Fundamentals Of Management Accounting Sample Assignment

Introduction

It is vital to realize that the accountant has so far been using the full costing traditional method that has been in use for a long time. To ensure that my friend understands what full costing means, it is all costs involved with achieving some objectives. More precisely in my friend’s case, it means all the costs involved in carrying out the business activities he is engaged in. Thus the accountant has been summing up the direct costs and the indirect costs in order to get the total costs of producing the total units of output at the end of the year. In other words, this can be explained as follows, Direct costs of the units + Fair share of indirect costs (overhead costs) = Full cost of the units. (Atkinson, 2004).

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However, this method has proved unworthy using because the business has been making losses. The shortcoming of full costing method is that adding up all the costs at the end of the period does not show the relationship between direct, indirect, variable and fixed costs of a particular job. In addition it tends to use past costs and to restrict its consideration of future costs to outlay costs.

The past costs are irrelevant irrespective of the purpose for which the information is to be used. This is because it is hard to make decisions about the past but only about the future. The reason is that in carrying out a particular job the full costs or the total costs will be made up of some direct and some fixed costs elements. (Laureate, 2007)

It will also be made up of some direct and some indirect or overheads elements. The current costing system that throws up considerable overheads costs that are then allocated to the business products at the end of the year-end on the basis of labor hours has been the cause of the problem in the business.

This is because a business is divided into various departments and the costs in the different departments differ greatly. Thus the overheads costs in the production department are not the same costs in the sales department which make the overheads costing above unrealistic. The option is to divide the business into departments where each department should deal with a separate activity and the overheads allocated to these different activities.This is the reason why the accountant has decided to change the costing procedures to adopt the ABC or the Activity Based Costing.

The activity based costing is based on the realization that overheads do not just occur but they are caused by activities such as holding products in stores, which drive the cost. The accountant has so far been treating the overheads as rendering a service to costs units, the cost of which must be charged to those units. However ABC recognizes overheads as being caused by cost units and those costs units must be charged with the costs that they cause.

This calls for identification of the activities that cause costs because it enables the management to control them more effectively. This will in turn help in analyzing the cost drivers. According to Upchurch 1998, the management will be able to have a much clearer insight into the costs that are caused activity by activity. In this respect more accurate product costs can be identified and costs can be controlled more effectively thus making the business more profitable.

Conclusion

The reason as to why the accountant demands for more pay in order to shift into the ABC system is because analysis of overheads in order to identify cost drivers is very time consuming and costly as well as a tedious exercise. (Horngren, 2005) Therefore the accountant is correct on the issue of shifting into the ABC system of costing. However to do this more finances should be allocated to the new system in terms of changing the entire system and accountant salary because it is worth adopting. He should ensure that in the new accounting period the ABC system is put into use.

References

Atkinson, R. et al (2004), management accounting, 4th edition, (New York, Prentice Hall.).

Horngren, C. et al (2005), cost Accounting, 12th Edition, (New York, Prentice Hall international).

Laureate, K. (2007), managing Resources 1st Edition, (New York, Pearson Custom Publishing).

Upchurch, A. (1998), management accounting: Principles and Practice, (New York, Financial Times/ Pitman Publishing).

The American Retrenchment Of 1969 – 1980

Introduction

The history of the United States of America is a combination of the successful and failing policies taken by the Governments led by 44 Presidents. The focus of this paper is one of the most difficult periods in US history – the period of economic stagnation, political scandals and social issues, i. e. Retrenchment of 1969 – 1980. This period is chosen because it shaped the future directions of the development of the American nation in its foreign and domestic policies.

