Masterclass in Financial Control

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Course Overview

The MFC program is the “controlling” module of the masters series in administering business organizations. It focuses on the tools to management in directing and controlling the activities of a business to determine whether targets are being met within acceptable risk parameters.
This is a “nuts and bolts” course which begins with an examination of (short-term) working capital management covering how to right size and monitor working capital and tackling credit controls. We review the process of “managing the numbers”, that is, the more traditional approach using the analysis of financial results and the use of ratios as a control tool.
The program then pushes into more pro-active managerial tools reflecting cutting edge organizations that are results orientated: standard costing, relevant costing and cost behavior are examined with a view to achieving the most effective budgetary planning and variance analysis processes. Activity-based costing and Beyond Budgeting are compelling examples of the more pragmatic and practical approach to planning and controlling.
A key part of the course is the focus on how successful companies focus on EVA (economic value added) and how to use EVA to practically assess the value that a business is creating of their business and how they design and implement appropriate KPI (key performance indicators) and OKR systems (objectives and key results). The course incorporates how to consider and implement more recent trends in the applications of using blockchain as an effective control tool.
The program concludes with an interactive case study and discussion of sound internal controls and the COSO framework.
All of the above are key areas that a controller must be familiar with in order to effectively perform the controlling function, thereby safeguarding company assets and the bottom line from uncontrolled risks.
The course is case study driven and not an academic course. It is crucial for financial managers responsible for making sure that a company’s resources are used correctly – the controlling aspects of sound financial management is the cornerstone of this program.
The course develops key skill competencies through the application of sound theoretical content within a practical, real-life inspired case-study based environment.

Key Takeaways

Take-away toolbox of the “how to do” techniques in effective cost control
Getting the right level of working capital coupled with effective monitoring and controlling this critical component of a company’s resources
Application of advanced ratios to identify problems in an early stage and how to take effective action
Mechanisms to link long-term corporate goals to short-term target-setting
Getting the buy-in of staff: mastering the link between corporate culture and effective controls
The course is supported by a series of case studies led by a course director with years of experience. His examples are thought provoking and elicit a significant amount of group discussion, so delegates learn the “how to”. This is not an academic course.

International Academy of Business and Financial Management
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The International Academy of Business and Financial Management™ is one of the world’s fastest growing professional association with more than 200,000 members, associates and affiliates in 145 countries. IABFM™ hosts and organizes certification training worldwide and offers exclusive board designations to candidates who meet the highest professional standards and assessment criteria. The IABFM is credited by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) the International Standards setting authority.

