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Friday, May 6, 2011

What-If Analysis Memo: Business Value of an Excel Workbook

As based on Silver Coat Tourism Resort's Income and Expenditure Statement, a What-If Analysis was drawn. After studying the statement, the What-If analysis was administered by formulation of 2 case scenarios. The scenarios would concentrate on the Planned Direct expenses wherein different values would be assigned to this item and how the Net Profit Income of each profit generating centre would be affected. A comparison of the original planned expenses to the two case scenarios would be made as well as show the different net ncomes that they will actually provide. Table 1 is presented below:

Original Planned
Expenses Case Scenario 1 Case Scenario 2
Administration $72,500.00 $110,000.00 $52,000.00
Depreciation $61,250.00 $86,500.00 $63,000.00
Energy $46,000.00 $48,750.00 $31,500.00
Insurance $12,500.00 $32,450.00 $22,500.00
Maintenance $26,000.00 $38,000.00 $28,000.00
Marketing $52,250.00 $61,000.00 $60,000.00
Net Income $650,910.00 $544,710.00 $664,410.00

Table 1. Table showing Original Planned Expenses, Case Scenario 1 and 2 assigned expenses as well as Net Income yield of each category

As shown in Table 1, Case Scenario 1 was assigned higher planned expenses as compared to the original planned expenses. In comparison of both the values presented, it clearly shows that higher planned expenses would translate to lower net income. Therefore, when Case Scenario 1 is considered, it will result to a lesser net income since comparing it's net income value to the original planned expenses column will result to a decrease of $106,200.00.

Warning and Friendly Reminder: Plagiarism is a crime. This essay is here to give you an idea or guide you, not to be copied by you. You can look at the references and Works cited provided by this free academic essay and from that you can create your own. Be a smart student,be honest: look for free academic essays anywhere in the web or the Internet but don’t forget to make your own. There are so many free essays online as guides but please do your own. You can also utilize free plagiarism checkers available online.

Case Scenario 2 as a different approach, assigns values in a different manner. Some expenses were increased and other expense categories were decreased. This resulted to an increase in net income of $ 13, 500.00 which is equivalent to approximately 2%. Therefore, knowing which expenses to minimize and which ones to increase will definitely result to higher net income.
In conclusion, when a company puts effort on how to somehow minimize their indirect expenses it will definitely result to increase in net income. The company must employ the best means of decreasing their expenses in order for them to yield a higher profit.

Business Value of the Excel Workbook

The excel workbook is a tool that will help financial planners since it can help gauge the overall financial performance of a business when being faced with various modifiable constraints. The values placed on Planned Indirect Expenses are considered the modifiable variables. The indirect/operating expenses can be manipulated while keeping constant the Net Income, Cost of Sales and Direct Expenses. This way, the business can weigh the effects of the changes made in indirect expenses and they can work on ways on how these expenses be mnimized. In effect, the company profit is maximized. With the excel woorkbook, financial planners can determine the expense which should be monitored closely, which ones are to be minimized, how to effectively do it and what are the best expense allocation expense technics to be employed that will give positive results.

Business Value of the Excel Workbook

The excel workbook is a simple indirect expense allocation tool created to help foresee a business’ financial performance given a set of modifiable constraints. In this tool, the only modifiable variables are what you place on planned indirect expenses. Net Income, Cost of Sales and Direct Expenses are assumed to be constant while you play around with indirect/operating expenses. This can allow businesses to make mitigation plans to maximize their end profit. Such questions like (1) what expense type should closely be monitored, (2) where to cut cost, (3) how to effectively minimize unnecessary expenses and (4) what feasible expense allocation can yield the best results, are things that this workbook can help financial planners to answer.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Appreciation for No Reason: Thanking for Nothing

1.If praising employees for doing a good job seems to be fairly easy and obvious motivational tool, why do you think companies and managers don't often do it? There is nothing like a good recognition for a job well done. When you are acknowledged for something that you worked hard for and given praise, you can't help but feel motivated to do better and improve your current output.. These praises may come from different people that observe directly and who may be benefited from the hard work you put in. It may be from your colleagues that may give you a good remark or two. It can be from clients or customers who may have a good experience from the product that you offer. However, one of the most significant praise that you can garner and can uplift your morale is one that comes from your manager as well as recognition from the company.

