario/sensitivity analysis; 3. Determining the effectiveness of costing systems for their appropriateness for an organization; © 2012 The Society of Management Accountants of Canada. All rights reserved. ®/™ Registered Trade-Marks/Trade-Marks are owned by The Society of Management Accountants of Canada. No part of this document may be reproduced in any form without the permission of the copyright holder.

4. Introducing the main concepts of strategy to facilitate an understanding of the big picture; 5. Constructing and analyzing a cash flow statement to determine cash needs; 6. Looking at different short-term investment strategies as a means to effectively utilize excess cash; 7. Examining the effectiveness of internal control systems within an organization; 8. Reporting results using GAAP or a disclosed basis of accounting; and 9. Analyzing a company’s various product lines. Management accountants are often called upon to provide the analysis required for pricing decisions, such as cost-volume-profit, product costing, expected value, break even, contribution margin, and sensitivity analyses. Proper and accurate analysis is critical if management is to make well-informed decisions. Using the Right Financial Analysis Tool Candidates will oftentimes find themselves constrained by space (word/page limits) and/or time when doing their assignments.

A critical outcome of analyzing cases is learning to use financial analysis tools under the appropriate circumstances. Selecting the right tool has the effect of demonstrating both good judgement (in terms of the candidate’s ability to select an appropriate tool) and conciseness (in presenting the information in a professional manner without burdening the reader with non-important information). Below are some examples that help to demonstrate how selecting the right tool for the right circumstance is critical to complete assignments in a quick and efficient manner. While the examples demonstrate the use of one tool, note that other tools may be just as effective. Given two scenarios and asked to provide an analysis between them, candidates could analyze them by forecasting the full income statement for both.

While this is a valid approach, it takes a significant amount of time and requires the use of valuable report space that could be better used with the selection of a different tool. It may be more appropriate under these circumstances to identify only those relevant revenues and costs and compare those. For a more in-depth discussion of the differences between the two approaches, see pages 422-423 in Chapter 11 of Cost Accounting: A Managerial Emphasis (Required Readings listed below). Specifically, Exhibit 11-2 on page 423 demonstrates the visual difference between the two approaches. Oftentimes contribution margin calculations can be used to drastically reduce both the time it takes to analyze a problem and the space required to show the analysis. This type of analysis may apply to analyze individual products, divisions or customer groups. This tool can allow one to present the analysis information in a much more concise way.

Discounting is another tool that can be used to analyze various scenarios. Again, one could prepare a financial forecast for both scenarios and discount those accordingly. However, a more efficient method would be to select only the relevant revenues and/or costs for preparation and discounting. This tool is particularly useful when looking at scenarios that create different multi-year impacts or that need to be evaluated over a period of time. Candidates are encouraged to review Chapters 11 and 12 in Horngren et al. (Required Readings listed below) for more examples on tool selection. Learning to identify the relevant information can drastically reduce both the time spent on the analysis and the space required to report it. In this assignment, candidates are specifically directed to do only certain steps of the Steps for Approaching Business and Corporate Strategy.

This case-solving approach was first introduced to candidates at the Orientation Session. As mentioned at the Orientation, these steps provide candidates with a systematic approach for addressing a case involving business-level and corporate-level strategic issues. The first three modules (Development Phase) of the CMA Canada Professional Programs prepare candidates for the Case Examination and focus on the business-level strategic issues.

Applying this approach effectively is one of the important competencies that candidates will learn in the Professional Programs. Reference Documents To assist candidates with case analysis, a series of reference documents have been created and can be found in the Reference Material section of the Professional Programs website. The most important documents include: 1. 2. 3. 4. Steps for Approaching Business and Corporate Strategy General Assessment Guide Business Report Guidelines Format Specifications

There are other documents such as Situational Analysis Tools, Developing an Implementation Plan and Pro Forma Financial Statements. Candidates should find these documents very useful throughout the program. Learning Outcomes By the end of the assignment, candidates will be able to recommend strategies and tactics to a company that is in a downturn scenario. Due Date Please refer to the Schedule accessed from the left navigation menu.


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