1 MASTER IN BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION ACCOUNTING FOR MANAGERS BU-5190-OL Syllabus Fall 2011 P LYMOUTH S TATE U NIVERSITY, C OLLEGE OF B USINESS A DMINISTRATION 1
2 Page 2 PLYMOUTH STATE UNIVERSITY College of Business Administration Master in Business Administration SYLLABUS: ACCOUNTING FOR MANAGERS BU-5190-OL FALL 2011 ONLINE: September 12 November 18, 2011 Professor: Alexandra MUTIU, PhD, CPA Babeş Bolyai University, Cluj Napoca, Romania Course matters: use Moodle Messages area Personal:
3 Page 3 CONTENT OF THE SYLLABUS 1. Course description Prerequisites Course objective Recommended readings Course content How to learn efficiently Reading the textbook Solving problems Solving quizzes Case studies analysis How to communicate Home page Moodle s Messages System Forums and Discussion Areas Chat hours Assignments Area Other ways to communicate Evaluation system Academic integrity Annex A Accessing HBS case studies Annex B Using Excel... 13
4 Page 4 This syllabus is designed for students use and addresses directly to them. 1. Course description The world of business is changing dramatically. As a result, the role of managerial accounting is very different than it was even a decade ago. Today, managerial accountants serve as internal business consultants, working side-by-side in crossfunctional teams with managers from all areas of the organization. For a thorough understanding of managerial accounting, students should not only be able to produce accounting information but also to understand how managers are likely to use and react to the information, and how as successful future managers they should, themselves, interpret it. The course begins with a presentation of the changing role of the managerial accounting in today s business environment. The product costing and the process of cost accumulation in a batch production environment will be studied in order to understand the traditional way of calculating costs, which is still used widely. On the opposite pole is Activity Based Costing method (ABC) whose qualities and superiority was proven in certain circumstances if compared to the traditional method. Since we already learned how to calculate costs, it s time to move further to understand, analyze and evaluate the relation between costs, production and sales volume, and income level. Planning is one of the most challenging activities in managerial accounting because it involves estimation and correlation between a company s departments, or divisions. As a consequence, we will learn to work with budgets and standard costs and discover how these tools can help us run our business. Other issues we shall cover in managerial accounting are transfer pricing and relevant costs, which are also helpful in the decision making process. What am I expected from you in this course? We will learn together accounting in order to understand its usefulness from a manager s perspective. In this way, we will become familiar with the theoretical aspects of Accounting and we will understand how these can be applied in practice. Then, we will use case studies which will help us to get the whole picture over a company and having this in mind, to judge which accounting method or technique would be the best. For reaching these, we will use our logic and argumentation. Logical thinking is useful to understand better a company s processes. Bringing arguments is an extremely needed capacity when we try to convince our committee board that our decision is the best one.
5 Page 5 2. Prerequisites A basic understanding of financial accounting principles and financial statements is strongly desired. Therefore, you are required to read the file Introductory ideas_accounting concepts.pdf that provides a basic recap of financial accounting during the first week of class. The file can be found on the Moodle main page and in the Resource area. 3. Course objective The goal of the course of study is to acquaint you with the fundamentals tools of managerial accounting. The emphasis throughout the course is on using accounting information to help manage an organization. We will reach our goal by working with problems and case studies. At the end of this course you will be familiar with the core issues of accounting for managers and will know how to properly use the most important tools, and how to use important management accounting methods. Moreover, you will be able to analyze methods in order to find the most suitable one, evaluate different situations based on facts or suppositions, and to create, formulate and write your opinion about the analyzed case studies. 4. Recommended readings We will learn Accounting for Managers using two types of materials: a text book and business case studies. The text book will be Ronald W. Hilton's MANAGERIAL ACCOUNTING: Creating Value in a Dynamic Business Environment, Eighth Edition, ISBN It is available at: - You can buy the etextbook and save up to 30% off the cost of a print textbook text. - For about $150 you can buy a new hardcopy and for about $100 you can have a used one. Also, you can choose to buy the Kindle Edition for PC, iphone or other devices for the same price as a new hardcopy. Personally, I would recommend you to buy the electronic edition of the book. Doing this you will save the delivery time and also the planet. When you buy the book, please pay attention to the edition number: it has to be the eighth one. Please don t buy an international edition or a Canadian one. If you buy another edition, a difference regarding the problems listed at the end of each chapter may occur and you will get lost in not knowing which problems were assigned. Most of the business case studies specified in the table on page six have to be purchased and downloaded directly from Harvard Business School Publishing. You can find instructions on how to access the case package in Annex A of this syllabus. There is one
