Corporate In-House Seminars

The following seminars are conducted by the Wharton Institute of Technology and Science (WITS) link up with the 7-day CMA Preparatory Program. Each seminar provides an individual Certificate of Proficiency.

The completion of all 7 seminars offered via WITS (which equates to over 50 hours of intensive study) will enable an individual to undertake the assessments for the CMA professional qualification (provided they have a degree or professional qualification in accounting or an MBA*).


Topic 1: Management Control Systems

The role of accounting is often stated to be providing information for decisions. Management accounting, however, fulfils a much broader role in organisations. As well as providing a framework for planning, management accounting has an important role in management control. This topic introduces the concept of management control and considers the role of management accounting within such a control framework. The design of management accounting systems is also considered.

  • Management Control Systems
  • Control Systems and Behaviour
  • Concepts of Control: The Control Framework
  • Accountants and Control Systems
  • Issues in Control Systems Design
  • Types of Control

Topic 2:  Lean Manufacturing and Quality Control

This topic introduces the traditional production management techniques and strategies.  The 5-P’s of production are specifically considered; i.e. the product, plant, process, program, and people.  The three traditional types of production; i.e. Job; Batch; and Flow production are also studied, and concepts such as quality and reliability are also introduced. Modern production management techniques originating from Japan, such as Flexible Manufacturing Systems (FMS); and Total Quality Management (TQM) are also considered.

  • Organisational Sub-Systems
  • Types of Production: An Overview
  • The Control of Quality and Reliability
  • Mini Case Study

Topic 3:  Cost Accounting and Cost Management in a Lean Environment

This topic continues to look at production management techniques and strategies, especially the more modern production philosophies originating from Japan, such as Just-In-Time production (JIT). The strategic management accounting issues raised by such philosophies and techniques and aspects of the influence of the philosophy on production and purchasing are also covered.

  • JIT Purchasing and Cost Accounting
  • JIT Production and Cost Accounting
  • Backflush Costing
  • Mini Case Study:

Topic 4: Life Cycle Costing Systems

This topic overviews the complexity that exists in modern industrial settings, and why the conventional management accounting techniques may provide misleading information in such environments.  It is shown that indirect costs make up the largest percentage of total costs in such complex firms, and that there are many challenges in allocating such indirect costs. Methods of identifying ‘obsolete’ cost systems and of improving cost control are also discussed. Whole of Life Costing, i.e. costing before, during and after manufacturing is considered within a complex and competitive industrial setting.

  • Complexity in Modern Industrial Settings
  • Yesterday’s Accounting in Today’s World
  • The Challenges Ahead Functions of Cost Systems
  • Identifying Obsolete Cost Systems
  • Re-engineering Scope: Methods to Improve Cost Control –Life Cycle and Target Costing

Topic 1: Activity Based Cost Allocation Systems

This topic focuses on the principles of Activity Based Costing (ABC), which is shown as the response to the challenge of complexity. Aspects such as “volume”, “structural” and “introductory” costs are specifically considered.

  • ABC: The Response to Complexity in Modern Firms
  • The Fundamentals of ABC
  • Cost Drivers
  • Activity Analysis
  • Advantages and Limitations of ABC
  • Case Study: Comparison of Cost Allocation Systems

Topic 2: Customer Profitability Analysis

This topic moves the focus from analysis to action.  Methods of finding profitable customers and products are considered, as is the area of account management.

  • Finding Profitable Customers and Products
  • Uncovering Hidden Profits and Losses
  • Improving Customer Strategy
  • The Profitability Matrix
  • Targets for Action
  • Account Management for Relationship Marketing
  • The Impact of Cost Reducing Actions
  • Case Study: Analysing Customer and Product Profitabilities

Topic 3: Process Control and Activity Based Management

Here the areas of process control and activity based management are discussed. Monitoring systems, and the concepts of frequency, timeliness and accuracy are considered, especially in relation to white-collar departments.

  • Monitoring Systems
  • Measuring the Performance of a Process
  • The Key Performance Variables to be Measured
  • Frequency, Timeliness and Accuracy
  • Controlling White-Collar Departments
  • Activity Based Budgeting
  • Feedback Systems under ABM

Topic 4: Implementing Cost Analysis and Control Systems

This outlines the implementation process of activity based costing. Behavioural aspects, especially in creating motivation are discussed. Long-term cost management models are also considered.

  • Creating Implementation Motivation
  • Training, Evaluation and Information
  • Project Organisation
  • Project Analysis
  • Project Synthesis (Model Building)
  • Long-term Cost Management Model
  • From Project to Steady State

Topic 1: Strategic Performance Measurement Systems

This topic looks at Strategic Performance Measurement Systems, especially the linking of financial control systems with process based control systems.  Some Key Questions to ask in the strategic refocusing of Performance Measurement Systems are discussed, and the recognition of frameworks such as the Balanced Scorecard in linking financial and strategic performance measures are specifically considered.

