Final Deadlines

So … what else do we need to complete in order to wrap up the course and proceed to Graduation Day? And when do we need to complete it?

Fortunately, I’ve sent you the MFT exam grades, so that is no longer on our To Do list. And I’ve just learned the grading results for the Accounting Assessment exam. Apparently, you earned 3 points towards your course grade if your final score equaled 36, 37, or 38. And you earned 5 points if your final score was greater than or equal to 39.

Going forward, we only have a few remaining deadlines and other activity dates:

> Your Project 2 submission deadline has been extended by 24 hours.

> On Tuesday, we’ll review a presentation in our Documents file entitled Entrepreneur and chat about your capstone experience this semester. After that? I guess that we’ll dance out the door to celebrate your last classroom based accounting session ever!

> On Thursday, we’ll meet at McPhail’s, share a congratulatory drink, and take turns to briefly describe our term projects.

> Do you remember your Compensatory Time Off activities in regards to the social media extra credit assignment? If you wish, you’re welcome to watch the live video stream of an interview on our PC Accountancy’s YouTube channel on Tuesday, May 3rd.

> All of your work is due in your Google Drive folders, no later than May 5th at 10:30 am.

And after that … the curtain falls on your time at PC!

Wrapping Up

Don’t look now, but I think we’ve reached the wrap-up stage of our business planning process! Hey, can Graduation be far behind?

But first, we need to make sure that we’re staying on track with our term project. I’ve already sent out confirmation email messages to all students who have submitted Project 1 documents for re-grading purposes. This Friday at 8:00 am, your Project 2 submissions are due via Google Drive.

And guess what? You have no more advance reading assignments … ever! And likewise, no more quizzes … ever!

But during each of our final four class sessions, we’ll cover material that will prove useful to you in regards to your term project. And I’ll certainly plan to keep the course interesting as we approach the end of your time at PC.:)

Risk Management

Congratulations! We’ve reached the very last step of the business planning process. Although the business planning framework concludes with a sample set of balanced scorecard metrics, a planner also needs to self-critique the plan in order to identify flaws and anticipate criticism.

In advance of our class on Tuesday, please go into our Documents folder and read a PDF file entitled COSO Frameworks. Then please review the Executive Summary of the COSO framework for Enterprise Risk Management.

Then, in advance of our class on Thursday, please read Part 1, Chapter 1 of my business planning handbook. Part I is called Introduction, and Chapter 1 is called Management Accounting and Business Planning. You can find the handbook by clicking on the Handbook link in the left margin or the pull-down menu of our course blog.

We’ll talk about the handbook in detail on Thursday. It provides us with a very comprehensive outline of the content that will be covered in your term project.

Finally, please remember that your (optional) resubmission of Part 1 of your term project is due this Friday at 8:00 AM. If you choose to resubmit your work for regrading, please send me an email message no later than Friday at 8:00 AM and let me know that you do. I will then acknowledge your request with an email response.

As you can see, we’re well on our way to completing the semester. So please hang in there!

Investment Value

We’re done! We’ve reached the final section of our business plan. With the completion of the Investment Value section, followed by a bit of Risk Management, we’ll wrap up the central intellectual content of the course.

That’s the good news. And what is the bad news? Well, I regret that we have now enjoyed our final “one session only” partial week. During the remaining month of the course, we’ll need to meet for two sessions each week.😦

So where shall we begin? In advance of our Tuesday session, please review a pair of PDF presentations in our online Documents folder. One is entitled Financial Statements, and the other is entitled Ratio Analysis.

Then, in advance of our Thursday session, please review an example of a comprehensive balanced scorecard. Then review a PDF presentation in our online Documents folder entitled Risk Analysis.

Guess what? Once we complete our review of these four documents, we are almost “100% done” with the intellectual content of the course. Although we’ll need to cover a few brief odds and ends the following week, we’ll be able to turn our attention to our term projects … and our make-up, extra credit, and online class activities too.

By the way, for those of you who wish to revise and resubmit your Project 1 submission, the approximate due date for that activity will be Thursday, April 14, one week before the deadline for Project 2. I’ll finalize these precise dates (and times) with you next week.

And for those of you who have asked to meet with me during office hours to discuss your term project, please keep in mind that I often hold office hours in Harkins Hall or the Ruane Center. So please check with me, a day or two before we meet, to confirm the place of our meeting.

Finally, if you’re starting to see our finish line on the horizon … it’s not a mirage! Don’t look now, but I think we’re in the home stretch.:)

Revenue (Conclusion)

I hope that you’re enjoying the Easter holiday! Believe it or not, we’ve reached the final week of March, and we’re moving right along towards the conclusion of our semester … and of your time at PC.