As the saying goes, “Different strokes for different folks”, but isn't it a widely accepted fact that verbal praise can be one of the the most powerful incentive that can be awarded to a good performing employee? As one research conducted goes to show, verbal praise in forms of recognition during events or a formal praise in front of others is a big factor that affects the turnover rate of the company, that is their ability to retain their employees. Verbal praise affects the willingness of the employee to stay with the company for a longer period of time. Percentages show that verbal praising is among one of the recognition techniques that is effective alongside cash bonuses and other non-cash incentives (Maritz 2006). However, easy as it is to dole out praise words, not a lot of managers are into the practice. There are different factors that may affect the manager's disposition about doling out verbal praises and are enumerated as follows:

a) The manager may be uncomfortable with verbally praising employees. This may root from previous experiences that make him/her distrust this kind employee recognition strategy.

b) Ego. This is a common problem for everyone. Some managers, due to having reached their status with the company, has developed a a sense of pride that may be unhealthy. He/ she may adapt an attitude that makes them think highly of themselves. Rank and power sometimes does a lot of things to people.

c) Other employees sometimes think that those that are praised are becoming favorites or “pets” by the manager. This sometimes prohibits the manager to give verbal praises to employees in front of others in fear of being labled unjust. They would rather not give praises than cause an uncomfortable atmosphere.

d) Words are very powerful tools in affecting the human emotion and depending on the kind of words that one may hear, it may have negative of positive effects. In praises for example, it can negatively effect employees who are uncomfortable with it. It may make them decrease their productivity in order to shy away from being acknowledged publicly. Therefore, not knowing the proper incentive needs that are effective with your employees may be a hindrance to managers and companies to praise their employees.

2. As a manager, what steps would you take to motivate your employees after observing them perform well?

Working hard is a virtue that all employees must employ in order to get recognized and be acknowledged. It is their part of the bargain when they get accepted in the company. You don't just receive praises and rewards without expending effort on it. Most employees who are career-oriented and are focused in their productivity put their best foot forward in order to achieve their goals of a higher position ang compensation in the future. It is employees like these that are key factors for a company to achieve their goals of productivity. Driven as they are, they are humans as well and may experience burn-out or may become unsatisfied when their hard work are not being acknowledged and they would feel like they are taken for granted.

No one likes a boss who takes his/ her employees for granted. Sometimes, monetary incentives are not enough to make employees feel appreciated. A direct recognition of a job well done may just be the thing to keep their fire burning. An honest appreciation of a positive outcome of a project done by employees is an effective way to make them feel pride on what they have done. It will give them a sense of importance and fulfillment which will fuel their drive to perform better in the next undertaking. Others who may see this in a positive light will be encouraged to do the same thus creating a constructively competitive environment for all. A win-win situation for the employees and the company as well. As from the Supervisor's Newsletter of Mines and Associates, “Effective praise tells employees what they're doing right and encourages them to keep doing it. That's why some consider praise superior to punishment as a teaching tool. Praise is loaded with information: It tells you exactly what to do next time (Epotech 2001).”

Another motivation tool for me is to provide compensation based rewards as well as spontaneous rewards that may be out of the blue or may serve as a surprise. This will provide an atmosphere of excitement that is contagious to all and will make the employees put in a conscious effort to make their work exceedingly noticeable. They will all be eager to put in extra effort since they know that they will be reaping rewards. Ed Frigsbee gives examples of spontaneous gift like maybe a day at the spa or gift certificates to a good restaurant (Rigsbee 2010). This may be good idea for treats since the employee who works so hard may welcome a relaxing day to have them recharged and be more motivated as ever to perform well. All properly motivated employees will highly contribute to the productivity of the company as a whole. It all starts with a few or a handful but if the right motivation is employed, it will spread to a company full of eager employees. The company must employ the right strategy to keep the fire burning.

3. Are there any downsides to giving employees too much verbal praise? What might these downsides be and how could you alleviate them as a manager?

Again, verbal praises can highly affect an employees work as whole. It can affect their productivity, image in the workplace, self esteem as well as relationships with other employees and managers as well. Much as it is positive, it has it's downsides as well. The key to somehow avoid these downsides would be to plan on a way of lessening it and it's effects to the employees. Here are the possible downsides of too much verbal praises as well as ways to somehow alleviate them:

a. One downside would be making the employee feel complacent and may cause him/ her to feel that mediocre work would be enough. It may give them a feeling that there is no room for improvement. If verbal praising is over done, it may not develop a sense of improvement in the work attitude of the employee. To alleviate this, the manager should not overdo verbal praising. Choose only the achievements that are noteworthy of praise. When verbal praising is overdone, the next praise would seem meaningless for employees. Point out the positive effects of the wonderful job done to the company as a whole to give the employee a sense of responsibility in furthermore improving their work.

b. Another downside of too much verbal praise is the perception it may give to employees. Some employees may perceive it insulting when things that are too basic are given praises. Do not sweat the small stuff.

