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Principles of Accounting, Volume 2: Managerial Accounting

10.2 Evaluate and Determine Whether to Accept or Reject a Special Order

Principles of Accounting, Volume 2: Managerial Accounting10.2 Evaluate and Determine Whether to Accept or Reject a Special Order
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  1. Preface
  2. 1 Accounting as a Tool for Managers
    1. Why It Matters
    2. 1.1 Define Managerial Accounting and Identify the Three Primary Responsibilities of Management
    3. 1.2 Distinguish between Financial and Managerial Accounting
    4. 1.3 Explain the Primary Roles and Skills Required of Managerial Accountants
    5. 1.4 Describe the Role of the Institute of Management Accountants and the Use of Ethical Standards
    6. 1.5 Describe Trends in Today’s Business Environment and Analyze Their Impact on Accounting
    7. Key Terms
    8. Summary
    9. Multiple Choice
    10. Questions
    11. Exercise Set A
    12. Exercise Set B
    13. Thought Provokers
  3. 2 Building Blocks of Managerial Accounting
    1. Why It Matters
    2. 2.1 Distinguish between Merchandising, Manufacturing, and Service Organizations
    3. 2.2 Identify and Apply Basic Cost Behavior Patterns
    4. 2.3 Estimate a Variable and Fixed Cost Equation and Predict Future Costs
    5. Key Terms
    6. Summary
    7. Multiple Choice
    8. Questions
    9. Exercise Set A
    10. Exercise Set B
    11. Problem Set A
    12. Problem Set B
    13. Thought Provokers
  4. 3 Cost-Volume-Profit Analysis
    1. Why It Matters
    2. 3.1 Explain Contribution Margin and Calculate Contribution Margin per Unit, Contribution Margin Ratio, and Total Contribution Margin
    3. 3.2 Calculate a Break-Even Point in Units and Dollars
    4. 3.3 Perform Break-Even Sensitivity Analysis for a Single Product Under Changing Business Situations
    5. 3.4 Perform Break-Even Sensitivity Analysis for a Multi-Product Environment Under Changing Business Situations
    6. 3.5 Calculate and Interpret a Company’s Margin of Safety and Operating Leverage
    7. Key Terms
    8. Summary
    9. Multiple Choice
    10. Questions
    11. Exercise Set A
    12. Exercise Set B
    13. Problem Set A
    14. Problem Set B
    15. Thought Provokers
  5. 4 Job Order Costing
    1. Why It Matters
    2. 4.1 Distinguish between Job Order Costing and Process Costing
    3. 4.2 Describe and Identify the Three Major Components of Product Costs under Job Order Costing
    4. 4.3 Use the Job Order Costing Method to Trace the Flow of Product Costs through the Inventory Accounts
    5. 4.4 Compute a Predetermined Overhead Rate and Apply Overhead to Production
    6. 4.5 Compute the Cost of a Job Using Job Order Costing
    7. 4.6 Determine and Dispose of Underapplied or Overapplied Overhead
    8. 4.7 Prepare Journal Entries for a Job Order Cost System
    9. 4.8 Explain How a Job Order Cost System Applies to a Nonmanufacturing Environment
    10. Key Terms
    11. Summary
    12. Multiple Choice
    13. Questions
    14. Exercise Set A
    15. Exercise Set B
    16. Problem Set A
    17. Problem Set B
    18. Thought Provokers
  6. 5 Process Costing
    1. Why It Matters
    2. 5.1 Compare and Contrast Job Order Costing and Process Costing
    3. 5.2 Explain and Identify Conversion Costs
    4. 5.3 Explain and Compute Equivalent Units and Total Cost of Production in an Initial Processing Stage
    5. 5.4 Explain and Compute Equivalent Units and Total Cost of Production in a Subsequent Processing Stage
    6. 5.5 Prepare Journal Entries for a Process Costing System
    7. Key Terms
    8. Summary
    9. Multiple Choice
    10. Questions
    11. Exercise Set A
    12. Exercise Set B
    13. Problem Set A
    14. Problem Set B
    15. Thought Provokers
  7. 6 Activity-Based, Variable, and Absorption Costing
    1. Why It Matters
    2. 6.1 Calculate Predetermined Overhead and Total Cost under the Traditional Allocation Method
    3. 6.2 Describe and Identify Cost Drivers
    4. 6.3 Calculate Activity-Based Product Costs
    5. 6.4 Compare and Contrast Traditional and Activity-Based Costing Systems
    6. 6.5 Compare and Contrast Variable and Absorption Costing
    7. Key Terms
    8. Summary
    9. Multiple Choice
    10. Questions
    11. Exercise Set A
    12. Exercise Set B
    13. Problem Set A