Please keep in mind that this week will mark the final “short week” of our course. We will not hold class on Thursday, March 31st because that day — as well as Thursday, March 17th — have been cancelled in order to provide compensatory time off for an upcoming 2+ hour online educational experience.

Nevertheless, we’ll be able to wrap up our discussion of the Revenue section this week. To prepare for Tuesday’s session, please read a web page that contains guidance regarding income taxation.

And that’s it! Once we advance beyond this week and enter the month of April, we’ll move firmly into the home stretch. But first, let’s (finally!) complete our discussion of Revenue on Tuesday.

Revenue (Continued)

Happy St. Patrick’s Day, every one! I hope that you enjoyed the holiday.

As you know, this week will (once again) consist of a single session. Although we’ll meet on Tuesday, there is no class session on Holy Thursday. Thus, we won’t quite complete our discussion of the Revenue Section of our management planning process.

Nevertheless, we will indeed have a full plate of topics to discuss on Tuesday. I’d like to speak to you about Amica’s presentation, about the MFT examination, and about your first term project work. I’ll send you my feedback and my grades for that work before we meet on Tuesday.

In addition, I’d like to make a little more progress with our discussion of the Revenue Section. Thus, in advance of Tuesday’s lesson, please watch an Amica insurance advertisement and a Good 2 Go insurance advertisement. Think about how the comparative messaging strategies of those firms impact their revenue (and cost) structures.

And hey … that’s all we’ll strive to cover this week! After all, we need to get ready for Easter weekend.:)

The Corporate World

Although we all certainly love the class sessions that are chock-full of accounting principles, it’s always healthy to enjoy a change of pace. Thus, this Tuesday, we’ll invite representatives of Amica Insurance to join us for a business conversation.

To prepare for their visit, please review their web page entitled In Your Community, and then use the links in the left margin of that web page to read more about their Corporate Citizenship, Sponsorships, and Charitable Grants activities. All in all, the entire reading assignment consists of four web pages.

On Thursday, you will not come to class at all … it’s St. Patrick’s Day! We are treating this day as “compensatory time off” for other non-classroom activities that we’ll schedule later this semester.

Please keep in mind, though, that your Project 1 assignment is due this week. Please upload your content to your Google Drive folder no later than Tuesday evening, March 15 at 11:59 pm. And as you probably already know, this Wednesday is the deadline for entering midterm grades. Your midterm grade will be based on a simple projection of the quiz grades that you earned through this past week.

And finally, with St. Patrick’s Day right around the corner, I have one final thought to communicate to you …

May the road rise to meet you.
May the wind be always at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face.
And rains fall soft upon your fields.
And until we meet again,
May God hold you in the hollow of His hand.

Revenue

Welcome back! I hope you enjoyed a fabulous Spring Break … your last one ever!

Now that we’re heading into the second half of the semester, we need to address a number of “odds and ends” this week. They are:

(1) We need to identify specific due dates for the two interim term project submissions. PC’s Department of Enrollment Services establishes the due date for the final submission, which will occur on the date that is assigned for a final examination.

(2) We also need to define a 5 point extra credit assignment. It will be associated with class sessions that occur outside of our normal class meeting times, with compensatory time off scheduled for Thursday, March 17 (i.e. St. Patrick’s Day) and Thursday, March 31.

(3) I’ll take a few minutes to discuss our Department’s fledgling efforts to create an online alumni support network. I’ll also distribute feedback forms to solicit suggestions from you about these efforts, and about the final weeks of this semester.

(4) Professor Cary Collins will drop by for a brief discussion about such matters. He is framing his discussion as follows: “Imagine yourself at McPhail’s, having beers with Cary and a group of graduating seniors who are unsure about working for large global firms versus entrepreneurial start-ups. Cary mentions that he has start-up experience, and thus the students ask Cary “what is it like to work for a start-up?”

(5) Oh, yes … we also need to discuss the Revenue section of our business analysis framework! To prepare for our conversation on Tuesday, please read a light blog posting about game theory. Although this posting does not explicitly address pricing strategy per se, it’ll provide helpful background perspective about the competitive gaming aspects of pricing strategy.

The posting discusses the Batman film entitled The Dark Knight. It featured Heath Ledger as the Joker, a role that earned him a posthumous Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor that year.

Then, to prepare for Thursday, please read a brief introductory article about various pricing methods. It will help us apply the principles of game theory to pricing decisions.

That’s quite a few “odds and ends,” isn’t it? No worries, though … we’ll sail through it together!

And we’ll keep sailing for another 10 or 11 weeks, right up to Graduation Day … ☺

Cost

We’re almost there! Just one week until spring break … and what better time to break away from our discussion of Volume and proceed to the Cost section of our analytical process?