Course Outline

Day 1
Course Background and Overview
→ Delegate introductions and course objectives
→ High level overview of course content
The Modern Accountants Role
→ Disciplines of financial accounting, management accounting and tax accounting
→ Current challenges and issues in financial accounting
• High level overview of recent standards (revenue, leases, financial instruments)
• Problems facing the profession
→ The evolution of management accounting
• Role of information and data analytics
• New trends and the future of management accounting
→ International tax professionals
• BEPS and the global crackdown on corporate taxation
Working Capital Management
→ The working capital cycle
• Components of working capital
• Review of working capital ratios
• Interpreting the working capital ratios and what action should be taken
Case Study: Numerical exercises on the working capital cycle with discussion of the “how” to monitor and practical solutions to improve working capital efficiency.
→ Receivables management
• Cash and credit options
• How to assess credit policy alternatives
• Leveraging receivables with factoring or invoice discounting
Case Study: Calculating and determining an optimal credit policy, calculations on costing of asset backed financing with factoring or invoice discounting.
→ Inventory management
• Determining optimal order points
→ The balancing act – having the right amount of working capital and the costs / benefit analysis of extra or not enough
→ Risk of working capital deficiencies
• Meaning and risks of overtrading
• Conditions under which negative working capital can be sustainable
Case Study: Calculations and discussion to ascertain if a company is at risk of overtrading coupled with solutions / alternatives to tackle this risk.
Application of Advanced Ratio Analysis
→ Examination of financial ratios and their use as a control tool
• Review of key ratios: profitability, solvency, liquidity, stability
• Information through comparison: competitive benchmarking
• Trend analysis: identification of problems and corrective actions
Day 2
Application of Advanced Ratio Analysis (continued)
Case Study: Complex team-based case study requiring in depth team discussion and analysis that challenges the understanding of expectations of financial ratios where each team is tasked with objective to match a set of ratios with the ten companies. This has been an excellent tool used in many training programs for the delegates to gain a more practical understanding of ratio analysis.
→ Structured approach on gearing (leverage) distinguishing between financial and operational gearing
• Establishing the link between performance and risk taking
• Controlling operational gearing: understanding the risks of high fixed costs
• Controlling financial gearing: risk implications and compliance issues
Case Study: Calculations and discussion on financial and operating gearing and how to effectively use these ratios as a control tool.
Effective use of DuPont Analysis as a Control Tool
→ Linking financial ratios and business realities – identifying internal problems
• Discussion of the three levers in the DuPont analysis
• Earnings and efficiency in earnings
• Ability to turn assets into profit
• Financial leverage
• Linking the DuPont analysis to benchmarking exercises; finding the red flags
• Internal reporting: preparing briefings for board/ senior executives
Case Study: An examination of the comparative performance of three companies in the same industry (pharmaceuticals) from a DuPont perspective, allowing management to identify strengths and weaknesses of their chosen business strategies, while making explicit the risk implications and consequences of those strategies. The case highlights the benefits of competitive benchmarking.
How Your Bank Assesses & Analyzes Credit Risk
→ How your bank prepares their credit memo to assess lending risk
• What is included in the banker’s credit memorandum
− The 5 C’s of credit
• Using guarantees to strengthen your loan
− Cross guarantees in a “diversified” company
− Loan covenants, collateral and contractual assurances
− Debt subordination structuring
− Third party guarantees
• How to demonstrate repayment to your bank
− A banker’s “way out” analysis and how best to present it
Review of Costing Concepts
→ How cost behavior impacts our analysis
• Fixed, variable, stepped and semi-variable cost behavior
→ Approaches to deal with fixed costs
• Absorption costing concepts
− Using an overhead absorption rate
− Allocation of cost from support / service cost centers
• Marginal costing concepts
Case Study: Participants will complete an exercise to reinforce differences between full absorption and marginal costing followed by a discussion of the different choices to tackle fixed and corporate overhead allocations.
Relevant Costing in Decision Making
→ Determining relevant costs determined
• Tackling fixed and committed costs
• What to do with opportunity and sunk costs
→ How to use relevant costs to make financial decisions
Case Study: Group exercise analyzing a list of costs to determine which ones are relevant and how they should be used in the decision-making process.
Day 3
How to Approach Budgeting
→ The budget preparation process
• Comparing and contrasting incremental and zero-based budgeting
→ Gathering revenue inputs
• Analysis of historical targets
• Setting targets
→ Gathering input costs
• Cost estimation techniques
− Tools and techniques for approximation
− Using sensitivity analysis to test assumptions
• Staff and material costs
• Fixed and variable overheads
Case Study: Group discussion and exercise on an outsourcing firm for developing inputs for the budget process.
Standard Costing & Operating Performance Measures
→ The reason and rationale for using standard costing
→ Effective use as a cost control tool
• Using standards to manage by exception
• The variance analysis life cycle
→ Setting the standards and using an overhead absorption rate
→ Drawback of using prior year budgets – missing the inefficiencies
→ Six sigma – what it is about and impact on setting standards
→ Labor, material and overhead standards
→ The reason and rationale for using standard costing
→ Effective use as a cost control tool
Case Study: Short exercises on calculating standard costs and preparing fixed and flexible budgets.
Variance Analysis
→ Calculation of the core variances
• Material price and usage variances
• Labor rate and efficiency variances
• Overhead price and volume variances
• Advanced variances – mix and yield variances
→ Effective interpretation of variance analysis – the do’s and don’ts
→ Effective use as a cost control tool
Case Study: Group exercise on calculating variances for an Italian restaurant under marginal and absorption costing methods.
Day 4
Activity Based Costing & Budgeting
→ Discussion on weaknesses of traditional costing compared to activity-based costing techniques
→ How to determine and use cost pools and cost drivers
→ Analyzing the variances
Case Study: Numerical exercise comparing traditional costing methods with activity-based costing.
Transfer Pricing
→ Inter-department recharges and corporate overheads
• Transfer pricing alternatives
→ Impact of transfer pricing on management decisions
→ How to use transfer prices to motivate and optimize corporate behavior
Case Study: Numerical exercise with transfer pricing alternatives requiring delegates to make recommendations for a transfer pricing policy that is the most beneficial to the entire organization.
Economic Value Added (EVA)
→ Why this alternative measure – the nuts and bolts
→ Problems of assessing performance with financial accounts / IFRS profit targets
→ Value-based management and the role of EVA in performance metrics
• EVA as an effective monitoring and control tool
• Using EVA as a motivational management tool
Case Study: Real life case study of Mike’s (the course director’s) India business as to how EVA was used as an effective control balancing the marketing investment, cash flow and using the results to assess the company’s performance.
Alternative Costing / Budgeting Techniques
→ Shaking off the limitations of short-term accounting profits
• Lifecycle costing – taking the long view
• Target costing – the balancing act between product costs and selling prices
Case Study: Discussion and analysis illustrating the pitfalls of relying solely on financial accounting data.
Goal Setting and Monitoring
→ Techniques to set goals and monitor performance
• Use of key performance indicators (KPI’s) – setting targets within the strategic framework in order to improve business performance
• Objective and key results (OKR’s) – linking targets to performance and action steps
• Balanced scorecard – incorporating the contributions of all stakeholders in an effort to balance financial and non-financial measures; communicating and using the scorecard within a business unit
→ Incentivizing the organization to commit to remedial actions when targets are off track – feedforward and pro-active approaches; corporate cultural implications
Case Study: Group discuss on identifying KPI’s; exercise on implementation of effective OKR’s.
Day 5
Internal Control Framework
→ Core concepts and practicalities of internal control
→ Comprehensive approach addressing the design and implementation of risk management systems
• Developing risk management strategies and policies
• Creating a risk register
• Key risk indicators (KRI’s)
• Embedding risk management processes
→ The COSO framework – a detailed examination including
• Framework objectives – Operations, Reporting & Compliance
• Framework components
− Control environment
− Risk assessment
− Control activities
− Information and communication
− Monitoring
Case Study: Extremely educational and engaging video case study of a ferry disaster where delegates work in groups to identify control deficiencies in the control environment applying the COSO internal control framework.
Beyond Budgeting – Enabling Business Agility
→ Benefits and drawbacks of traditional budgeting
→ The twelve beyond budgeting principles
• Leadership principles and management processes
→ Setting targets in a beyond budgeting environment
→ Key performance indicators and how they improve business performance
Blockchain Technology as a Control Tool
→ Origins of blockchain and how the distributed ledger technology works
→ Evolving role in providing controlling tools to the business
→ Controlling the supply chain
Course Wrap up and Conclusion