c. It may be a prelude to insults. Some managers when given the assignment from higher management to give too much verbal praise can think of this as a opportunity to insult the employees through phony praises. Employees may also think of it a as sugar coating and may think that there are insincere undertones to it. The best way for a manager to avoid this is to make eye contact when giving out the praise to communicate the honesty to it. It should be more meaningful when it is timely and delivered in a precise way to make it more credible and believable.

d. It may not be applicable to all but too much verbal praising can cause unnecessary stress to the employee. There are employees who do not take well to being praised especially when in public. There are cases when it is the cause of the deterioration in the employees' productivity and attitude in the work place. One way to address this is for the manager to study the personalities of the employees. Be keen on matching the effective incentive or praise strategy for employees so that it is both effective and well appreciated.

e. It may cause chaos in the workplace since some employees may be envious with other employees who receive excessive praising and may think them favorites. Again, to be precise in pointing out the noteworthy act comes into place. The manager should point out the exact reason why the praise was given so that it could be set an example for others to follow and resolve their issue, and make it clear to them that the praise was given for a reason.
4. As a manager, how would you ensure that recognition given to employees is distributed fairly and justly?

Managers should think it important that incentives and praises should be justly and fairly given to employees. It is indeed hard to face complaining employees who are comparing themselves with others. To address this, first and foremost, the manager should design a non-biased incentive program or a gauge level that should be uniform to all. This should be made clear to everyone and must have a basis so that there can be a benchmark or a standard that all the employees can reach to gain rewards.

Managers should also conduct in-house surveys that dwell on employee relationships and work attitude so that others that may not be recognized may have the opportunity. Some employees who have meaningful contribution may not be very visible and surveys can help in recognizing them since other employees who see the value of their colleague's work can bring this to the attention of management. Good peer-to-peer relationship is inportant in fostering a more productive atmosphere. Suggestion boxes can also be used and will be helpful in addressing other employee issues and will also aid in assessing incentive and praise programs.

Furthermore, management should make sure that everyone gets a chance in getting a well deserved recognition. The rewards program should also be consistent and clearly communicated. Well satisfied employees translates to good productivity and wellness for the company.

List of References
Epotech. (2001). Praising Employees. Retrieved April 19, 2005, from the Epotech database.
Maritz (2006). The Power of Meaningful Employee Recognition: Why One Size Does not Fit All.
Maritz Inc. MRC-124 April 2006

Rigsbee, E (2010). Praise for a Job Well Done. (Online) available from

Friday, April 22, 2011

Alternative Medicine Effectiveness Essay

Unconventional Medical Approaches: Alternative Medicines
I. Overview of Complementary, Alternative and Integrative Medicines
Aside from the conventional medical practice, there are also complementary medicine together with alternative and integrative medicines that can help the suffering individual alleviate their pains and health problems. The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM), National Institutes of Health has defined complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) as “a group of diverse health care and medical systems, practices and products that are not presently considered to be part of the conventional medicine” (House Select, 2006 p.10). It is very important to note, however, that Complementary medicine alone is very distinct from alternative medicine alone. According to the NCCAM: Complementary medicine is applied jointly with the conventional medicine such as the use of aromatherapy in reducing the patient's pain after undergoing a surgery while alternative medicine is applied as a substitute for conventional medicine such as the use of special diet to treat cancer instead of following the physician’s recommendation to undergo surgery or chemotherapy.  Integrative medicine, on the other side, is a combined “mainstream medical therapies and CAM therapies for which there is some high-quality scientific evidence of safety and effectiveness.” (What is CAM?, 2007).

            II. How CAM Flourished in the United States?
Due to beliefs by some millions of Americans that conventional medicine alone is not enough, CAM has gained its footing in the United States (U.S) Aside from this reason, it was found out, through the survey conducted in 2002 by Advance Data From Vital and Health Statistics, that the growth in CAM usage among Americans are attributed to one or more of the following factors: marketing forces, on-line information availability, patients’ desire to be actively involved with their medical and health decision making, and patients’ general dissatisfaction with the conventional medical applications (Barnes, P., E.Powell-Griner, K. McFann, and R. Nahin, 2004, p.1) With these identified growth and popularity factors for CAM, the survey has identified major reasons for such usage. With at least thirty-one thousand respondents, the top five relevant reasons that were identified as posted in the NCCAM website (The Use of CAM, 2007) are the following:
a.                          Fifty-five percent (55%) of the respondents believe that if CAM is used together with the conventional medical applications better health would be achieved.
b.                          Fifty percent (50%) of the respondents have used CAM due to curiosity stating that “CAM would be interesting to try”
c.                          Twenty-eight percent (28%) believe that it would not help anymore to use the traditional treatments of the conventional medicine
d.                         Twenty-six percent (26%) used CAM as a result of their medical professionals or physicians’ suggestion
e.                          Thirteen percent (13%) have used CAM due to unaffordability of conventional medical applications
            It is worth noting that the majority of the respondents have emphasized that they use CAM as a supplement (complementary) or together with conventional medicine and not strictly as alternatives.