    14. Problem Set B
    15. Thought Provokers
  8. 7 Budgeting
    1. Why It Matters
    2. 7.1 Describe How and Why Managers Use Budgets
    3. 7.2 Prepare Operating Budgets
    4. 7.3 Prepare Financial Budgets
    5. 7.4 Prepare Flexible Budgets
    6. 7.5 Explain How Budgets Are Used to Evaluate Goals
    7. Key Terms
    8. Summary
    9. Multiple Choice
    10. Questions
    11. Exercise Set A
    12. Exercise Set B
    13. Problem Set A
    14. Problem Set B
    15. Thought Provokers
  9. 8 Standard Costs and Variances
    1. Why It Matters
    2. 8.1 Explain How and Why a Standard Cost Is Developed
    3. 8.2 Compute and Evaluate Materials Variances
    4. 8.3 Compute and Evaluate Labor Variances
    5. 8.4 Compute and Evaluate Overhead Variances
    6. 8.5 Describe How Companies Use Variance Analysis
    7. Key Terms
    8. Summary
    9. Multiple Choice
    10. Questions
    11. Exercise Set A
    12. Exercise Set B
    13. Problem Set A
    14. Problem Set B
    15. Thought Provokers
  10. 9 Responsibility Accounting and Decentralization
    1. Why It Matters
    2. 9.1 Differentiate between Centralized and Decentralized Management
    3. 9.2 Describe How Decision-Making Differs between Centralized and Decentralized Environments
    4. 9.3 Describe the Types of Responsibility Centers
    5. 9.4 Describe the Effects of Various Decisions on Performance Evaluation of Responsibility Centers
    6. Key Terms
    7. Summary
    8. Multiple Choice
    9. Questions
    10. Exercise Set A
    11. Exercise Set B
    12. Problem Set A
    13. Problem Set B
    14. Thought Provokers
  11. 10 Short-Term Decision Making
    1. Why It Matters
    2. 10.1 Identify Relevant Information for Decision-Making
    3. 10.2 Evaluate and Determine Whether to Accept or Reject a Special Order
    4. 10.3 Evaluate and Determine Whether to Make or Buy a Component
    5. 10.4 Evaluate and Determine Whether to Keep or Discontinue a Segment or Product
    6. 10.5 Evaluate and Determine Whether to Sell or Process Further
    7. 10.6 Evaluate and Determine How to Make Decisions When Resources Are Constrained
    8. Key Terms
    9. Summary
    10. Multiple Choice
    11. Questions
    12. Exercise Set A
    13. Exercise Set B
    14. Problem Set A
    15. Problem Set B
    16. Thought Provokers
  12. 11 Capital Budgeting Decisions
    1. Why It Matters
    2. 11.1 Describe Capital Investment Decisions and How They Are Applied
    3. 11.2 Evaluate the Payback and Accounting Rate of Return in Capital Investment Decisions
    4. 11.3 Explain the Time Value of Money and Calculate Present and Future Values of Lump Sums and Annuities
    5. 11.4 Use Discounted Cash Flow Models to Make Capital Investment Decisions
    6. 11.5 Compare and Contrast Non-Time Value-Based Methods and Time Value-Based Methods in Capital Investment Decisions
    7. Key Terms
    8. Summary
    9. Multiple Choice
    10. Questions
    11. Exercise Set A
    12. Exercise Set B
    13. Problem Set A
    14. Problem Set B
    15. Thought Provokers
  13. 12 Balanced Scorecard and Other Performance Measures
    1. Why It Matters
    2. 12.1 Explain the Importance of Performance Measurement
    3. 12.2 Identify the Characteristics of an Effective Performance Measure
    4. 12.3 Evaluate an Operating Segment or a Project Using Return on Investment, Residual Income, and Economic Value Added
    5. 12.4 Describe the Balanced Scorecard and Explain How It Is Used
    6. Key Terms
    7. Summary
    8. Multiple Choice
    9. Questions
    10. Exercise Set A
    11. Exercise Set B
    12. Problem Set A
    13. Problem Set B
    14. Thought Provokers
  14. 13 Sustainability Reporting
    1. Why It Matters
    2. 13.1 Describe Sustainability and the Way It Creates Business Value
    3. 13.2 Identify User Needs for Information
    4. 13.3 Discuss Examples of Major Sustainability Initiatives
    5. 13.4 Future Issues in Sustainability
    6. Key Terms
    7. Summary
    8. Multiple Choice
    9. Questions
    10. Thought Provokers
  15. Financial Statement Analysis
  16. Time Value of Money
  17. Suggested Resources
  18. Answer Key
    1. Chapter 1
    2. Chapter 2
    3. Chapter 3
    4. Chapter 4
    5. Chapter 5
    6. Chapter 6
    7. Chapter 7
    8. Chapter 8
    9. Chapter 9
    10. Chapter 10
    11. Chapter 11
    12. Chapter 12
    13. Chapter 13
  19. Index