6 Page 6 case study: Medieval Adventures Company which will be passed out on Moodle, so don t worry if you can t find it at HBS Publishing. Beside these materials, I will provide you more resources in order to help you to understand the topic better, like PowerPoint presentations, narrated slides, quizzes and video presentations. 5. Course content The topics and chapters covered within this course are divided per weeks. Each week will begin on Monday and end at midnight on the following Sunday. Each week will tackle one or two chapters which will be discussed in our virtual class after they have been read by you. Even if you study on your own, this doesn t mean you are alone. Virtually, I am totally available for you, so please feel free to contact me every time you have questions or need supplementary explanations. I will get back to you in maximum 24 working hours (except weekends). Week Readings 1 Buy Hilton 8 th edition & Download Cases from HBS Read prerequisites & Take VARK test Read the file Elements of the financial statements (posted on Moodle) Read the file The role of accountants in business (posted on Moodle) 2 Chapter 1&2: The changing role of managerial accounting in a dynamic business environment Basic cost management concepts and accounting for mass customization operations 3 Chapter 3: Product Costing and cost accumulation in a batch production environment 4 Chapter 5: Activity-Based Costing and Management 5 Chapters 6&7: Activity analysis, cost behavior, and cost estimation Cost-Volume-Profit Analysis 6 Chapter 9: Profit planning, Activity-Based Budgeting 7 Chapter 10: Standard costing, performance measures, and the Balanced Scorecard 8 Chapters 11&12: Flexible budgeting and the management of overhead and support activity costs Responsibility accounting, quality control and environmental cost management 9 Chapters 13&14: Investment centers and transfer pricing Decision making, relevant costs and benefits Exercises & Case Assignment Problems Exercise How transactions influence the elements of financial statements (posted on Moodle) TBA Medieval Adventures Co. (passed out on Moodle) TBA TBA TBA Camelback Communication, Inc. (HBS) Siemens A and B Combined (HBS) Bill French, Accountant (HBS) TBA Bill French, Accountant (HBS) TBA Mile-High Cycles (HBS) TBA TBA Mile-High Cycles (HBS) Siemens A and B Combined (HBS) 10 Review concepts and methods TBA PolyMedica Corporation (A) (HBS) The earnings game: Everyone Plays, Nobody Wins (HBS *TBA = to be announced
7 Page 7 6. How to learn efficiently Learning is a process that takes time so we have to do it efficiently in order to maximize your learning outcome. That is why my suggestions regarding your learning process are presented further. Moreover, I will ask you to take a VARK test in the first week of this course in order to know which type of learner you are Reading the textbook Reading the textbook has to be done in such a way that encourages you to understand the topic and not to memorize it. Memorizing doesn t create value but logical thinking does this easily. I recommend you to read the chapters as you read a story. Be relaxed and try to understand what you are reading. After you finish the first reading you will read it again for the second time. In my opinion, first reading makes you understand the terms and topic but second reading makes you understand the terms in the context of the given topic, having in this way a better view over the theme. So, during your second reading, underline important words for you with different colors (it really helps in remembering) or make notes or comments on the text if you want. If you do so, when you will re-open the book, your photographic memory will remember you what you have read. The efficiency of reading should be reflected in your capacity to be able to explain with your own words the concepts/tools/instruments/methods described within the chapter. Consequently, after your second reading, try to test yourself by explaining the terms you just read. In this way, I encourage you to take the online standard and enhanced quizzes for each chapter Solving problems Each week I will ask you to solve at most 2 exercises or problems. The role of solving problems is to: 1) Test your capacity to apply the concepts/methods/techniques learned, and 2) Analyze given situations. I recommend you to solve the problems in Excel. At the end of this syllabus, in Annex B is presented a model exercise/problem solving which helps you to understand how to build your spreadsheet. If you are not familiar in working with Excel, supplementary readings are provided in the same Annex B. Every week, you are required to submit the problems solved (assigned in paragraph 5 of this syllabus) by Sunday, at midnight GMT Time, which is 8:00 PM ET. You will submit the problems solved by posting the Excel file on Assignments Area, as it will be indicated in the weekly assignments.
