ACCA P5考试：Modern Service-Oriented Businesses
1. Accounting Needs of Traditional Manufacturing Industry
Much of the management accounting literature and ideas were developed for the manufacturing industries. However, the service industries are becoming increasingly important parts of the economies of many countries. This section considers how the management accounting needs of the two differ.
The objectives of management accounting information in the manufacturing industries can be categorised as follows:
Cost behaviour—used for planning, controlling and costing for inventory valuation.
Quality of production—this will be measured against the product specification.
Time taken—manufacturing time, bottlenecks, etc to gain more efficiency.
Innovation—required in new products and new processes.
Valuation—even in the world of just-in-time manufacturing, there may be some inventory. Valuation may also be performed for other purposes such as pricing.
Manufactured goods may be standardised—which makes the objectives above simpler to deal with.
2. Service Industries
There are four particular characteristics of services that make the measurement of performance more difficult than manufactured products:
2.1 Simultaneity (also called inseparability)—production and consumption of the service happens at the same time.
2.2 Perishability—the inability to store the service. It must be provided when the customer wants it—it cannot be prepared in advance and stored in inventory.
2.3 Heterogeneity (i.e. lack of homogeneity) also called variability—unlike goods coming off a production line, which may all be identical, the quality of services is likely to vary from service to service. For example, the quality of haircuts in a hairdresser. This means it is more difficult to measure the general quality of the service.
2.4 Intangibility—there are many aspects of a service that people value—different people place different emphasis on different aspects, making it difficult to decide which are the most important.
3. Management Accounting Needs in The Services Industries
While the objectives of management accounting in the services industries will be broadly the same as that of manufacturing industries, there are some differences:
More emphasis on quality of service. However, quality of service is harder to measure, due to simultaneity and heterogeneity.
Because of intangibility, it will be necessary to identify several measures of quality.
Many service industries provide "personalised service"—that is, each service is different, based on specific needs of the customer. This makes it difficult to define a standard cost which could be used for variance analysis.
A higher portion of the cost of the service may be overheads, which means activity-based approaches to costing may be more appropriate.
More contact with customers. In a manufacturing environment, the product is made in the factory. In a service industry, the service is usually performed while the client is present.
Because of perishability, the organisation needs to strike the correct balance between having sufficient resources to meet peak demand and being over resourced. There is therefore likely to be emphasis on resource utilisation measures.
The appropriate cost unit may be harder to define in a service industry than in manufacturing. In a hospital, for example, the cost unit could be patients, beds or even doctors.