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MANAGEMENT ACCOUNTING: CONCEPTS AND TECHNIQUES

 

By Dennis Caplan

 

PART 2: MICROECONOMIC FOUNDATIONS OF MANAGEMENT ACCOUNTING

 

CHAPTER 5:  FLEXIBLE BUDGETING

 

Chapter Contents:

-                     Introduction

-                     Pro Forma Analysis at Guess Who Jeans

-                     Static Budget Variance at Guess Who Jeans

-                     Flexible Budget Variance at Guess Who Jeans

 

Introduction:

A budget is a plan for the future. Hence, budgets are planning tools, and they are usually prepared prior to the start of the period being budgeted. However, the comparison of the budget to actual results provides valuable information about performance. Therefore, budgets are both planning tools and performance evaluation tools.

 

Usually, the single most important input in the budget is some measure of anticipated output. For a factory, this measure of output is the number of units of each product produced. For a retailer, it might be the number of units of each product sold. For a hospital, it is the number of patient days (the number of patient admissions multiplied by the average length of stay).

 

The static budget is the budget that is based on this projected level of output, prior to the start of the period. In other words, the static budget is the “original” budget. The static budget variance is the difference between any line-item in this original budget and the corresponding line-item from the statement of actual results. Often, the line-item of most interest is the “bottom line”: total cost of production for the factory and other cost centers; net income for profit centers.

 

The flexible budget is a performance evaluation tool. It cannot be prepared before the end of the period. A flexible budget adjusts the static budget for the actual level of output. The flexible budget asks the question: “If I had known at the beginning of the period what my output volume (units produced or units sold) would be, what would my budget have looked like?” The motivation for the flexible budget is to compare apples to apples. If the factory actually produced 10,000 units, then management should compare actual factory costs for 10,000 units to what the factory should have spent to make 10,000 units, not to what the factory should have spent to make 9,000 units or 11,000 units or any other production level.

 

The flexible budget variance is the difference between any line-item in the flexible budget and the corresponding line-item from the statement of actual results.

 

The following steps are used to prepare a flexible budget:

 

1.                  Determine the budgeted variable cost per unit of output. Also determine the budgeted sales price per unit of output, if the entity to which the budget applies generates revenue (e.g., the retailer or the hospital).

 

2.                  Determine the budgeted level of fixed costs.

 

3.                  Determine the actual volume of output achieved (e.g., units produced for a factory, units sold for a retailer, patient days for a hospital).

 

4.                  Build the flexible budget based on the budgeted cost information from steps 1 and 2, and the actual volume of output from step 3.

 

Flexible budgets are prepared at the end of the period, when actual output is known. However, the same steps described above for creating the flexible budget can be used prior to the start of the period to anticipate costs and revenues for any projected level of output, where the projected level of output is incorporated at step 3. If these steps are applied to various anticipated levels of output, the analysis is called pro forma analysis. Pro forma analysis is useful for planning purposes. For example, if next year’s sales are double this year’s sales, what will be the company’s cash, materials, and labor requirements in order to meet production needs?

 

 

Pro Forma Analysis at Guess Who Jeans:

Following are pro forma monthly income statements for Guess Who Jeans, a small, start-up fashion jeans manufacturer. The pro forma analysis was prepared at the beginning of the month and considered three alternative sales levels. The company has no variable marketing costs.


 

GUESS WHO JEANS

PRO FORMA ANALYSIS

FOR THE UPCOMING MONTH

Income

Statement

line-item

Budgeted amount per unit

Pro Forma Analysis for

Alternative Output Levels

 

10,000 units

 

20,000 units

 

30,000 units

Revenue

 

Variable costs:

  Materials

  Labor

  Overhead

    Total

 

Contribution margin

 

Fixed costs:

  Manufacturing

     Overhead

  Marketing costs

    Total fixed costs

 

Operating income

$40

 

 

15

10

5

30

 

$10

$400,000

 

 

150,000

100,000

50,000

300,000

 

100,000

 

 

 

100,000

50,000

150,000

 

($50,000)

$800,000

 

 

300,000

200,000

100,000

600,000

 

200,000

 

 

 

100,000

50,000

150,000

 

$50,000

 

 

$1,200,000

 

 

450,000

300,000

150,000

900,000

 

300,000

 

 

 

100,000

50,000

150,000

 

$150,000

 

Since by definition, fixed costs are not expected to change as volume of output changes within the relevant range, fixed costs remain the same at all three projected levels of output. Revenue and variable costs vary with output in a linear fashion. Hence, when output increases 100% from 10,000 units to 20,000 units, revenue, each line-item for variable costs, and contribution margin all increase 100%.

