Standard Costing As An Effective Accounting Tool Essay Example

In her article “Standard Costing at 90 – Is It Still an Effective Management Accounting Tool or Has It Analyzed One Variance Too Many,” Joan Toon focuses on discussing the usefulness of videos on management accounting. Topics mentioned in the article include the problem of standard costing, the question of investing in capital projects, and the issue of developing principles of electronic commerce (Toon 7).

The analysis of strengths and weaknesses of standard costing is the main focus of the article. Toon aims at presenting arguments for and against the use of standard costing in management accounting with reference to presenting the experts’ opinions and case study analysis. The adequacy of standard costing is a subject of debates in the sphere of accounting because this technique is discussed as outdated in contrast to activity-based costing (Toon 7). In the article, Toon accentuates such weaknesses of standard costing as an impossibility to guarantee the continuous improvement and problems with providing immediate feedbacks. Furthermore, this approach cannot be used effectively in order to reflect changes in cost structures.

However, the arguments for the use of standard costing are also presented in the article with reference to the analysis provided by Colin Drury, Professor of Accounting, and with the focus on the case of Potterton. Accounting specialists of Potterton, the company producing gas boilers, use standard marginal costing because of such an advantage as simplicity (Toon 7). In addition, they state that the appropriate use of this technique also guarantees the desired continuous improvement.

On the contrary, activity-based costing is regarded as the more complex approach to be used in organizations (Toon 7). After focusing on discussing standard costing, Toon refers to analyzing the problems associated with investing in capital projects, and she focuses on examining changes in hurdle rates expected by investors. Then, the author explains the principles of electronic commerce with reference to the experience of Dell.

For the reader interested in principles of management accounting, the discussion of advantages and disadvantages of standard costing is the most important part of the article. While examining the arguments provided by the author in order to analyze the adequacy of standard costing, it is possible to answer questions about the area where this tool can be applied most effectively.

Thus, small companies which need to optimize the accounting process and receive basic reports can use standard costing because of its advantages associated with simplicity. In this case, standard marginal costing can be discussed as the best choice. This approach allows for controlling differences in expected and actual costs, as well as changes in fixed and variable costs. However, if a company needs to refer to product costs and focus on possibilities for the continuous improvement, as well as on the timely feedback, it is reasonable to use the accounting tool known as activity-based costing.

From this perspective, the article provides prompts regarding the appropriate use of different types of costing methods in various situations. The information from the article can be used in order to guide the further analysis of specific management accounting tools with reference to the areas of their application. Therefore, the article can be viewed as providing ideas for the further discussion of the problem. Much attention should be paid to comparing standard costing with other costing methods adopted in management accounting.

Works Cited

Toon, Joan. “Standard Costing at 90 – Is It Still an Effective Management Accounting Tool or Has It Analyzed One Variance Too Many.” Management Accounting 77.1 (1999): 7-8.

Conflict Resolution Decision In Healthcare Institutions

In any environment that involves people’s communication, there is a possibility of conflict situations. Disputes may arise because of unfair or unsatisfactory working conditions or because of poor performance of some employees. Some people prefer to share their feelings and apprehensions whereas others keep the situation to themselves. Some employees tend to discuss the matters with the management and others express their dissatisfaction in an aggressive way. There is one thing that unites all conflict situations. Whether it is an intrapersonal, interpersonal, intragroup, or intergroup dispute, it is crucial to find the best ways of resolving it. The knowledge of the types and conflicts, their stages, and methods of solving them helps the managers to arrange the most beneficial environment for their employees and gain the best performance and customer satisfaction. This issue is particularly related to healthcare institutions where patients’ health may depend on the atmosphere within the team of healthcare workers.

Description of an Unresolved Conflict

At the hospital where I work conflicts are quite rare. However, recently I became a witness of a dispute that impacted the atmosphere within the team of our department. The head nurse told one of the nurses, Jane B., to attend to the patient who was a native American. The nurse expressed disrespect to the patient’s culture, and he complained about her conduct. The patient wanted the nurse to help him perform some ritual, but the nurse said that she found it “nonsense.” However, it was very important for the patient, and his feelings were deeply hurt. It was difficult for his family to persuade him to go to the hospital, and the conflict made the patient regret his decision.

The type of conflict was interpersonal. There was a disagreement between the nurse and the patient. Because of the nurse’s lack of understanding of the patient’s culture, there was a dispute that further involved a nursing manager. The conflict was unresolved because the patient demanded to be discharged from the hospital. As a result, there was a serious danger to his health. Another negative outcome was that the patient’s daughter complained about the case to the hospital administration.