Both manufacturing and service companies often receive requests to fill special orders. These special orders are typically for goods or services at a reduced price and are usually a one-time order that, in the short-run, does not affect normal sales. When deciding whether to accept a special order, management must consider several factors:

  • The capacity required to fulfill the special order
  • Whether the price offered by the buyer will cover the cost of producing the products
  • The role of fixed costs in the analysis
  • Qualitative factors
  • Whether the order will violate the Robinson-Patman Act and other fair pricing legislation

Fundamentals of the Decision to Accept or Reject a Special Order

The starting point for making this decision is to assess the company’s normal production capacity. The normal capacity is the production level a company can achieve without adding additional production resources, such as additional equipment or labor. For example, if the company can produce 10,000 towels a month based on its current production capacity, and it is currently contracted to produce 9,000 a month, it could not take on a special one-time order for 3,000 towels without adding additional equipment or workers. Most companies do not work at maximum capacity; rather, they function at normal capacity, which is a concept related to a company’s relevant range. The relevant range is the quantitative range of units that can be produced based on the company’s current productive assets. These assets can include equipment capacity or its labor capacity. Labor capacity is typically easier to increase on a short-term basis than equipment capacity. The following example assumes that labor capacity is available, so only equipment capacity is considered in the example.

Assume that based on a company’s present equipment, it can produce 20,000 units a month. Its relevant range of production would be zero to 20,000 units a month. As long as the units of production fall within this range, it does not need additional equipment. However, if it wanted to increase production from 20,000 units to 24,000 units, it would need to buy or lease additional equipment. If production is fewer than 20,000 units, the company would have unused capacity that could be used to produce additional units for its current customers or for new clients.

If the company does not have the capacity to produce a special order, it will have to reduce production of another good or service in order to fulfill the special order or provide another means of producing the goods, such as hiring temporary workers, running an additional shift, or securing additional equipment. As you will learn, not having the capacity to fill the special order will create a different analysis than it would if there is sufficient capacity.

Next, management must determine if the price offered by the buyer will result in enough revenue to cover the differential costs of producing the items. For example, if price does not meet the variable costs of production, then accepting the special order would be an unprofitable decision.

Additionally, fixed costs may be relevant if the company is already operating at capacity, as there may be additional fixed costs, such as the need to run an extra shift, hire an additional supervisor, or buy or lease additional equipment. If the company is not operating at capacity—in other words, the company has unused capacity—then the fixed costs are irrelevant to the decision if the special order can be met with this unused capacity.

Special orders create several qualitative issues. A logical issue is the concern for how existing customers will feel if they discover a lower price was offered to the special-order customer. A special order that might be profitable could be rejected if the company determined that accepting the special order could damage relations with current customers. If the goods in the special order are modified so that they are cheaper to manufacture, current customers may prefer the modified, cheaper version of the product. Would this hurt the profitability of the company? Would it affect the reputation?

In addition to these considerations, sometimes companies will take on a special order that will not cover costs based on qualitative assessments. For example, the business requesting the special order might be a potential client with whom the manufacturer has been trying to establish a business relationship and the producer is willing to take a one-time loss. However, our coverage of special orders concentrates on decisions based on quantitative factors.

