Integrating Finance with Operations Management

Heizer & Render (2009, p.33) explains an organisations strategy as its “action plan to achieve the mission”. The mission can be defined as “the purpose or rationale for an organisation’s existence” (Heizer & Render, 2009, p.32).  The mission of the operations management department of an organisation would be to make production consistent with keeping to the organisations overall mission statement, it is focused on the internal processes to do this so maintaining profits and cutting costs is of utmost importance to continue operations.

Production needs to therefore deliver their goods or service cheaper, better (or different) and more responsive (Heizer & Render, 2009, p.33).

Operations strategies are likely to be more successful when they are integrated with other areas of the organisation’s function, not only limited to accounting and finance but also HR, IT, marketing etc. (Heizer & Render, 2009, p.45)

Integration with accounting / finance is something that should be done to achieve the answers to almost all of the “Ten strategic OM Decisions” (Heizer & Render, 2009, p.37), the decisions I would say would require this are

1)     Goods/Service design: As described by Heizer & Render (2009), “design usually determine the lower limits of cost and the upper limits of quality”. Operations must know the financial capabilities of the organisation and the affordability ranges for the level of product they are able to produce. The design must be feasible.

2)     Process/Capacity design: Specific levels of production requires specific levels of labour, management, technology, human resources (qualified and/or unqualified) as well as maintenance; these all come at a cost and make up most of the organisations cost structures (Heizer & Render, 2009).

3)     Location selection: The size and the area of the desired location for the operations strategy to succeed can vary greatly in cost and affordability must be ascertained. If operations required a large plant in a high cost area this may not be feasible and should be consulted against the financial department. Coming to a decision to change areas or have a smaller plant may be required in this situation.

4)     Human resources: People are an integral part of an organisation and, as stated by Heizer & Render (2009), people are expensive. The amount of qualified and unqualified personnel will make up high costs for an organisation and integration with finance/accounting to decide on the affordability of the required personnel as well as salary levels would be required.

5)     Supply chain management: To get good terms and maintain trust with suppliers, keeping a good payment schedule and credit terms is highly important.

6)     Intentory: This ties in to all of the above, the inventory levels must be monitored and considered based on their costs, accounting can provide good reports on the costs behind the levels of inventories that are kept on hand (storage etc.).

7)     Scheduling: With an increase or decrease in schedule time will come additional/decreased costs.

8)     Maintenance: Maintenance can be an expensive or lucrative part of a business depending on which side of the table you are sitting on. Product reliability and  quality are to be considered with maintenance and both of these factors can and mostly are influenced by costs.

Without integration with accounting/finance I would go far as to say that operations would not be able to function effectively.  Finance is what keeps the organisation going and poor operational strategies and decisions without considering finance will cause problems and may even end up in bankruptcy.

References
Heizer, J. & Render, B. (2009) Operations Management. Ninth Edition. Prentice Hall: New Jersey.

Marking, Finance and Operations

The three basic functions of a firm, as Heizer and Render (2009, p.4) have outlined, are applicable to all firms and organisations; whether private, government, non-profit or any other type of organisation. These basic functions can be outlined as follows

1)     MARKETING

Marketing is the part of the firm that is concentrating on generating client demand for the product or service that the firm is producing or providing.

Heizer & Render (2009, p.5) provide some good examples of marketing departments in different businesses, some examples can be:

  1. Commercial Bank – Marketing of loans (mortgage, personal, commercial etc.) which brings in the demand for which the latter two points of this discussion are involved in (mainly 3 – Productions/Ops.).
  2. Internet Service Provider – Marketing of Internet connectivity, shared website hosting, dedicated website hosting, backup services.
  3. Food Store Chain – Marketing opening of new branches, weekly/monthly specials on food products etc.

2)     FINANCE / ACCOUNTING

As I have covered in previous posts, accounting is a vitally important function of a business. Accounting measures the performance of the organisation as well as makes sure the income is collected and the debts are paid (Heizer & Render, 2009, p.4).