Who Should Attend?

This highly practical and interactive course has been specifically designed for
→ Directors and Senior Officers
→ Heads of Finance
→ Chief Accountants
→ Financial Controllers
→ Management Accountants
→ Managers Responsible for Controlling Cost
→ Internal Auditors

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What language will the course be taught in and what level of English do I need to take part in an LEORON training program?
Most of our public courses are delivered in English language. You need to be proficient in English to be able to fully participate in the workshop and network with other delegates. For in-house courses we have the capability to train in Arabic, Dutch, German and Portuguese.
Are LEORON Public courses certified by an official body/organization?
LEORON Institute partners with 20+ international bodies and associations.We also award continuing professional development credits (CPE/PDUs) for:1. NASBA (National Association of State Boards of Accountancy) 2. Project Management Institute PDUs 3. CISI credits 4. GARP credits 5. HRCI recertification credits 6. SHRM recertification credits
What is the deadline for registering to a public course?
The deadline to register for a public course is 14 days before the course starts. Kindly note that occasionally we do accept late registrations as well, but this needs to be confirmed with the project manager of the training program or with our registration desk that can be reached at +1071 4 1075 5711 or
What does the course fee cover?
The course fee covers a premium training experience in a 5-star hotel, learning materials, lunches & refreshments, and for some courses, the certification fee and membership with the accrediting bodies.
Does LEORON give discounts?
Yes, we can provide discounts for group bookings. If you would like to discuss a discount on a corporate level, we will be happy to talk to you.