Retrenchment 1969-1980

To start with, it is necessary to state that the book by Moss (2005) is a great source of information about the development of the American people in the period after World War II. The research methods used by the author are mainly qualitative, i. e. directed at finding out the reasons for certain events rather than merely stating them as facts. The bulk of the research is the study of previous works by other authors in this field (Moss, 2005). Another step in Moss’ research is the synthesis of the data obtained to present a reader with a comprehensive and readable work. Thus, for example, the Calming Down is a chapter about the policies of President Nixon directed at stabilization of the domestic situation and settling all the foreign policy disputes faced by the USA. Accordingly, Moss explains how Nixon managed to calm the society down after the disastrous presidency of Lyndon Johnson. 1968, the year when Nixon became President, saw the severest economic stagnation in the USA history since 1893, and the new President was to deal with this (Moss, 2005).

Further on, Nixon had to deal with serious political challenges including the continuing Cold War with the USSR, Vietnam War and conflicts with other Communist countries in the world. As a result, during Nixon’s term in office, the so-called Détente started as a process of improving the US relations with the USSR. Moreover, the then events created the conflict between the largest Communist powers of that time – China and the USSR. Accordingly, the USA had time to settle its Vietnam issues, and could afford friendship with the Soviet Union, which was, however, broken, in the early 1980s (Moss, 2005). Also, the Presidency of Nixon was marked by the serious changes in the social attitudes of the Americans. For example, the processes of busing and desegregation were started in the 1970s granting the African Americans, women and other discriminated minorities equal rights with whites, men, etc (Moss, 2005). Abortion legalization, homosexual rights and economic issues were also crucial for the period discussed and marked the so-called era of limits. Finally, the Americans of 1970s were a quite different nation from the one of the 1950s. Their attitudes towards morale, social duties and rights changed making all racial and sexual groups equal in their educational and employment opportunities (Moss, 2005).

Article Analysis

Accordingly, to get a better understanding of the module, it is necessary to address the scholarly articles on this issue. Two articles were chosen for this purpose. One of them, Globalization and America since 1945, is retrieved from the reputable International Journal on World Peace. The author of this article develops the topic of globalization and the role of the American foreign policies in it. Moreover, Jackson (2003) considers the implications of globalization upon the domestic policies of the countries, and explains the relation between Nixon and Ford’s policies and the modern economic and political situation in the world (p. 84). Accordingly, there is a clear connection of the issues studied in the module and discussed by Jackson in his article. The value of the latter lies in presenting the broad context to the events and processes studied in class.

Further on, the second article considered is also a reputable source of the necessary information. It is taken from the Canadian Journal of Sociology and is titled Fighting “Big Government”: Frames, Federalism, and Social Policy Reform in the United States. Beland and De Chantal (2004) are concerned with the issues of different policies implemented by the Governments under Johnson, Nixon and Ford. Among others, their interest is concentrated on the federalism policies and various modifications, including retrenchment, carried out by the above-mentioned leaders and Ronald Reagan as well (Beland and De Chantal, 2004, p. 241). Accordingly, this article also adds greatly to the knowledge acquired during the module study and discloses such specific details as reasons for Retrenchment and its major types.

Conclusions

So, it is necessary to state that the history of the United States is a rather complicated phenomenon to study. Moreover, the US history is the history of the American people in all its aspects including racial and sexual discrimination, Civil Rights Movement, Vietnam War, Watergate issue, and many others. Accordingly, the module on Retrenchment and the articles considered to develop the knowledge in this field are the sources of information about the period in the US history that shaped the basics of what the American nation is today.

References

Beland, D., & De Chantal, F. (2004). Fighting “Big Government”: Frames, Federalism, and Social Policy Reform in the United States. Canadian Journal of Sociology, 29(2), 241+.

Jackson, E. R. (2003). Globalization and America since 1945. International Journal on World Peace, 20(3), 84+.

Moss, G. D. (2005). Moving On: The American People Since 1945, 3/E, Prentice Hall.