            III. Hindrances to CAM’s Acceptance and Success
The fact that CAM is complementary and/or alternative, it suggests that it is not the “real thing”. Not all of the Americans are bold enough to try using this alternative due to a lot of factors. With the truth that majority (if not all) of the CAM treatments are not yet scientifically proven, there is still a strong public hesitation, which is very reasonable, as to its use. According to an exploratory study on CAM written by Neeta and Astin and published by the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine in 2001,the following are the factors that hinder CAM acceptance in the U.S:
a.       Gender and age factors, where male and younger Americans are less likely to use CAM
b.      Lack of physician support that cause a lot of doubts to potential customers/patients of CAM
c.       The general belief that CAM applications are generally ineffective, unlike the proven methods of the conventional medicine
d.      General American perception that CAM causes negative side-effects to patients
e.       The lack of proper knowledge and awareness and accessibility of/to CAM
Although there is a rapid growth of CAM in the U.S the above reasons must be diminished before CAM can achieve greater recognition and application in the country where conventional scientific, and modern medical practices have gained the trust of the general public.

            IV. CAM: The Way I See It
Like the general notion towards CAM I have the same sentiments as the majority. I believe to their effectiveness  and philosophies which are for the health benefit of the many. However, using CAM alone without the conventional medical treatments for serious ailments is not my idea of improving and curing health problems. CAM is best applied when used with the scientifically proven approach. I would prefer using the “complement” side than the “alternative” side of it.
            When it comes to minor health concerns, however, such as cough or a back pain, I am very comfortable with the use of CAM and I often hire the service of Thai masseuse to relieve me of my back pain and I do not hesitate to drink herb extracts for my cough. Moreover, aromatheraphy is also very relaxing and really makes the blood circulate better.
 Another CAM that I am greatly curious with is Acupuncture because of its years of usage. I strongly believe that a medical practice like Acupuncture, be it called an alternative method, is really effective when properly undertaken. Acupuncture would never survive this long if the results are not favorable to patients. I would really like to experience this kind of treatment if given the chance.
Barnes, P., E.Powell-Griner, K. McFann, and R. Nahin. (2004). Complementary and Alternative Medicine Use Among Adults: United States, 2002. National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, National Institutes of Health. Retrieved 16 May 2008 from http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/ad/ad343.pdf
House Select Study on Complementary and Alternative Medicine, Final Report to the House of Representatives 2007 North Carolina General Assembly. (2006). Retrieved 15 May 2008, from http://www.ncga.state.nc.us/documentsites/legislativepublications/Study%20Reports%20to%20the%202007%20NCGA/Complementary%20and%20Alternative%20Medicine.pdf
Neeta, J. and J. A. Astin (2001). The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. December 1, 2001, 7(6): 689-696. doi:10.1089/10755530152755243. Retrieved 16 May 2008 from http://www.liebertonline.com/doi/abs/10.1089/10755530152755243?cookieSet=1&journalCode=acm
The Use of Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) in the United States. (2007). NCCAM Publication, NCCAM, National Institutes of Health. Retrieved 16 May 2008 from http://nccam.nih.gov/news/camsurvey_fs1.htm
What is CAM?. (2007). NCCAM Publication No. D347, NCCAM, National Institutes of Health. Retrieved 16 May 2008 from  http://nccam.nih.gov/health/whatiscam/