The Four Stages of Conflict

There are four stages of conflict: latent, perceived, felt, and manifest (Champoux, 2017). In the given case, only three phases were present: latent, perceived, and felt. The latent stage included the conditions preceding the conflict. The fact that Jane was not experienced in communicating with people whose culture differed from her own was the first issue. The second one was associated with the delegation mistake. The head nurse neglected the rules and appointed Jane to complete the task in which she was not skilled. The second phase was perceived conflict. It was when Jane refused to help the patient and mocked his beliefs and traditions. At that stage, the stressful situation became apparent. At the third stage, the conflict was felt. The patient complained and demanded to be discharged. His daughter came and told the hospital administration about the situation. The patient’s discharge posed a risk to his health. If there had been a possibility to decrease the tension and do some negotiation, the conflict would have entered the manifest phase. However, since there was no opportunity to resolve the problem, the fourth stage was not achieved.

As it appeared, the head nurse had no right to send Jane to that patient. Therefore, delegation was the issue in the situation. As Finkelman and Kenner (2016) remark, it is only allowed to delegate the responsibilities if the delegated person knows how to deal with them. However, Jane had not worked at the hospital for a long time, and had not had any experience of managing such cases. Thus, the head nurse did not perform delegation correctly.

Strategies for Conflict Resolution

According to Iglesias and Vallejo (2012), there are the following strategies for resolving conflicts: accommodating, compromising, competing, collaborating, and avoiding. In the situation that occurred between Jane and the patient, the accommodating approach would have been the most suitable one. The nurse should have done what the patient had asked her. If she had been more considerate of the man’s request and expressed respect towards his values, the conflict might have been avoided. Researchers note that emotion regulation plays a crucial role in the process of conflict resolution (Halperin, 2013). Thus, another way of managing the problem would have been an attempt to calm down the patient and talk to him about the significance of conventional medicine.

Although he did not share such views, no one made an effort to reassure him. Instead, the nurse only expressed her contempt to the traditional approaches the patient wanted to use. Therefore, the compromising approach could also have been useful in the discussed case. It would have eliminated the likelihood of the patient’s complains and could have assured that the man would stay at the hospital. However, none of the strategies was used, which led to adverse outcomes not only for the employees involved, but for the whole hospital and, most importantly, for the patient. His chances to recover became minimized when the patient decided to go home and refused to receive any further treatment.

Summary

The experience that I gained from the situation was unique and significant. I learned about the problems with delegation and realized how crucial it was to make each decision in healthcare settings with the maximum precision and care. I saw to what outcomes the delegation problems might lead and realized that people’s lives might be put under threat if a decision was not made correctly.

In the future, I will try to avoid such conflicts in the following ways. First of all, if I occupy the position of a head nurse, I will be extremely cautious about making the decisions. Also, I will arrange staff meetings frequently to ask the staff about the difficulties they have or the insufficient expertise in some areas. It is necessary to know these facts in order to eliminate the possibility of a conflict. By learning what problems my subordinates have, I will be able to help them manage such issues.

I think that it would be a good idea to collect evidence about conflicts. Evidence-based practice is considered as the most effective approach to learning about specific cases. I believe that its role in conflict resolution should not be underestimated. Each hospital unit should discuss such cases and learn from them. By combining a variety of methods, it will be possible to avoid conflicts or minimize them so as to provide the best quality of care for customers and arrange a positive working atmosphere for nurses.

References

Champoux, J. E. (2017). Organizational behavior: Integrating individuals, groups, and organizations (5th ed.). New York, NY: Routledge.

Finkelman, A., & Kenner, C. (2016). Professional nursing concepts: Competencies for quality leadership (3rd ed.). Burlington, MA: Jones and Bartlett Learning.

Halperin, E. (2013). Emotion, emotion regulation, and conflict resolution. Emotion Review, 6(1), 68-76.

Iglesias, M. E. R., & Vallejo, R. B. B. (2012). Conflict resolution styles in the nursing profession. Contemporary Nurse, 43(1), 73-80.

Multimodal Learning Preference And Other Styles

Introduction

The choice of learning strategies is important since it predetermines the success of the learning process. People have diverse learning preferences. Some learn better through visual strategies, and some are more successful with reading or writing strategies. There are tests and questionnaires which help to determine learning preferences and thus positively contribute to learning performance. This paper presents the analysis of the VARK Questionnaire which allows to identify preferred learning strategies and empower the learning process.