The Etruscans Granulation And Its Application In Art Works

Introduction

The Etruscans inhabited modern Italy and Corsica between 800 BC -1000 BC. The civilization is well known for its craft works and artistic developments reflected their unique beliefs and traditions. In order to describe the art of granulation, it is important to mention the age and the stage of development 1The silver age follows the gold and in its turn is replaced by the copper age, just as the lucky shepherd of the fairy tale climbs the tree which bears on its lowest boughs the copper city, a day’s travel further up the silver city, and finally at the top in the crowning golden branches the wondrously beautiful princess in the golden castle.

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For the Etruscans, the gold was perceived as a unique metal which possesses a magic2. Like many Eastern peoples, the Etruscans had a predilection for work in ivory and gold–precious materials permitting the most exquisite effects. The ivory and gold were imported from Africa and Asia to meet the requirements of a refined clientèle. The infinitely rich treasures of the great 7th- and 6th-century tombs give an idea of the luxury which reigned in Etruscan aristocratic society at the height of its power3. From the beginning, Etruscan gold- and silversmiths possessed well tried techniques which doubtless originated in the Caucasus and the countries of the Aegean. Two forms of decoration–filigree and granulation–enabled them to create jewels with a skill and artistry never equalled even in modern times. The craftsman obtained the filigree by drawing the gold, which is very malleable, and thus producing wires of extreme thinness. With these wires he made elegant arabesques on the jewel he was decorating, whether it was a fibula, an ear-ring or a bracelet. Granulation, on the other hand, consisted in reducing the gold to tiny balls, the diameter of which is sometimes no more than two hundredths of a millimetre. Under the microscope these infinitesimal balls reveal extreme fineness and regularity. The most difficult part of the operation was the soldering of the filigree or the granules on to the base of the jewel. This process, which did not alter the shape of the balls or of the wire, was an operation of extreme difficulty and modern workers do not know how the Etruscans contrived to do it. Various explanations have been advanced by the experts and we are approaching an explanation of the mystery. At all events, the Etruscan goldsmiths in the archaic period produced objects of rare virtuosity and even Greek jewels did not attain such a pitch of perfection. Necklaces, rings, bracelets, agrafes and car-rings, from the high period of Etruscan civilisation form the most extraordinary series of objects ever produced and, in spite of the interest they arouse, can still not be imitated4.

Historians underline that the things which took place in smoke and soot during this process must have appeared puzzling and dangerous to a world as yet a stranger to scientific thinking, which still measured its discoveries against experiences of the soul and mythical descriptions. The actual production of the little balls was itself a kind of magic5. Little pieces are snipped off bundles of finest gold wire and fall without touching each other into a crucible filled with coal dust. The crucible is heated to a high temperature and when the dust has once grown cold and is rinsed out it is seen that the little pieces of wire have melted into uniform-sized little balls6. These have then to be amalgamated in a special way with copper salts and joined to the background which they are to adorn by means of saliva or fish glue, or some other sticky substance which will be partially transformed into carbon in the ensuing melting process. The final junction is then ultimately achieved, by means of carefully directed heat, as a chemical process7. The whole proceeding is accompanied by a play of changing colors created by the sparks and flames. It is easy to understand the aura of respect and fear which surrounded those who had the power to do such things and which led them to live a life apart within society, and it is easy to see why the Etruscans included Sethlans (Vulcan), the smiths’ god, in the number of the great gods who had power over lightning8. Following modern historians, the rat of granulation attains a high degree of perfection, and was related to the ornamental use of nail heads and rivets. The two techniques are found side by side at a very early date in the ancient East, and were both used for the same purpose9.

What took place in Volsinii was the filling of a predetermined space with nails, but the object of the exercise was not primarily to produce a wall-decoration in the shrine but to outlaw the past and reveal destiny fulfilling itself irresistibly and driving on to a fixed end. We do not know what other ideas of a special nature may possibly also be associated with granulation10. Another method of working, less subtle but scarcely more recent, which also developed from ornamental nailing, is that in which bosses punched from the reverse side are used instead of the little gold beads, a technique which, admittedly coarser, had already appeared on the bronze helmets of the later Villanova culture11.