Morality by Bernard Gert , re: "Broadway Danny Rose" Philosophy and Ethics

Gert’s Morality
I. “Broadway Danny Rose” and Gert’s Morality
The way morality is defined leads to the understanding of ethics. It can be viewed that morality is not a systematic law that everyone must obey but something that is flexible and relative. As Bernard Gert have made his point, morality is something that must be “rational” (Morality versus Slogans, 1989). In fact, he pointed out that “a good moral theory also shows how morality is related to our more general values and to impartiality and rationality.” But what is morality? He defines it as a “code of conduct that, given specified conditions, would be put forward by all rational persons.” (The Definition of Morality, 2005) It is very interesting to know that in Gert’s view, one’s own interest is in accordance with his morality. “There is not necessarily a conflict between self-interest and morality” and his view that an act of evil, if justifiable enough, diminishes its evil character. To kill for self defense as to prevent someone from killing yourself is something justifiable according to Gert, and this idea of morality, is very agreeable.
            In the film Broadway Danny Rose when Danny had to take his talent’s (Lou) mistress as if she is her own girlfriend, Danny committed an act that endangered himself. This is not in accordance to the rules that Gert has presented. However, Danny made this for his own interest as well, which, is to let Tina go with Lou in the latter’s concert. But the question of morality comes in as to the acts of Danny. Was the act of Danny moral? In Gert’s theory it can be derived that Danny had acted not in accordance with good moral by pretending to be the boyfriend of Tina.. Moral values is attained by a person who avoids evil, both for himself and for his friends, or anyone for that matter unless one has a “reason for not avoiding it” (Morality versus Slogans 1989).
In the film Danny Rose, to identify his virtues and vices according to Gert’s theory, it is first important to go back to the basic rules. How a person can be morally virtuous? It is when, according to Gert, that person:
  1. Does not Kill                                     2. Does not Cause Pain
  1. Does not Disable                               4. Does not Deprive of Freedom
  1. Does not Deprive of Pleasure.           6. Doesn't Deceive
  1. Keeps His Promise                            8. Doesn't Cheat
  1. Obeys the Law and
  2. Does His Duty--where Duty includes those actions that he is required to do by his job, his position, his family, his circumstances.
Given the above criteria, Danny is half-way between a virtuous person and a person of vice: meaning, Danny is a normal human being, not very contented and not very happy, like the rest who has limitations and weaknesses fighting out the struggles of life. Danny’s strong virtues can be accounted for his helpful nature and friendliness to his talent persons, especially to Lou who became famous under his management.
Compared to Danny, Lou is much more a person of vice than of virtue committing “irrational” acts as Gert may call it. By having a mistress is one fatal attack to Lou’s morality as he does cheat and deceive, he did not keep the promise in his marriage vows as well as disobeying the law of marriage causing pain to his wife. Lou also failed to perform his duty as a husband.
In the case of Tina, she can be viewed with almost similar character to that of Lou than that of Danny’s. She has more weaknesses in her moral values making her not a very virtuous person. Tina has caused pain and danger to Danny and she also acted irrationally by becoming a mistress of a married person.. Moreover, she deceived both Lou’s wife and the public by being Lou’s mistress and by pretending to be the lover of Danny, respectively.
However, the moral virtues of the three main characters in the film eventually made a better path when Lou and Tina stopped their illicit relationship and Danny became Tina’s lover instead.

II.  Let and Let Live

            “Live and let live.” This sentence is almost synonymous to the golden rule almost everyone is familiar with. However, we have to acknowledge that Gert himself is questioning the real meaning of this golden rule. Thus, his statement about living and letting others live should be examined independently.  Indeed this statement of Gert is excellent and I do not only agree to it but I have to say that I strongly agree with what has presented. As opposed to the rule of “Love thy neighbor as thyself” which is very ideal and could not be achieved by normal human beings, “live and let live” offers humanity a chance to be of morally virtuous character. Morality should not be something very ideal or very utopian yet unachievable, instead, it should be something that humans can attain. As explained, morality should be a positive guide of life embodying the “lessening of evil”, not its elimination or the perfection of human values: as long as humans can live with each other in harmony, morality does not require more of it. However, a morally virtuous person tries to lessen every evil in his deed, thereby retaining the good or better side of his character. In this situation, it is where a “better” morality is achieved, more than just passively living and letting others live.
When the good moral agents act upon the virtuous character of a moral being, it makes him, as encouraged by those moral agents, act positively towards the achievement of more “lesser evil” as he helps out others around him. Thus, quoting Gert, “morality consist of more than requirements; it also encourages people to help others, to prevent and relieve the harms they are suffering.”
Morality, I agree with Gert, is not something that requires strict compliance to the ideals but to the achievement of the basic rules that govern co-existence among humans and not a set of severe ideal rules that require obedience. The applicability of morality is on everyone, thus, it should be inherent for morality to be achievable and can be followed by anyone. Morality is not a one-time guide for an action, instead, it is a guide for life letting each human live with each other. Living with each other is not possible without their permission and efforts towards harmonious co-existence. Thus, one should not kill others because he does not want to be killed by others. But this is not as simple as this rule. Gert emphasized that this kind of rule must have reason behind it. The reason itself is morality. As previously presented in {I} the ten moral acts of a morally virtuous person do not allow him to kill, nor the rules allow him to hurt others. These guiding rules apply to everyone.
The ideas that Gert presented in his book, and in fact in all of his philosophical arguments on morality, it can be viewed that he has parallel ideas to that of John Stuart Mill. In Mill’s idea of morality and the moral worth of an action he has emphasized the importance of overall utility in having the greatest happiness and pleasure for the greater number of individuals. This argument runs parallel to that of Gert who pointed out that having pleasure is not wrong and one’s self interest is not necessarily in contradiction with his morality. One’s self interest is his pleasure. Moreover, in Gert’s idea of  “goods, evil and rationality” (Morality versus Slogans, 1989) he noted that it is evil to act and result to a “loss of pleasure” while under his arguments on moral rules, he stated that a person, to be act in accordance with these rules must  not “cause pain” and must not “deprive pleasure”.
It is to be understood however in the idea to “live and let live” that one’s pleasure must not cause pain to others. Therefore, what is important in the lives of human beings is that everyone can live happily in harmonic peace with each one, for all maintains their own pleasure without depriving the same from others. “Live and let live”!