Thomas (n.d.) sums the importance of accounting as a function in business as

  1. Allowing business owners to see where profit and losses are being made (Profit and Loss)
  2. Allows business owners to see where and how cash is being spent (Cash Flow)
  3. Shows whether profits are large enough to cover expenses (Balance Sheet)
  4. Helps aid financial decisions.
  5. Required to adhere to tax legislations

All of these areas of accounting apply to all types of businesses.

3)     PRODUCTION / OPERATIONS

This is where operations management comes in to play. Whether the organisation provides manufactured goods or intangible services, or a combination of both the processes are part of the production/operation function.  As Heizer & Render put it (2009, p.4), this function “creates the product”.

There are some notable differences between services and goods but as Heizer & Render show (2009, p.11); even organisations which seem very much “goods” (eg: automobiles), they still require a level of service (vehicle finance, vehicle delivery). The same goes with service heavy organisations (eg: consulting), which mostly have an element of goods as well (eg: printed reports). Heizer & Render  (2009, p.11) point out that one of the only “pure service” providers are those that provide counselling.

Some examples of operations in different organisations are:

  1. Commercial Bank – Tellers, transaction processing, cheque clearing, facility design and layout, vault operation, maintenance and security (Heizer & Render, 2009).
  2. Software Development – facility design and layout (placement of personnel), communications, training, client liaison, quality assurance and control, product development, product design and maintenance.

All of the above 3 functions are imperative to the operation and success of an organisation.

References

Heizer, J. & Render, B. (2009) Operations Management. Ninth Edition. Prentice Hall: New Jersey.

Thomas, C. (n.d.) Why is accounting important in business? [Online] eHow. Available from: http://www.ehow.com/facts_5003375_why-accounting-important-business.html (Accessed: 7 May 2011).

Cash Flow Statements

A cash flow statement (or statement of cash flows) shows a fairly detailed description of the movement (or flow) of cash over a period of time. The cash flow statement includes with the cash flows from operating activities, investing activities, financing activities and provides the cash and equivalents total for the end of the reported period.

There are two methods of measuring the cash flows from operating activities

Direct Method

This is the simplest, yet the least used method. The requirements are simply to add up all the payments and receipts over the reported period to give a total that reflects on the cash flow statement.

Indirect Method

This method is the more popular method and is based on the principal that the sales revenue increases cash inflow while expenses increases cash outflows. “The indirect method adjusts net income for items that affected reported net income but didn’t affect cash” (Anon, n.d.)

Examples

ABC Limited reported a revenue of $ 1 000 000 at the year ending 31 December 2010. The income statement reflected a $ 140 000 tax payment and a Net Income of $ 34 000. Accounts receivable increased by $ 200 000; therefore cash collected on the revenue is $ 800 000 ($ 1 000 000 – $ 200 000). ABC Limited reported operating expenses of $ 825 000. Accounts payable (operating expenses) was reported as being $ 45 000; therefore cash operating expenses were $ 780 000 ($ 825 000 – $ 45 000). Tax payable at the end of the year was reflected as $ 0.00 which means the income tax payment was made during the year in cash.

Direct Method

Cash collected from revenues                                                   800 000
Cash payments for expenses                                                     780 000
Income before income taxes                                                            20 000
Cash payments for income taxes                                            140 000
Net cash flow from operating activities                                     (120 000)

Indirect Method

Net income                                                                                           35 000
Increase in accounts receivable                                         (200 000)
Increase in accounts payable                                              45 000         (155 000)
Net cash flow from operating activities                                    (120 000)

We can see that both methods result in the same net cash from operating activities. While direct looks directly at the cash in hand the indirect looks more at the income statement and uses trade payables and receivables to work out the cash flow from operating activities.

References

Anon (n.d.) Cash Flow Statement Example-Direct and Indirect Method [Online] Accounting for Management. Available from: http://www.accountingformanagement.com/preparation_of_statement_of_cash_flows.htm (Accessed: 16 April 2010).

Atrill, P. & McLaney, E. (2008) Accounting and Finance for Non-Specialists. 6th Edition. Financial Times Press.