 

 

Static Budget Variance at Guess Who Jeans:

Guess Who management decides that 10,000 units is the most likely output volume, and sets the static budget based on this sales and production level. After the end of the month, company personnel prepare the following table, showing the static budget, actual results, and the static budget variance.


 

GUESS WHO JEANS

STATIC BUDGET VARIANCE

FOR THE MONTH JUST ENDED

Income

Statement

line-item

Budgeted amount per unit

Static

 Budget

(A)

10,000 units

Actual

Results

(B)

16,000 units

Static

Budget

Variance

(A) – (B)

Revenue

 

Variable costs:

  Materials

  Labor

  Overhead

    Total

 

Contribution margin

 

Fixed costs:

  Manufacturing Overhead

  Marketing costs

    Total fixed costs

 

Operating income

$40

 

 

15

10

5

30

 

$10

$400,000

 

 

150,000

100,000

50,000

300,000

 

100,000

 

 

100,000

50,000

150,000

 

($50,000)

 

$670,000

 

 

230,000

167,000

84,000

481,000

 

189,000

 

 

105,000

49,000

154,000

 

$35,000

 

 

$270,000

 

 

(80,000)

(67,000)

(34,000)

(181,000)

 

89,000

 

 

(5,000)

1,000.

(4,000)

 

$85,000

 

In the variance column, positive numbers are favorable variances (good news), and negative numbers are unfavorable (bad news).

 

The static budget variance shows a large favorable variance for revenue, and large unfavorable variances for variable costs. These large variances are due primarily to the fact that the static budget was built on an output level of 10,000 units, while the company actually made and sold 16,000 units. The revenue variance might also be due to an average unit sales price that differed from budget. The variable cost variances might also be due to input prices that differed from budget (e.g., the price of fabric), or input quantities that differed from the per-unit budgeted amounts (e.g., yards of fabric per pair of pants). 

 

There are also small variances for fixed costs. These costs should not vary with the level of output (at least within the relevant range). However, many factors can cause actual fixed costs to differ from budgeted fixed costs that are unrelated to output volume. For example, property tax rates and the fixed salaries of front office personnel can change, and depreciation expense can change if unexpected capital acquisitions or dispositions occur.

 

 

The Flexible Budget Variance at Guess Who Jeans:

In order to better understand the causes of the large revenue and variable cost variances in the static budget variance column, Guess Who personnel prepare the following flexible budget.

 

 

GUESS WHO JEANS

FLEXIBLE BUDGET VARIANCE

FOR THE MONTH JUST ENDED

Income

Statement

line-item

Budgeted amount per unit

Flexible

 Budget

(A)

16,000 units

Actual

Results

(B)

16,000 units

Flexible

Budget

Variance

(A) – (B)

Revenue

 

Variable costs:

  Materials

  Labor

  Overhead

    Total

 

Contribution margin

 

Fixed costs:

  Manufacturing Overhead

  Marketing costs

    Total fixed costs

 

Operating income

$40

 

 

15

10

5

30

 

$10

$640,000

 

 

240,000

160,000

80,000

480,000

 

160,000

 

 

100,000

50,000

150,000

 

$10,000

$670,000

 

 

230,000

167,000

84,000

481,000

 

189,000

 

 

105,000

49,000

154,000

 

$35,000

 

 

$30,000

 

 

10,000

(7,000)

(4,000)

(1,000)

 

29,000

 

 

(5,000)

1,000.

(4,000)

 

$25,000

 

Once again, positive variances are favorable (good news), and negative variances are unfavorable (bad news).

 

From this table, Guess Who management sees that even after adjusting for sales volume, revenue was higher than would have been expected. The favorable $30,000 variance must be due entirely to an average sales price that was higher than planned (almost $42 per pair compared to the original budget of $40 per pair).

 

Materials costs were lower than would have been expected for a sales volume of 16,000 units. This favorable variance could be due to lower fabric prices, or to more efficient utilization of fabric (less waste than expected), or a combination of these two factors. Labor and overhead were higher than expected, even after adjusting for the sales volume of 16,000 units. This unfavorable flexible budget variance implies that either wage rates were higher than planned, or labor was not as efficient as planned, or both. Similarly, the components of variable overhead were either more expensive than budgeted, or were used more intensively than budgeted. For example, electric rates might have been higher than planned, or more electricity was used than planned per unit of output. 

 

The fixed cost variances are identical in this table to the previous table. In other words, the flexible budget and flexible budget variance provide no additional information about fixed costs beyond what can be learned from the static budget variance.

 

 

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