Broadway Danny Rose (1984). On-line. Available from http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0087003/plotsummary . Internet. Accessed 12 May 2008.
Gert, B. 1989. Morality versus Slogans Paper Presented to the Center for the Study of Ethics in Society, Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, Michigan. Article on-line. Available from http://aristotle.tamu.edu/~rasmith/Courses/251/gert-paper.html . Internet. Accessed 11 May 2008.
Gert, B., ed. 2005. The Definition of Morality, The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Summer 2005 Edition), Edward N. Zalta. 

Life Cycle Costing Method, a Detailed LCC Essay

Life Cycle Costing Method
I. Introduction
Costing is very important in an organization or a business entity. Without a system to identify the cost of the product an entity would not be able to analyze if a certain product or project is feasible or not, or if it advantageous with potential financial returns and not disadvantageous carrying losses with it. To identify the cost is to recognize an activity’s “expenditure, usually of money, for the purchase of goods or services” or to recognize “an expenditure, usually of money, incurred in achieving a goal, such as. producing certain goods, building a factory, or closing down a brand.” These are the definitions of cost provided by the A Dictionary of Business (1996, p.133) These costs can any of the following: current cost; economic cost; fixed cost; historical cost; marginal cost; opportunity cost; and/or replacement cost. These items are very relevant in cost accounting.
The “techniques used in collecting, processing, and presenting financial and quantitative data within an organization to ascertain the cost of the cost centers, the cost units, and the various operations” Hussey (1999, p.99) are termed as cost accounting. Presently cost accounting is regarded as a division of management accounting, which also incorporates the techniques of planning, decision-making, and control in the entity. In large organizations, the management team usually includes a cost accountant responsible for various costing needs and problems encountered by the company. One of them is the Life Cycle Costing
II. What is Life Cycle Costing (LCC)?
Life Cycle Costing, also known as the Whole Life Costing, is a costing technique to establish the total cost of ownership. As Defined in the A Dictionary of Business (1996, p. 292) it is the approach to determining the total costs of a fixed asset that takes into account all the costs likely to be incurred both in acquiring it and in operating it over its effective life.
For example, the initial cost to a plant or factory equipment is only part of the relevant costs to the decision to purchase it. The operating and maintenance costs over its effective life are also relevant and would therefore be part of the decision - making data. This is an aspect of terotechnology or s technology that encompasses management, financial, and engineering skills in installing, operating, and maintaining plant and machinery.
LCC is a structured costing method that addresses “all the elements of this cost and can be used to produce a spend profile of the product or service over its anticipated life span” (Life Cycle Costing). The outcome of an LCC analysis is very useful in assisting management in the decision-making process where there are choices of options. One factor that needs to be considered in this costing method however, is the accuracy of the analysis. As the time frame moves further into the future the accuracy of the analysis diminishes due to factors such as time value of money or inflation among others. Thus, it is very important to present a comparative tool when long-term assumptions apply to some options.
III. The Cost of Ownership
As mentioned, LCC totally accounts all costs in using an item. This cost “can be broadly divided into three categories: acquisition, running and disposal costs” Whole Life Costing (p.2). The following figure presents the cost of ownership.
Acquisition costs are incurred before the item, product or service is ready for implementation. On the other hand, running costs are those incurred as a result of actually utilizing the item, product or service or by simply keeping it available. Disposal costs are incurred, as the name suggests, costs incurred during disposal or when dealing with its potential contamination or other harmful effects of the item. This happens during the end of the life of the products.
There may also be some income that will be associated with or realized during the disposal phase of the item if a resale or residual value is available for that asset. This residual or resale income together with any rental or other income when assets are not in use (opportunity cost saved) can be used to offset against the costs in determining the whole life cost. The previous illustration presents some examples of the costs incurred on each phase of an asset’s life also known as the costs of ownership.
III. Application of LCC
The utilization and application of LCC is important for both end-users (clients) and suppliers (contractors). “LCC is based on the premise that to arrive at meaningful purchasing decisions full account must be taken of each available option.” (Life Cycle Costing) ” All significant aspect of the expenditure process regarding the use of resources which are likely to be incurred as a result of any decision must be addressed. Important considerations must be given to all relevant costs for each of the options, including opportunity costs, from initial consideration of a certain project until its disposal.
The level of complexity of LCC will vary also according to the respective complexity of the goods or product to be procured, contracted. Following are the common fundamental concepts to all applications of LCC:
