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Using Variance Analysis In Decision Making

Having a budget is critical for the financial stability of an organization. Keeping track of how well the organization is actually adhering to the budget, and subsequent identification of why the budget numbers are being missed is equally important. Without this critical “why” piece, it is difficult to make the necessary adjustments to the budget or to organizational behavior that might be promoting overspending.

A good budget is built with thoughtful consideration of future costs and revenue. Though your budget is formulated with expected figures in mind, the actual resulting values may vary considerably. This variance–from projected to actual–can be a pleasant surprise or a fiscal nightmare and can make financial decision making difficult. Fortunately, variance analysis can enable management to determine why variance occurred and what can be done to mitigate its effects.

For those not comfortable with the use of Microsoft Excel, this week’s Optional Resources suggest several tutorials.

To prepare:

  • Review the information in this week’s Learning Resources dealing with variance analysis, how it is calculated, and how it can be used in decision making.
  • View the video  Week 8 Application Assignment Tutorial: Variance Analysis, provided in this week’s Learning Resources.
  • Use the Week 8 Application Assignment Template, provided in this week’s Learning Resources, to complete this assignment.   Carefully examine the information in each of the scenarios and provide the necessary calculations.  Using this information will help you answer the questions. 

Note: For those Assignments in this course that require you to perform calculations you must:
Use the Excel spreadsheet template for the Week 8 assignment
Show all your calculations and formulas in the spreadsheet.
Answer any questions included with the problems (as text in the Excel spreadsheet).

Salary Variance Scenario

For this Assignment run a variance analysis. Based on the information you obtain: assess the results of the analysis, suggest potential causes of the budget variances and an explanation for addressing the situation.

Using the following performance data calculate the volume adjusted labor rate variance and volume adjusted efficiency variance. Your Variable Expense Factor is 40% and your Volume Change Factor is 50%.

Note: Submit the Excel spreadsheet containing your Salary Variance Scenario calculations to the Assignment submission link.

In the past, students expressed confusion on which cells to complete on the week 8 assignment. To reassure you and perhaps, make it simpler, I have highlighted all cells that should have data in them on this assignment. That data may be simply transferred from data provided, or require you to complete a formula. I hope this helps.   

Week 8 highlighted template Weatherspoon.xls

On your Excel assignments with a narrative, I have a request. 

Please click on the narrative cell box (where you will write your answer; then look at the tool bar on top- click Wrap Text.  This will keep your narrative answer in a viewable box. Otherwise it runs off the screen. This is a big help to me as I can grade the assignment within the Blackboard system. If it is not done I have to download and expand that box (using wrap text) then reupload it again.  This prevents me from putting feedback directly into the grading tool on your assignment. Here is a screenshot:

Thank you for your help with this on the week 8 and week 10 assignments! Dr  Deb

The highlighted areas are where you need to complete! Don’t forget to Wrap Text!

Dr Deb

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