One of the best examples of granulation is a dress pin (7th century). It is made of gold and has 32 cm in length. The Italic form of the plate-fibula is elaborately developed and decorated in varied techniques with oriental motifs. On the plate, two palmettewreaths beaten from gold-foil encircle five lions, cut out from a separate sheet and attached. Outlines and interior drawing are done with closely-set granules of gold, the so-called granulation technique. The zigzag patterns on the oblique connecting-links are done in the same manner12. The particular difficulty of this technique, which was also known in the East and amongst the Greeks, is to prevent the grains of gold from melting whilst being soldered on. Six rows of winged lions, beaten and decorated with granulation, decorate the lower arm. Between them and along the edge are ducks, beaten in two halves and soldered down the middle; there is granulation on their interior lines. The pin is fastened at the tip of this lower arm. The fibula was found, together with the jewellery reproduced in the following plate, in a rich chieftain’s grave at Cerveteri (the so-called Regolini-Galassi Tomb). It was worn in front or on the shoulder with the point of the pin or the large plate against the neck13.

Though shape and technique make it obvious that this is native Etruscan work, yet the style of the art and the figures themselves have such an oriental motifs that modern men cannot reject as impossible the theory that this pin was used for a purpose which can not yet be proved to have existed in later Etruria14. The golden breast-plate also had no permanent significance. On Syrian bowls such as those found in the Tomba Regolini-Galassi itself and in Praeneste there are illustrations of the goddess Isis wearing over her forehead a winged disc of the sun. Even though there has not so far been found in Italy any direct proof of the existence of such head ornaments we may yet reckon with the possibility that they did exist as ceremonial adornments. The lions and the water birds suggest a person who is portrayed on the broad armlets of Larthia along with the old oriental lion-killer. Is it possible that the dead lady was distinguished by the peculiar head ornament and the golden breast-plate? Was she able to wear these emblems even in her lifetime perhaps on certain solemn occasions just as the ‘Victor’ in Rome was allocated in accordance with a custom proved to be Etruscan the dress and the vehicle of Tinia, because he was, for the period of the triumph, not only a religious symbol but in truth the heavenly god himself moving visibly among men?15

In the art of this period, the geometric style was popular. It is only through the numerous archaeological discoveries and studies of recent decades that this non-classical art has become plainer and known far beyond the restricted world of the specialists, particularly through the bronze shields, the bronze furnishings and fittings. Research work on Homer, following these discoveries, has shown the degree to which the Etruscans in particular drew pictorial force from this revolution. From the beginning of the seventh century B.C. onwards there can be observed, in art, the action of a will growing visibly stronger, which aims at mastering and controlling the powers and forces of the underworld by the creation of shapes durable as crystal and of laws universally valid16. When the artist realizes in human form the forces which can bear a weight by virtue of being held together under tension in a pillar and represents them as maidens carrying baskets beneath the rigid beams, this is an exception and an event, and the beam-supports in their turn are transformed into architecture and become an integral part of the structure. This is a feature of art at its best17.

In the following period, from about 600 to 550 B.C., more use was made when decorating the still thin-walled ware of a stamping technique, which had hitherto been employed mainly in the production of larger storage vessels. This consisted in rolling off patterns from revolving seals on which were carved negative designs, some of which seem to have been imported straight from the East. They produced a relief frieze, used particularly for decorating mouths or rims of vessels. Simultaneously there emerged, at an early date, though it did not attain any particular importance before the second half of the sixth century B.C., that heavy, thick-walled pottery18.