Summary of the Learning Style

According to the results of the VARK Questionnaire, I have a multimodal learning preference. I have got the highest scores in reading and writing (10 points), eight points for visual strategies, and five and four for kinesthetic and aural strategies correspondently. Strong preference for reading and writing learning means that I can better percept information from lists, dictionaries, definitions, textbooks, etc. (“Read/Write strategies,” 2018). For example, this learning strategy comprises writing out words many times, taking and reading notes, paraphrasing the important ideas, transforming graphs and diagrams into text and vice versa, and other similar activities that are based on reading and writing.

Individuals who prefer reading and writing learning usually perform well during written exams. Multiple choice questions and the creation of lists can be used as methods to practice before tests and exams. Visual strategies are also effective for my learning according to the VARK Questionnaire. The visual strategy comprises gestures used by a presenter, different posters, pictures, slides or videos, graphs, and diagrams, etc. The visual strategy is applicable through the use of diagrams, charts, or drawing pictures to illustrate the content. The fact that the questionnaire results revealed my multimodal learning preference means that although I learn better with reading, writing, and visual strategies, kinesthetic and aural ones can be used as well as additional strategies.

Preferred Learning Strategies

Analyzing my learning experience, I can mention the following learning strategies that I prefer:

  • Visual strategies
  • Writing strategies
  • Reading strategies
  • Kinesthetic strategies

Comparison of the Preferred and Identified Learning Strategies

The strategies that I have listed as preferred and those that were identified by the VARK Questionnaire are similar. I have mentioned visual strategies as the most preferred, but the test proved that I could be more effective in case I use reading/writing strategies. Also, I frequently use writing in my studies. I have noticed that I remember material better if I take notes and read them afterward. According to my experience, kinesthetic strategies are effective in some cases. When there is an opportunity to see, touch, or taste something, it should be used. For example, laboratory classes or field trips can be more beneficial for some subjects and topics than lectures or textbooks.

Influence of Learning Styles, Preferences, and Strategies on Teaching and Learning

Individual learning styles are frequently decisive for academic performance. Learning styles, preferences, and strategies have an impact both on teaching and learning. For example, Kharb, Samanta, Jindal, and Singh (2013) investigate the learning styles and the preferred teaching-learning strategies of first-year medical students. The findings of this cross-sectional study revealed that the majority of first-year medical students (61%) have multimodal VARK preferences. Most of these (41%) gave preference to bimodal ways of information presentation while there were also the students who preferred trimodal and the quadrimodal ways (Kharb et al., 2013). The other 39% of respondents proved to have a unimodal learning preference. Among the students who have a strong learning preference, the majority favored the kinesthetic strategy while reading and writing were less frequent.

As for the teaching methodology, the students participating in the study preferred practicals (39%). A tutorial was selected as the least popular teaching methodology with only 12% (Kharb et al., 2013). This study proves that a single approach cannot be effective with all the students. Moreover, the definition of the preferred learning styles is a necessary intervention because it can be useful for teachers and help them select productive learning strategies.

Worsley and Blikstein (2015) investigate leveraging multimodal learning analytics, which can be used to differentiate student learning strategies. The researchers conclude that their study is helpful in understanding student learning. Moreover, the analysis of student learning strategies can influence the choice of teaching techniques thus making the process of learning more effective. As a result, the academic performance of students is likely to increase. Still, the choice of teaching strategies should depend not only on students’ preferences but also on the peculiarities of the subject.

Conclusion

To conclude, it is necessary to say that the definition of the preferred learning strategies is an important intervention in any educational process. Since the quality of knowledge is one of the purposes of education, consideration of students’ preferences should become an integral part of the learning process. Thus, students’ preferences in learning strategies should determine the choice of teaching strategies and shape the educational process to make it more effective. Increased attention to learning strategies is likely to increase students’ interest in education and improve their overall academic performance.

References

Kharb, P., Samanta, P.P., Jindal, M., & Singh, V. (2013). The learning styles and the preferred teaching–learning strategies of first year medical students. Journal of Clinical and Diagnostic Research, 7(6), 1089-1092.

Read/Write strategies. (2018).

Worsley, M., & Blikstein, P. (2015). Leveraging multimodal learning analytics to differentiate student learning strategies. Proceedings of the Fifth International Conference on Learning Analytics and Knowledge – LAK ’15.

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