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By McVay, Gloria; Kennedy, Frances; Fullerton, Rosemary

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Extra resources for Accounting in the Lean Enterprise : Providing Simple, Practical, and Decision-Relevant Information

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Most of lean accounting involves internal reporting issues; the main external reporting concern is valuation of inventories. There must be a reliable system in place for inventory valuation before reporting changes can occur. Remember that lean companies generally have minimal inventories, and the direct costing focus of lean accounting should actually result in a more accurate inventory valuation than the traditional costing system of estimated overhead allocations, with which most auditors are comfortable.

Of course, the opposite effect is also true. 1: VOLUME VARIANCE EXAMPLE Assume that your budgeted fixed annual overhead costs were $100,000 based on a predetermined fixed overhead rate of $20 per unit and an estimated production level of 5,000 units. If your demand was only for 4,500 units, which is the amount that you actually produced, you will have an unfavorable volume variance of $10,000 (4,500*$20 – $100,000). If you produced the full 5,000 units, even though you didn’t have demand for all of them, your performance would be evaluated better because your variance would be zero and you met your budget!

As such, accounting for lean operations is sometimes referred to as value stream costing. This chapter introduces you to the major concepts of value stream costing. Chapter 4 discusses the details of a value stream costing system. After value streams have been identified by product families and processes, the first step from the accountant’s perspective is to develop a chart of accounts that supports each individual value stream. Every relevant cost to that value stream should be identified with the appropriate code.

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