Companies considering special orders must also be aware of the anti–price discrimination rules established in the Robinson-Patman Act. The Robinson-Patman Act is a federal law that was passed in 1936. Its primary intent is to prevent some forms of price discrimination in sales transactions between smaller and larger businesses.

Sample Data

Franco, Inc., produces dental office examination chairs. Franco has the capacity to produce 5,000 chairs per year and currently is producing 4,000. Each chair retails for $2,800, and the costs to produce a single chair consist of direct materials of $750, direct labor of $600, and variable overhead of $300. Fixed overhead costs of $1,350,000 are met by selling the first 3,000 chairs. Franco has received a special order from Ghanem, Inc., to buy 800 chairs for $1,800. Should Franco accept the special order?

Calculations Using Sample Data

Franco is not operating at capacity and the special order does not take them over capacity. Additionally, all the fixed costs have already been met. Therefore, when evaluating the special order, Franco must determine if the special offer price will meet and exceed the costs to produce the chairs. Figure 10.2 details the analysis.

Current Cost to Produce: Direct materials $750, Direct labor $600, Variable overhead $300 equals Variable costs to produce of $1,650. Compare to the special order price offer of $1,800 and the Difference in favor of accepting special order is $150 per chair.
Figure 10.2 Special Order: Supplier Has Excess Capacity. (attribution: Copyright Rice University, OpenStax, under CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 license)

Since Franco has already met his fixed costs with current production and since he has the capacity to produce the additional 800 units, Franco only needs to consider his variable costs for this order. Franco’s variable cost to produce one chair is $1,650. Ghanem is offering to buy the chairs for $1,800 apiece. By accepting the special order, Franco would meet his variable costs and make $150 per chair. Considering only quantitative factors, Franco should accept the special offer.

How would Franco’s decision change if the factory was already producing at capacity at the time of the special offer? In other words, assume the corporation is already producing the most it can produce without working more hours or adding more equipment. Accepting the order would likely mean that Franco would incur additional fixed costs. Assume that, to fill the order from Ghanem, Franco would have to run an extra shift, and this would require him to hire a temporary production manager at a cost of $90,000. Assume no other fixed costs would be incurred. Also assume Franco will incur additional costs related to maintenance and utilities for this extra shift and estimates those costs will be $70,000. As shown in Figure 10.3, in this scenario, Franco would have to charge Ghanem at least $1,850 in order to meet his cost.

Current Production: Selling Price $2,800 minus Variable cost to produce $1,650 equals Contribution margin $1,150. Special Order Current Offer: Selling Price $1,800 minus Variable cost to produce $1,650 minus Additiona Costs to Recover* $200 equals Contribution margin $(50). *90,000 supervisor salary plus $70,000 additional costs equals $160,000 in costs to recover. Divide by 800 charis in special order equals $200 per chair additional costs due to capacity issue.
Figure 10.3 Special Order: Supplier Does Not Have Excess Capacity. (attribution: Copyright Rice University, OpenStax, under CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 license)

Final Analysis of the Decision

The analysis of Franco’s options did not consider any qualitative factors, such as the impact on morale if the company is already at capacity and opts to implement overtime or hire temporary workers to fill the special order. The analysis also does not consider the effect on regular customers if management elects to meet the special order by not fulfilling some of the regular orders. Another consideration is the impact on existing customers if the price offered for the special order is lower than the regular price. These effects may create a bad dynamic between the company and its customers, or they may cause customers to seek products from competitors. As in the example, Franco would need to consider the impact of displacing other customers and the risk of losing business from regular customers, such as dental supply companies, if he is unable to meet their orders. The next step is to do an overall cost/benefit analysis in which Franco would consider not only the quantitative but the qualitative factors before making his final decision on whether or not to accept the special order.

Think It Through

Athletic Jersey Special Orders

Jake’s Jerseys has been asked to produce athletic jerseys for a local school district. The special order is for 1,000 jerseys of varying sizes, and the price offered by the school district is $10 less per jersey than the normal $50 market price. The school district interested in the jerseys is one of the largest in the area. What quantitative and qualitative factors should Jake consider in making the decision to accept or reject the special order?

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