8 Page Solving quizzes As you could see in the Course Content part of this syllabus, solving quizzes in their standard and enhanced forms are recommended to be done. They are optional but it is a useful way to test what you understood from the textbook. I want to emphasize again one thing: please, don t try to memorize terms, concepts and methods. It can be frustrating (in case that you didn t learn from a long time) and it is not the outcome of this course. Textbooks exist to be read when needed; you don t have to know their content by heart. But what it is important is that when you need information to know where to look for it Case studies analysis After reading the textbook s assigned chapters and solving the problems recommended, you should start to tackle the week s case study. In Annex A of the syllabus, it is presented the way you can access the needed case studies from Harvard Business School Publishing. The case studies were carefully chosen in order to be relevant for the chapters they were attached to. Probably many of you are already familiar with learning using case studies and know how to deal with them. For those of you who have never learned with case studies I would like to recommend an excellent book published by HBP written by William Ellet in 2007 Case Study Handbook: How to Read, Discuss, and Write Persuasively About Cases. For $25 you get the best book on this topic which is specially addressed to MBA students. But, if you don t buy it, don t worry, we will manage it. A total of seven case studies will be analyzed within this course. One of them will be subject to your analysis every week. I expect you to spend from three to six hours on each case study. After writing down your analysis you will submit it in the Assignments Area designated for this until Sunday at midnight (GMT time) which is 8:00 PM ET. We will discuss the case study you submitted within our virtual chat hours. Each week you will be assigned a case study from the set of cases made available to you at the Harvard Business School Publishing website. The analysis of the cases is a critically important part of the course. It provides an opportunity to use all your prior learning, experience, intellectual faculties and business knowledge. You will find out that the cases present real-world situations, and because of this they required the ability to see the whole picture in order to solve a company s situation. Each week you will be assigned the role of analyst or of respondent. What should an analyst do? If your job is to be the analyst, you will put yourself in the shoes of the decision maker and do the following: identify the issue(s) to be decided, identify the criterion (or criteria) on which you believe a decision should be based, then sift the data for relevance to that criterion, and prepare a clear set of statements or exhibits which evaluate practical alternatives and justify a decision. Finally, you will post your decision together with the files that helped you reached the decision (Excel
9 Page 9 spreadsheets, tables, graphs, Word file and so on) in the Assignments Area, as it will be indicated in the weekly assignments. What should a respondent do? If your job is to be the respondent, you will put yourself in the shoes of the decision maker and do the following: read the case, identify the issue(s) to be decided, identify the criterion (or criteria) on which you believe a decision should be based, and analyze the case until you know what is going on, and what you would do about it. Then, you will read your partner s analysis (which is the analyst), and respond constructively. You will post your response, and attach files containing your alternative exhibits (if any) (Excel spreadsheets or Word files) in the Assignments Area, as it will be indicated in the weekly assignments. Please note that the respondent s job depends upon the timely submission of analyst s posting. Therefore, the best you can do in the time available should be posted. I would kindly ask the analyst to post his/her statement until Friday and so allowing the respondent to react and write his/her response by Sunday, at midnight GMT Time, or 8:00 PM ET. If your partner fails to post timely, you should go ahead and post your own analysis and comments on the case, regardless of your initially assigned role. Doing these paired analyses helps you to collaborate with your partner in trying to work in a team. You are not competing in this course; just try to learn from all the situations created especially for you. You are to help your partner, work with your partner, and together to perform a practical action plan. Discussion between partners of the cases prior to Sunday night is encouraged. 7. How to communicate Communication will be achieved mainly using Moodle s home page, Moodle s Messages, Forum Area, Discussion Area, Assignments Area and Chat Area Home page The Moodle s home page is the first page that opens when you launch the program. This page is structured on topics and each topic is named according to the weeks of study. For example: Topic 1 refers to week 1 of the course, Topic 2 to week 2, as it is presented here in the Course content. Each topic comprises information related with chapter/(s) assigned for the current week, problems and case studies assigned, articles to read, PowerPoints presentations, videos and quizzes Moodle s Messages System Every time you have a question, doubts on a certain problem, or didn t understand something, please don t hesitate to send me a message. I will answer you in maximum 24 hours. Please notice that when you send a message to someone using Moodle, the message goes directly into the recipient s PSU . Therefore, PLEASE CHECK YOUR PSU FREQUENTLY.