So, In advance of our Tuesday class, please review an investigative news story about McDonald’s and a written and video response to the allegations. On that second web page, i.e. the one with the response, please watch the 2 minute video after you read the content.

Then, in advance of our Thursday class, please review a pair of blog postings about job order costing and variance analysis.

You’ll have no problem reading and watching the assignment for Tuesday … I promise! The Thursday readings will be a little dry, but you’ll easily recognize the content from your Cost Accounting class.

And that’s it! After our week off, we’ll wrap up the Cost section in early March. And then we’ll move on to tackle the Revenue section.

But let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves. For now, we’ll enjoy our upcoming week, and then our break!

The Term Project

First and foremost, please enjoy the long holiday weekend! And don’t forget that we’re only meeting in class on Thursday next week, given that the College follows a Monday schedule on Tuesday.

After we (finally) wrap up the Volume section with a quick conversation about the Cost of Quality, we’ll focus on our term project during this week’s class. Please keep in mind that our first term project task has a soft deadline of Wednesday evening, and a hard deadline of Friday evening. The task was described in last week’s blog posting (below).

We’ll also celebrate President’s Day with a discussion of the effective communication skills of some of our greatest Presidents. To prepare for our discussion, in advance of Thursday’s class, please watch a famous video clip of one of our legendary political leaders.

Afterwards, we’ll take a deep breath and prepare to jump into the Cost section of our analytical process. Unsurprisingly, the heart of any accounting-focused business plan is the Cost section, which will become the focus of our curriculum until Spring Break time.

But first, let’s make sure that we’re comfortable with the expectations of our term project! And with our ability to express ourselves in a professional and persuasive manner.

Volume (Conclusion)

We’ve been spending a lot of time talking about volume, haven’t we? This week, we’ll wrap up our discussion of that critical component of business analysis, and we’ll focus on our first submission activity for our term project.

On Tuesday, we’ll begin our discussion with the question on which we ended last week’s sessions; namely, what would Jesus think of our modern financial services industry? And, by extension, would he recommend that PC students consider establishing careers in that industry?

Then we’ll address the issue of managing demand volume. To prepare for this discussion, in advance of our Tuesday session, please download a file entitled Sales Optimization from our online Documents library. Then read the first nine lines of that file. In other words, please stop reading when you reach the words “Step 1” on the tenth line.

On Thursday, we’ll address the reconciliation of volume supply (as established by our Storyboard activity) with volume demand (as established by our Sales Optimization activity). To prepare for this discussion in advance of our Thursday session, please read a web page about quality management entitled Cost of Quality (COQ).

Our Thursday discussion about quality management will be a brief one; we’ll spend the remainder of our time on Thursday discussing our first term project submission activity. And what task will that be?

By Wednesday evening, February 17th, at 11:59 pm, let’s try to complete our first term project task. Please identify your term project topic, create an online folder within Google Drive with a title that reflects your topic, and send an invitation (to access that folder) to me.

I’d appreciate it if you could please use my Gmail user name, which is michael.kraten (at gmail.com, of course). As I mentioned in class, if you prefer to do so, you are welcome to use Microsoft, Box, or any other comparable online service.

Then, once you create and share your online folder, please use the file description memo function in the right side of your folder’s web page to describe your project. Finally, you are welcome to upload a descriptive document or image, if you wish.

Please note that Wednesday evening, February 17th is a soft deadline. Although I do expect you to respect it, if you experience any difficulty with the technology, you are welcome to let me know about the situation and ask me for guidance. I’ll then invite you to try again, and to prepare your online folder, no later than an extended deadline of Friday evening, February 19th, at 11:59 pm.

One more thing … the local meteorologists are all saying that we will continue to experience threats of snow storms all week long. So please keep in mind that I may need to cancel class, even if the College officially remains open, if I am snowed in at home.

I’ll post a message in our blog menu if that occurs, and I’ll send you email messages as well. Nevertheless, let’s hope that we won’t need to resort to such measures!

Volume (continued)

Now that we’ve concluded our discussion of the business model and segued into a conversation about volume, it’s a good time for a transition. So, this week, we’ll bring in a guest speaker to help us understand these concepts, and we’ll consider the need for persuasive communication in regards to our term project.

We have a three part reading assignment for Tuesday’s guest speaker, although the first two parts represent marketing materials. Jason Macaluso, a UBS financial advisor and a member of the Business Advisory Council of the Providence College School of Business, will join us to speak about the challenges of managing business processes in regards to client services.

Two days ago, in class, we discussed a case about a health care organization that struggled to process a significant level of business volume while it experienced severe capacity constraints. Jason is going to help us extend those case concepts into the financial services industry.