a. Cost breakdown structure (CBS) which aims to identify all the relevant cost elements. CBS must also have well defined boundaries to avoid omission or duplication;
b. Cost estimation is a necessary procedure in LCC that may be determined by known factors or rates, cost estimating relationships (CERs) derived from accessible historical or empirical data and an opinion of some experts;
c. Discounting which is a technique used to compare costs with benefits that occur in various time periods; and
d. Inflation, which is not a necessary factor for LCC but may be considered. The inflation rate is not the discount rate.
Two good real life examples in the application of LLC are on government projects and procurement of equipments such as hospital equipments. Both the agencies mentioned (hospital and government agency) together with their respective project contractors would find LCC techniques very helpful in letting them decide on the feasibility and profitability of the projects. The better aspect of using LLC is on its “disposal phase” because sustainability is being thought of since the initial and during the entire process. Thus, when the disposal stage arrives, both the supplier and the client need not worry further on the environmental issues that the project may encounter.
Following are the statements taken from the published article on Achieving Sustainability by the Sustainability Action Group of the Government Construction Clients’ Panel of the United Kingdom (UK) government on how helpful it is to consider sustainability in government projects.
It clearly sets out how Government clients will take forward the sustainable development agenda through better procurement of new works, maintenance and refurbishment. This will deliver better value for money for occupiers, users and the public and will make clients and, in turn, suppliers fully aware of their responsibilities regarding sustainability.
Sometimes, in evaluating profitability versus market opportunity potential, decision-making process “often becomes more of an art than a management science” Eastaugh (1992, p.207) Decisions that must be made by hospital management is very important with regards to its reputation and continued existence. Eastaugh further emphasized the importance of using LCC in hospital projects:
The better hospital CEO would take the long-run perspective, consider life cycle costing, and concentrate on safeguarding the reputation of the institution. If one factors in the malpractice expense of mediocre performers, a big loss in the courts could more than wipe out 10 years of "cash cow" profits. Profitability should include some life-cycle costing adjustment for malpractice risk and facility reputation risk. Eastaugh (1992, p.207)
IV. The Use of LCC to Producers, Suppliers or Contractors
The primary consideration in the procurement of construction projects or the purchase of a long term asset is the need to obtain the best value for money or its equivalent “in the whole life” (Achieving Sustainability, 2000) of the facility or the service. This is the reason why it is best to utilize LCC in projects that require not only the setup but also require operation maintenance as well as disposal.
The design, function and operation of the project, be it a constructed plant or equipment, or facility or a rendered service should maximize the delivery of effective customer and public benefit and satisfaction. These goals are most likely to be achieved through a combination of the design, construction, operation and ongoing maintenance, appropriate procurement methods and proper setup and disposal that will deliver the best value for money against the inputs that the producer, supplier or service provider have invested.
“Design, construction, operation and maintenance should not be considered in isolation from each other” (Achieving Sustainability, 2000). Thus, with the use of LCC all the cost can be integrated and proper pricing on projects can be done leading to a competitive bid or to a successful project itself. LCC is a great help in developing strategies that identify the best way to achieve the objectives of the project and value for money, taking into account all of the possible risks and constraints such as maintenance and disposal which are not incorporated in normal costing method that accounts only for the acquisition cost. The strategies gained from using LCC will help the producers, suppliers or contractors to decide about the funding mechanism and asset ownership for the project. The use of LCC greatly assists in achieving the goal of the procurement strategies of the producer, supplier or contractor to achieve the optimum balance of risk, control and funding for a particular project.
V. LCC for the End Users
For an investment decision to be properly made, the decision maker, which is the management board of the entity, must have access to very important and relevant information. This is because the decision carries accountability. The relevant information that the decision makers need is on the cost of the planned project. Before deciding if the project is to be implemented or to be rejected, a proper costing is needed, a costing method that accounts for all the cost of the project since its inception until its disposal. This is where LCC comes in for the use of End-users or clients.
With the assistance of LCC, clients would be able to compare the cost data and make a proper decision when project bidders present their respective offers. Assessing the whole life cost of the project is essential, if the entity has a going concern objective. What the entity must know is not only the initial cash outlay or the investment cost but the entire cost of ownership of the project.
To fully understand what the project can give them, the client must be able to identify the ownership costs associated with the it. These costs are generally categorized as the following:
