Performance and cost management, analysis and control

Effective performance management

For a manager, few things are more difficult than delivering honest performance feedback to an employee. And far too many managers don’t give feedback at all. Fortunately, there are ways to address performance review problems. Success lies in the execution of these simple ideas. Define the culture of your organization,

The opaque CFO bonus

Get a B on a math test, and you understand how that grade was determined: You got 88% of the answers correct. Get a B on an art project, and you’re wondering exactly what could have been better or what the instructor was looking for. CFOs would rather be graded

Six key components of analytics-based performance management

As companies face a thinning margin for decision error, the ability to use business analytics effectively—everything from correlation, segmentation, clustering, regression analysis, as well as forecasting and predicting outcomes—is becoming mission-critical. There is now a strong need to gain insights, foresight, and inferences from the treasure chest of raw transactional

The long-term effect of doing more with less: Doing less

Those who have worked for a company that struggled during the recent financial crisis know the scenario all too well: To cut costs, the business lays off workers. The survivors are grateful to keep their jobs and assume extra duties to keep things humming. Experts are now taking a closer

Board of education: CPA firms, businesses can profit from clients' advice

It’s no secret that CPAs take pride in their standing as trusted advisers to their clients. What’s not so well known is that CPAs can gain—and in many cases, literally profit—from the advice of those same clients. Client advisory boards offer CPA firms and other businesses the opportunity to deepen

Board of education: Client advisory board implementation action plan

Editor's note: Also read "Board of education: CPA firms, businesses can profit from clients' advice," in the Jan. 2012 issue of the JofA. Here is a step-by-step client advisory board implementation plan developed by the AICPA’s Private Companies Practice Section. More client advisory board tools are available to PCPS members

Building Blocks of a Successful Financial Close Process

Financial close systems, processes, people and their interconnectivity can be complex, but successful improvements to the process can be achieved by introducing some simple building blocks that are inexpensive to implement. Regardless of company size or complexity, all successful financial close processes require continuous communication, comprehensive documentation and a flexible,

Get Ready to Restructure

Coping with a downturn often means restructuring for companies. Every restructuring has many moving parts—including layoffs, impairments, asset revaluations and debt relief. To engineer a favorable outcome, stay ahead of events, says Scott Davis, a partner in the Corporate Advisory and Restructuring Services practice at Grant Thornton. He offers these

Four Options for Measuring Value Creation

In casual, everyday language, it is often said a corporation’s primary role is to generate profits. However, the primary role of a corporation is not to generate profits; it is to create shareholder value. When corporations focus their internal performance measurement systems on short-term profits or accounting returns—not shareholder value—bad

Economic Outlook Remains Uncertain

Recessions—roughly two per decade—have occurred quite regularly since World War II. Most last less than four quarters, according to International Monetary Fund data. But the depth and breadth of recessions are notoriously difficult to predict. This article focuses on what CPA financial executives have experienced in the current recession, using

Managing Customer Profitability

All people may be created equal, but the same can’t be said for customers. Everyone knows that some customers are more profitable than others. Conversely, some are downright unprofitable. Knowing which is which is the all-important question. Despite enormous variations in profitability, many companies continue unprofitable relationships with customers, often

Linking Strategy to Operations

Harvard Business School professor Robert S. Kaplan is co-developer of both activity-based costing and the balanced scorecard. In 2006, Kaplan was elected to the Accounting Hall of Fame, and received the Lifetime Contribution Award from the Management Accounting Section of the American Accounting Association. In 2008, the Institute of Management

A Better Way to Gauge Profitability

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY Return-on-equity (ROE) is the correct profit metric to evaluate the performance of a business. However, the primary emphasis on financial ratio analysis must be on operating performance. The "advanced" version of the DuPont model remedies the original model’s failure to cleanly separate the effects of operating and financing

Management Accounting Research for the C-Suite

This second installment in a series of columns on accounting research summarizes results from the field of management and cost accounting. The 2006 through June 2007 issues of five top-tier journals in management and cost accounting research were examined. Those publications included, alphabetically, Accounting, Organizations and Society; The Accounting Review;

ABCs of Batch Processing

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY In batch processing, if costs are not isolated, high-volume customers and products tend to subsidize lower-volume ones. This article reviews different types of batch activities and how they would be handled under traditional costing and two different variations of activity-based costing (ABC). Traditional costing equally distributes overheads by

How to Keep Them Once You’ve Got Them

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY A REGIONAL FIRM, PLANTE & MORAN (P&M), developed and implemented a strategy called “rerecruiting,” an ongoing program based on staff recognition and appreciation, to maximize staff retention. Its turnover rate for the past decade ranks between 8% and 15% annually—well below industry standards. MANAGEMENT-CREATED WORKSHOPS explain the value

The Lowdown on Lean Accounting

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY LEAN MANUFACTURING PRINCIPLES FOCUS on eliminating waste and producing only to meet customer demand. They also typically require a company to move from a functional division of work to work cells where all of the processes needed to manufacture a product or line occur next to each other

Choose the Right Tools for Internal Control Reporting

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY CPAs CAN PROVIDE A VALUABLE service to their employers or clients by helping them plan their strategic approach to compliance with section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002. NEW SOFTWARE PRODUCTS CAN IMPROVE corporate governance and external communications about financial performance. They also can enhance the efficiency

SPONSORED REPORT

How to make the most of a negotiation

Negotiators are made, not born. In this sponsored report, we cover strategies and tactics to help you head into 2017 ready to take on business deals, salary discussions and more.

VIDEO

Will the Affordable Care Act be repealed?

The results of the 2016 presidential election are likely to have a big impact on federal tax policy in the coming years. Eddie Adkins, CPA, a partner in the Washington National Tax Office at Grant Thornton, discusses what parts of the ACA might survive the repeal of most of the law.

QUIZ

News quiz: Scam email plagues tax professionals—again

Even as the IRS reported on success in reducing tax return identity theft in the 2016 season, the Service also warned tax professionals about yet another email phishing scam. See how much you know about recent news with this short quiz.