Organizations With Business Divisions

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Organizations with Business Divisions (Profit Centre) format have observed that Divisional Controllers experience divided loyalty in carrying out their functions, causing a possible dysfunction. How could such a situation be resolved? Define role of controller which suits your suggestion.
To the extent the decision are decentralized top management may lose some control. Relying on control reports is not as effective as personal knowledge of an operation. With profit center, top management must change its approach to control. Instead of personal direction senior management must rely to a considerable extent on management control reports.

Competent units that were once cooperating as functional units may now compete with one another disadvantageously. An increase in one manager’s profit may decrease those of another. This decrease in cooperation may manifest itself in a manager unwillingness to refer sales lead to another business unit, even though that unit is better qualified to follow up on the lead in production decision that have undesirable cost consequence on other units or in the hoarding of personnel or equipment that from the overall company standpoint would be better off used in another units.

There may be too much emphasis on short run profitability at the expense of long run profitability. In the desire to report high current profits, the profit center manager may skip on R&D, training, maintenance. This tendency is especially prevalent when the turnover of profit center managers is relatively high. In these circumstances,manager may have good reason to believe that their action may not affect profitability until after they have moved to other job.

There is no complete satisfactory system for ensuring that each profit center by optimizing its own profit , will optimize company profits.

If headquarter management is more capable or has better information then the average profit center manager the quality of some of the decision may be reduced.

Divisionalization may cause additional cost because it may require additional management staff personnel and record keeping and may lead to redundant at each profit center.

Business units as profit centers:
Business units are usually set up at profit centers. Business unit managers tend to control product development,manufacturing, and marketing resources. They are in a position to influence revenue and cost and as such can beheld accountable for the bottom line. However as pointed out in the next section a business unit manager authority may be constrained such constrained should be incorporated in designing and operating profit center.

Constraint on business unit authority
To realize fully the advantage of the profit center concept the business unit manger would have to be as autonomous as the president of the independent company. As a practical matter however such autonomy is not feasible. If a company were divided into completely independent units the organization would be giving up the advantage of size and synergism. Also senior management authority that a board of director gives to the chief executive. Consequently business unit structure represents trade off between business unit autonomy and corporate constraint. The effectiveness of a business units organization is largely dependent on how well these trade off are made.

The performance of a profit center is appraised by comparing actual results for one or more for these measures with budgeting amounts. In addition, data on competitors and the industry provide a good cross check on the appropriate of the budget. Data for individual companies are available from the securities and exchange commission for about key business ratios; standard & poor computer services, Inc; Robert Morris associates annual statement studies; and annual survey published in fortune, business week, and Forbes. Trade associations publish data for the companies in their industries.

Revenues

Choosing the appropriate revenue recognition method is important. Should revenue be recognized at the time as order is received, at the time an order is shipped, or at the time cash is received?

In addition to that decision, issues related to common revenues may need to be considered. There are some situations in which two or more profit centers participate in the sales effort that results in a sale; ideally, each should be given appropriate credit for its part in this transaction. Many companies have not given much attention to the solution of these common revenue problems. They take the position that the identification of price responsibility for revenue generation is too complicated to be practical and that sale personnel must recognize they are working not only for their own profit center but also for the overall good of the company. They for example, may credit the business unit that takes an order for a product handled by the another unit with the equivalent of a brokerage commission or a finder fee. In the case of a bank the branch performing a service may be given explicit credit for that service even though the customer account is maintained in another branch.

•Role of controller
•It should publish procedure and forms for the preparation of the budget.
•It should provide assistance to budgets in the preparation of their budget.
•It should administer the process of making budget revision during the year.
•It should coordinate the work of budget departments in lower echelons
•It should analyze reported performance against budget, interprets the result, and prepares summary report for senior management.
 

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In a goal congruent process, the actions people are led to take in accordance with their perceived self-interest are also in the best interest of the organization. A firm’s strategy has a major influence on its structure. The type of structure in turn influences the design of the organization’s management control systems. Sundaram ShoeCompany’s (SSC) organization structure is functional which involves the notion of a manager who brings specialized knowledge to bear on decisions related to a specific function, vis-à-vis a general purpose manager who lacks the specialized knowledge. As killed marketing and production manager would be able to make better decisions in their respective fields. He would also be able to supervise workers in the same function better than the generalist would. Thus an important advantage of the functional structure is efficiency. A major disadvantage of this structure is that there is no unambiguous way of determining the effectiveness of the separate functional managers because each function contributes jointly to the organization’s final output. Therefore, there is no way of determining how much of the profit was earned respectively by the several production departments.


Sundaram Shoe Company which was a market leader for a period of over 75 years has been losing market share, which has impacted its profitability. Also it needs to be seen that the company outsources about 30% of its products. The company aims to strengthen marketing, reduce costs and wants to be in a position to customize products as per the demands of the customer. Thus, Sundaram needs to re-organize its organization structure which is functional to a Business Unit form of organization. The benefits of the re-organization would be that the business unit or the division would be responsible for all the functions involved in producing and marketing a specified product line. The business managers act almost as if their units are separate companies. They are responsible for planning and co-coordinating the work of the separate functions. Their performance is measured by the profitability of the business unit. This is a valid criterion because profit reflects the activities of both marketing and production.


Though business unit managers exercise broad authority over their units,headquarters reserves certain key prerogatives. Headquarters are responsible for obtaining funds for the company as a whole and allocating it to the business unit, as well as approving budgets and judging the performance of business unit managers, setting their compensation.A major advantage of the Business unit structure of organization is that because it is close to the market for its products than the headquarters, its manager may make sounder production and marketing decisions than headquarters might and the unit as a whole reacts to new threats or opportunities quickly. This re-organization would help in achieving goal congruence in the organization.
 
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