The persistent attachment to motives and shapes of older Corinthian pottery is noteworthy at a time when Ionic influence was asserting itself predominantly elsewhere in Etruria. This can hardly be explained simply on technical grounds such as the continued use of old models, but neither can it be explained as sheer unproductive conservatism since these elements are used quite deliberately19. It seems much more likely that the Etruscans like the Greeks felt that certain styles and methods of production were indissolubly linked to specific kinds of art. Just as the hexameter of Homer remained the natural meter of the epics of Greece right down to post-classical times, and underwent only slight adaptations, and just as in Hellas the technique of shading in painting and drawing, for example, was never during long centuries used when representing the female body; so the old Corinthian shapes and illustrations belong to Bucchero ware from its beginning right down to its gradual disappearance in the first decades of the fifth century B.C.20 Besides these are others, richly plaited bands, a pattern of fish-scales, a frieze of animals running round, which can plainly be recognized as illustrations of the period21. The close juxtaposition of old and new styles of decoration warns us not to form rigid ideas of a too strictly chronological kind in dealing with things Etruscan, for historians continue to find heterogeneity even in the later years of Etruscan civilization, because these people derived such pleasure from toying with pictures and shapes which they had seen in some foreign country22.

Conclusion

In sum, the art of granulation introduced by the Etruscans was influenced by their unique cultural traditions and beliefs. The granulation was widely used in art works and possessed by other cultures. In the realm of history historians come across this same tale, but it is enriched by a fourth era — the iron age, which corresponds to the harsh present day — regarded at any given epoch as unfriendly and ruthless.

Bibliography

  1. Beazley, J. D. Etruscan Vase-Painting. Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1989.
  2. Bloch, R. The Etruscans, translated from the French by Stuart Hood. James & Hudson, London, 1958.
  3. Randall- MacIver, D. The Etruscans. Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1927.
  4. Pallottino, M., Jucker, H. J., Art of the Etruscans, Hudson, London, and Atlantis Verlag, Zürich, 1955.
  5. Pallottino, M. The Etruscans, translated from the Italian by J. Cremona. Penguin, 1955.
  6. Peet, T. J. The Stone and Bronze Ages in Italy. Oxford, 1909) D. Randall-MacIver, Villanovans and Early Etruscans (Oxford, 1987.
  7. Perkins, J. B. “The Problem of Etruscan Origins”, Harvard Studies in Classical Philology 64 (1959) 1-26

Footnotes

  1. Beazley, J. D. Etruscan Vase-Painting. (Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1989), p. 65.
  2. Pallottino, M. The Etruscans, translated from the Italian by J. Cremona. (Penguin, 1955), 45.
  3. Randall- MacIver, D. The Etruscans. (Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1927), 78..
  4. Pallottino, M. The Etruscans, translated from the Italian by J. Cremona. (Penguin, 1955), 136.
  5. Ibid 71.
  6. Beazley, J. D. Etruscan Vase-Painting. (Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1989), 15.
  7. Perkins, J. B. “The Problem of Etruscan Origins”, Harvard Studies in Classical Philology 64 (1959) 1.
  8. Ibid., 54.
  9.  Ibid., 22.
  10. Perkins, J. B. “The Problem of Etruscan Origins”, Harvard Studies in Classical Philology 64 (1959) 4.
  11. Beazley, J. D. Etruscan Vase-Painting. (Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1989), 75.
  12. Peet, T. J. The Stone and Bronze Ages in Italy. Oxford, 1909) D. Randall-MacIver, Villanovans and Early Etruscans (Oxford, 1987), 65..
  13. Beazley, J. D. Etruscan Vase-Painting. (Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1989), 45.
  14. Ibid., 44.
  15. Beazley, J. D. Etruscan Vase-Painting. (Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1989), 45.
  16. Ibid., 49.
  17.  Perkins, J. B. “The Problem of Etruscan Origins”, Harvard Studies in Classical Philology 64 (1959) 18.
  18. Pallottino, M. The Etruscans, translated from the Italian by J. Cremona. (Penguin, 1955), 41.
  19. Ibid., 88.
  20. Beazley, J. D. Etruscan Vase-Painting. (Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1989), 15.
  21. Beazley, J. D. Etruscan Vase-Painting. (Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1989), 15.
  22. Bloch, R. The Etruscans, translated from the French by Stuart Hood. (James & Hudson, London, 1958), 184.

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