10 Page Forums and Discussion Areas Another way of communication students like to use is the Forum Area, which facilitate group communication. Any message written here can be read by all students and instructors. In the case you want to share information with your colleagues this area would be helpful. Also, private Discussion Areas will be set up for groups of students, when it will be needed Chat hours Once a week, on Monday, starting with 10:00 PM GMT or 6:00 PM ET, I will be in the chat area for two hours. Virtually every Monday class (the chats) will include both a session where we go over the concepts learned and a session in which we discuss a case study. Therefore, if you have questions (which you didn t me previously) regarding the chapters and problems solved, I will be in the chat room for you. If you don t have any questions we will discuss the case study assigned for the previous week. The role of the chat is to interact. Learning process is better if persons involved in learning interact rather than staying aside. Even so, you don t have to be in the chat room. I respect your working program and I can realize that you might be overloaded during the day. But I strongly encourage you to participate in our chat. Moreover, I will appreciate your input for solving a problem, discussing a case or simply participate in discussions. As long as your intervention will be based on objective arguments and will be punctual your grade will increase Assignments Area This area will be used to post your problems solved and case studies analysis each week. Detailed instruction regarding the submission will be given each week Other ways to communicate Please update your profile and add a photo in the Profile zone of Participants area. Past weeks course materials and requirements will be archived in the Resources area. 8. Evaluation system There will be 8 problem submissions and 9 cases submissions in order to evaluate your knowledge in Accounting for Managers. In addition, active chats participation will be graded. The grading structure is as follows: take VARK test and submit the result = 2 points 2 points for each active class participation * 9 chats = 18 points 4 points for each set of problems * 10 sets = 40 points 5 points for each case study * 8 cases = 40 points Total 100 points
11 Page 11 The final grades are as follows: Grades Range between: Minim points Maxim points A A B B B C F Below 60 Submission due date is each Sunday at 8:00 PM ET for all exercises, problems and case studies analysis. If you don t submit problems or case studies analyses until the specified above time, those not submitted will not be graded within the next weeks. 9. Academic integrity Students are encouraged to become familiar with the University s Policy on Academic Integrity found in the following webpage
12 Page 12 Annex A Accessing HBS case studies This Annex explains how to get the course materials you need for class on the Harvard Business Publishing for Educators web site. Please copy this link in your browser You need to register on the site to create a user name if you do not already have one. All the course materials are PDF documents and you can open them with Adobe Reader. You will have access to the course materials for 6 months. After you register, you can get to the coursepack at any time by doing the following: 1. Visit hbsp.harvard.edu and log in. 2. Click My Coursepacks, and then click Accounting for managers_ol I hope you find this a convenient way to get your required course materials. If you have any questions, please contact me asap. COURSE DETAILS Professor: ALEXANDRA MUTIU Coursepack Name: Accounting for managers_ol Course Number: BU-5190-OL Course Start Date: Sep 12, 2011 Course End Date: Nov 18, 2011 Reference Code: For technical assistance, please contact the Harvard Business Publishing Tech Help line at (800) (outside the U.S. and Canada, call ); or Our business hours are 8am-8pm ET, Monday-Thursday, and 8am- 7pm ET on Friday.
13 Page 13 Annex B Using Excel A model exercise/problem solving in Excel is presented in the file Model for solving exercises_problem.xls. Problem 2_27 from the textbook was chosen as model. Please read the problem first and then open the above-mentioned file located in Topic 1 on the Moodle main page. More detailed explanations regarding Excel are provided within the file Hilton_8e_Exel_Guide.pdf located in Topic 1.