The first part of our advance reading assignment for Tuesday is to review the web pages of Jason’s advisory practice. Although you should peruse all of the content on those web pages, please focus on the podcast library that is highlighted on the front page and think about its purpose, its audience, and its function.

The second part of our advance reading assignment is a very brief brochure that Jason distributes in the public realm. You can access it in our online Documents library by clicking on the Documents link in our menu and downloading the file entitled UBS Brochure. Again, as you review it, please think about its purpose, its audience, and its function.

The third part of our advance reading assignment is a Harvard Business School case. You can access it in our online Documents library by downloading the file entitled HBS Case. Please review this content carefully, as Jason will lead a discussion about it in class.

That’s quite a multi-faceted assignment, isn’t it? To compensate for its complexity, we’ll keep it simple on Thursday. In advance of that class, please read a very brief address by an extremely famous politician.

When we meet in class on Thursday, we’ll reflect on our conversation with Jason, think about how business processing considerations affect our operating activities, and then talk about how we’re applying these concepts to the structure of our term project.

It’ll be a very interesting week … I promise! Jason and I are looking forward to getting the ball rolling with you on Tuesday.

 

Volume

Well, I guess that we won’t have a snow-less winter this year! I hope you’re staying warm and dry during this stormy, stormy weekend.

But before we address our plans, I thought you might be curious to see North Carolina State University’s original press release of EY’s $500,000 grant for their virtual reality video game. For some unfathomable reason, PC didn’t see fit to issue a similar press release about my own $489 award.

This week, we’ll wrap up our discussion of the business model, and we’ll engage in a more in-depth discussion of our term project Then we’ll proceed with our review of the concepts of volume supply and volume demand.

In advance of our session on Tuesday, please watch the first ten minutes of a Charlie Rose interview with Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos. By the way, the remainder of that interview is very interesting too … as is the subsequent interview (in the video clip) of Keira Knightley! But we’ll only focus on the first ten minutes of Jeff’s interview in our class.

Sorry, Keira! You’re a fine actress, but you’re no business mogul.😦

Annoyingly, the little time clock in the lower right corner of the video screen (that appears when you move your cursor over the screen while the video is playing) only displays “time remaining in video,” as opposed to “time already passed.” So, in order to watch the first ten minutes of this 53 minute video clip, you’ll need to watch until that little clock hits 43:00.

Also, by the time we meet in class on Tuesday, please be prepared to discuss your term project concept. We’ll spend a little time that day, discussing how you’ll transmit that information to me.

And then, in advance of our session on Thursday, please watch a brief video documentary from National Geographic about a place that is facing a geographic risk.

So much to learn, so little time! And before you know it, it’ll be spring time.:)

The Business Model

Well, we’re on the way! One week down, and only fourteen to go until summer break.:)

But in the meantime, we’ll proceed with our conversation regarding the business model. On Tuesday, we’ll discuss statistical analysis, and on Thursday, we’ll proceed to flexible budgeting practices.

To prepare for our conversation about statistical analysis on Tuesday, please click on the Documents link in the menu of this web page and read the first page of the two page PDF file entitled Business Model Data. Please note that you are not expected to actually type the data into the Wessa web page; we’ll do that together in class on Tuesday.

To prepare for our discussion of flexible budgets on Thursday, please review slide # 19 of 27 (i.e. the slide and the explanatory blurb) in the Sports Illustrated slide series Sports in Unusual Venues. It presents a basketball game that was staged in a very unusual place.

We’ll also review a blog post about flexible budgeting on Thursday. However, you are not expected to review it before our class on Thursday.

Please keep in mind that we are now scheduling a quiz at the beginning of each class. The quizzes cover the content that we discussed during the previous class, as well as the advance reading assignment for the current class.

This week, we’ll also select an online information management system for our term project applications, and we’ll begin our discussion of the term project itself. It would be helpful for you to begin to think about an entrepreneurial project, product, or service that could be launched by an existing organization or a start-up entity.

Welcome!

If you are reading this message, you have found our course blog page. Welcome to Accounting Policy!

This week, on Tuesday, we’ll get acquainted, review the syllabus, and discuss the expectations of the course. Then, in advance of Thursday’s session, please prepare for our introductory assessment of the business model by reading a web page about the balanced scorecard methodology, as well as a brochure about its applications.

On Thursday, we’ll look back at the original version of the balanced scorecard, and we’ll then begin our assessment of a pair of critical articles regarding the balanced scorecard (entitled Ditching the Balanced Scorecard and Balanced Scorecard: Why It Isn’t Working). However, you are not expected to read these two critical articles in advance of Thursday’s session.