Financial Reporting And SBU Performance Homewok Help
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1. Cost Allocation; Sharing
Cab Fare Suppose there are three passengers sharing a single cab ride and that passenger A’s usual fare to his destination would be $12, passenger B’s usual fare to her destination would be $18, and passenger C’s fare would be $30. Since they are sharing the cab, and assuming no surcharge, the total cab fare is $30, rather than the $60 they would have pay in total individually. So there is a $30 saving to sharing the cab.
How would you split up the total cost of the cab fare among A, B, and C?
2. Intangibles; Validating the Balanced Scorecard
Today intangibles, such as customer relationships, account for more than half of total assets of firms in the United States. The importance of nonfinancial measures is one of the motivations for the increased use of the balanced scorecard, which includes a perspective on customer relationships. However, according to recent research, data on intangibles such as customer satisfaction can yield significant forecasts of earnings only when the data are analyzed in conjunction with financial statistics and only when tied to corporate strategy. This result is based on a wide range of customer relationship data (e.g., customer satisfaction, employee turnover, the speed of loan processing, and the average number of products and services purchased) from 115 retail banks and represents potentially useful guidance for managers wanting to know how to use nonfinancial measures effectively.
Comment on the implications of the study for the use of the balanced scorecard. We have noted in the text that it is important to validate the balanced scorecard. What does it mean to validate the scorecard in the context of the retail bank example above?
3. Managing the Research and Development Department
Effective use of research and development (R&D) is an important part of any firm’s competitive strategy. Some firms take an “incrementalist” approach to R&D, continually striving to add value to their products and services. Other firms take a quite different approach by looking only for “breakthrough” results from R&D. The breakthrough results are those that fundamentally change the nature of the products, the services, and the competition in the industry. An example of a breakthrough result is General Electric’s digital X-ray technology, first sold in 1996, which uses digital imaging to replace the conventional film-based technology. Other examples include Apple’s iPhone and Toyota’s hybrid vehicles. Many firms employ both strategies: one R&D department uses the incrementalist approach that focuses on continually improving existing products and another R&D department uses the breakthrough approach that develops fundamental changes. The incrementalist R&D projects help to keep the current product lines competitive while the breakthrough projects hold the promise of a successful future.
What type of SBU would you recommend for each of the two types of research and development departments and explain why?
4. Financial Reporting and SBU Performance
Samentech Inc. operates in the highly competitive agribusiness industry. Recently, rising fuel costs have added a significant financial burden to dayto-day operations, and top management has become increasingly concerned about the financial performance of several of its business units. Business unit performance and the performance of the unit managers is evaluated using the financial information in the “Segment Reporting” section of Samentech’s annual report. Samentech uses this approach to evaluation because it knows that the information is audited and therefore accurate. Some key executives have noticed that many business unit leaders seem unwilling to cooperate and coordinate with other business units; difficulties have arisen for example in convincing unit managers to share certain services when the result would be to reduce total costs to the company. A recent example is the failure of the unit managers to agree to share the services of an insurance firm that offered lower rates if all units used the same insurance policy; some unit managers wanted to maintain individual insurance coverage for their units so that they had maximum flexibility in choosing the terms of the coverage. Moreover, the financial performance of many units and for Samentech overall has been behind industry averages, and the firm’s stock price has been declining as well. These issues were largely ignored in recent years because there were “more important issues” at hand. But the pace of decline in stock price has alarmed Frank Ramirez, the CFO of Samentech Inc., who believes that the lackluster performance of many of the business units may be due to inadequacies in the company’s performance measurement system.
Mr. Ramirez asks you to help him prepare a report for top management in which you
1. Explain why Samentech Inc. should or should not use information from the company’s annual financial report to evaluate leaders of business units.
2. Provide a proposed new evaluation plan for business unit leaders.
3. Explain the long-term benefits Samentech Inc. could gain if it adopts a more effective evaluation strategy for its business unit leaders.
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5. Financial Incentives and Auto Repair/Inspections Companies Some states in the United States are finding increased pressure from citizen groups and other organizations to increase efforts to reduce carbon emissions. One of the key producers of carbon emissions is the automobile, so that some states have become more strict in implementing auto inspection procedures that include compliance with emissions standards. The goal is to reduce emissions overall in the vehicles operating in the state. Some environmental groups that support the emissions tests have suggested that the financial incentive for those inspecting vehicles is to be strict with the testing because any failed tests would require some repair that could then be performed by the inspector. However, recent research shows the unexpected—the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that approximately 50 percent of inspections for which the vehicle fails to comply with state-level emission standards are allowed to pass the inspection without the repair needed for compliance. In most states, vehicle inspections are performed by auto mechanics, auto dealers, and other companies that repair autos.
Develop a brief explanation of the finding that many inspections were not in compliance with state standards. What incentives are necessary to improve the rate of compliance? Are there ethical issues you identify in developing your answer?
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