a. Acquisition costs are those incurred between the decision to proceed with the procurement and the entry of the goods or services to operational use
b. Operational costs are those incurred during the operational life of the asset or service
c. End life costs are those associated with the disposal, termination or replacement of the asset or service. In the case of assets, disposal cost can be negative because the asset has a resale value.
The use of LCC makes the entity secure and ready for all the potential expenditures the project can cause. This is much more important than to know the cost of the initial investment only which appears lower and more favorable but has not accounted for other costs of ownership or the entire cost during the lifetime of the asset.
VI. The Pros and Cons of LCC
Being something normal, the LCC has its own set of advantages and disadvantages. The following section enumerates and discusses the good side of using this system as well as its drawbacks.
a. The Advantages
LCC is a very powerful tool helping a lot of management decision-making processes in the financial world. Among the benefits of using this costing system, as stated in the book of B.H Dhillon entitled Life Cycle Costing are:
a. Useful to control program
b. An excellent tool for making a selection among the competing contractors
c. Beneficial in comparing the costs of competing projects
d. Useful in reducing the total cost
e. Useful in making decisions associated with equipment replacement
f. Useful in planning and budgeting
On the other hand, if one is to make an analysis of LCC, following are the four major benefits of LCC analysis as presented in the site of the Government Construction Clients’ Panel of the UK government entitled Life Cycle Costing:
g. LCC assists in the evaluation of competing options in purchasing such as competing proposals taking into account the cost all throughout the life cycle. LCC is mostly relevant in service contracts and decisions on equipment purchase
h. LCC improves awareness of total costs by taking into account factors that drive cost and their respective resources needed for a certain purchase
i. The application of LCC makes more accurate estimation of the full cost of a project leading to an improved decision making process for the management and establishment of support policies which are also cost effective. Long term costing assessments can have more accurate forecast for its future expenditures when using LCC.
j. Performance trade-off against cost is considered when using LCC. Factors such as requirement and quality must also be considered when purchasing an asset or hiring a service are thoroughly considered in LCC.
b. The Disadvantages
As previously mentioned, LCC is not perfect. Taken from the book of Dhillon, among the pitfalls of LCC are the following:
a. Costly
b. Time consuming
c. Accuracy of data is doubtful
d. Obtaining data is a trying task
Associated with one of the disadvantages of LCC is the lower visible cost of a purchased asset, which often misleads the decision makers. The costs that the majority usually notice, which is the acquisition cost represents only a small proportion of the total cost of ownership. In majority of the big businesses, many departments are within the big organization and the responsibility for the purchase of a certain asset and its acquisition cost is held by one department while the subsequent support funding are held by another department. This can be viewed as a clear limitation of using LCC. The decision makers do not see its benefits easily. Taken from a medical point of view, this fact is stated by Eastaugh in page 7 of his book, Health Care Finance: Economic Incentives and Productivity Enhancement:
Some medical technologies appear cost decreasing, such as visualizing gallstones with ultrasound and crushing the stones with lithotripsy. This is also clearly quality-enhancing in comparison to traditional exploratory surgery. Unfortunately, the public is not well versed in life-cycle costing or the risks of old style invasive medicine (with iatrogenic infections and prolonged lengths of stay). The media tend to focus excessive attention on initial capital outlays rather than on long-run cost-benefit and cost-effectiveness.
VII. Conclusion
LCC is a very powerful tool that takes into account all the relevant cost when acquiring a product. This therefore have helped a lot of decision makers in deciding a lot of things when presented with various options to choose from. However, not everyone can utilize LCC due to some limitations such as its cost, accuracy, time needed to formulate it and the difficulties faced in acquiring the data needed to perform LCC.
Warning and Friendly Reminder: Plagiarism is a crime. This essay is here to give you an idea or guide you, not to be copied by you. You can look at the references and Works cited provided by this free academic essay and from that you can create your own. Be a smart student,be honest: look for free academic essays anywhere in the web or the Internet but don’t forget to make your own. There are so many free essays online as guides but please do your own. You can also utilize free plagiarism checkers available online.
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Dhillon, B. S. (1989). Life Cycle Costing. New York: Gordon and Breach Science Publishers.
Eastaugh, S. (1992). Health Care Finance: Economic Incentives and Productivity Enhancement. New York: Auburn House.
Hussey, R. (1999). A Dictionary of Accounting. 2nd ed. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Life Cycle Costing. 2008. [Online]. Available at: http://www.ogc.gov.uk/implementing_plans_introduction_life_cycle_costing_.asp (Accessed: 11 May 2008).
Whole Life Costing. [Online]. Available at: http://www.eprocurementscotland.com/toolkit/Documents/Whole%20Life%20Costing%203.pdf (Accessed: 12 May 2008).

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