  • Traditional Performance Measurement Systems
  • Strategic Performance Perspectives :The Link Between Competitive Positioning and Shareholder Value
  • The Balanced Scorecard
  • Process Based Performance Measurement and Control Systems
  • Integrating Financial and Process Controls and Performance Measures
  • Coefficients to Link Non-Financials to Financials

Topic 2: Benchmarking Financial Planning Systems

This topic discusses in depth ‘Benchmarking’ which is the formal process of measuring and comparing a company’s operations, products and services against those of top performers, both within and outside that company’s primary industry.

  • Becoming a ‘World Class’ Competitor
  • The Benchmarking Process
  • In house vs Using Consultants
  • Examples of World’s Best Practice
  • A Benchmarking MIS using Activity Based Costing (ABC)

Topic 3: Strategic Scorecards

This topic focuses on corporate success, and the role of non-financial indicators in measuring and controlling this success.  The importance of monitoring both the internal and external environment is highlighted, especially in terms of a firm’s ‘critical success factors’. Finally, the strategic consequences of having intangible assets such as Brands and Human Capital is considered.

  • Information for Strategic Analysis: Where Accountants Fail
  • Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and Critical Success Factors
  • Information Frameworks for Balanced Performance Analysis
  • Executive Information Systems (EISs) for Open-Book Accounting
  • Comprehensive Catalogue of Non-Financial Indicators (NFIs)
  • Balanced Scorecard Simulation Exercise

Topic 4: Environmental and Social Management Accounting

Environmental and Social Management Accounting [also known as Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and Triple Bottom-line Accounting (TBL)] is changing the way organisations go about their business. This topic explores what is meant by the “triple bottom line” and what it means for organisations, now and in the future. The need for integrated management accounting reports are discussed; and the impact of climate change and carbon emissions trading on Cost and Management Accounting is specifically considered.

  • Accounting for Sustainable Development
  • The Steps in Establishing Social Accounting Reporting
  • The climate change and carbon emissions trading on Strategic Cost Management (SCM) and Strategic Management Accounting (SMA).
  • Environmental and Social Management Accounting: The Wider Issues

Topic 5: Strategic Governance and the Strategic Audit

This topic first overviews the corporate governance structure which specifies the distribution of rights and responsibilities among different participants in the corporation, such as, the board, managers, shareholders and other stakeholders, and spells out the rules and procedures for making decisions on corporate affairs. Areas of both structural governance and strategic governance are compared and contrasted.  Finally, it considers assurance issues using ‘leading’ rather than ‘lagging’ indicators, via the Strategic Audit.

  • Corporate Governance Approaches
  • Structural and Strategic Governance
  • Role of the External Auditor in the New Reporting Paradigms
  • The Role of the Strategic Audit

Topic 1: Strategic Thinking

This topic overviews the concepts and development of strategic planning in modern business enterprises. The traditional areas of corporate strategy; such as strategic objectives and strategic planning decision models are first introduced to the student. The state of strategic thinking in the current environment is then considered, especially in relation to multiple approaches to analysing corporate strategy.

  • The Concepts of Strategic Planning
  • Corporate Objectives
  • Financial Aspects of Corporate Objectives
  • The State of Strategic Thinking
  • Empowerment
  • Multiple Strategic Approaches

Topic 2: Marketing Budgeting and Financial Planning

Here the marketing concept is introduced and the links between marketing and strategic business analysis are illustrated. It is shown how concepts such as the product life cycle and product portfolio matrix are linked to managerial accounting techniques such as budgeting and life cycle costing to provide relevant information for strategic decision making. A comprehensive strategic segmental marketing budget is developed in this topic.

  • The Marketing Concept
  • Competitive Positioning Strategies
  • Portfolio Analysis of Products and Markets
  • Direct Segmental Costing
  • Economic Value Added (EVA) in Marketing Performance

Topic 3: Comprehensive Case Study in Portfolio Budgeting and Decision Making

  • Implementing the Marketing Concept
  • Utilizing Marketing – Accounting Tools and Techniques
  • Incremental Analysis
  • Marketing Budget Models and Reports

Topic 1: Pricing Methods and Strategies

Here the various aspects of pricing decisions are covered, especially in competitive environments. Pricing methods and pricing strategies are specifically contrasted, and the use of such techniques as CVP analysis and linear programming in the pricing area are discussed. Risk averse pricing strategies and their limitations are also covered in this topic.

  • Cost-plus and Target Pricing
  • Competitive and Customer-based Pricing
  • Cost-Volume-Profit (CVP) in Pricing
  • Volume-based Pricing Strategies
  • Risk Averse Pricing Strategies
  • The Price-Promotions Link

Topic 2: Pricing in International Markets

This topic extends the discussion of the previous section on pricing, and considers pricing within a competitive international market.  It is shown that setting a selling price in a foreign market has, in addition to strategic marketing considerations, some unique international financial dimensions, especially due to the lengthening of the channels of distribution and the impact of multiple currencies.

  • Channels of Distribution
  • Multiple Currencies
  • Pricing in Domestic Markets
  • Pricing Internationally
  • Company Factors in International Pricing
  • Cost-Price Relationships
  • Price Escalation
  • Pricing and Exchange Exposure Management
  • Case Study in Pricing

Topic 3: Accounting for Marketing Product Management

This topic looks at the interface between management accounting and marketing related “product management” especially in competitive environments. The “product” is the first “P” in the 4-Ps of marketing, the others being price, promotion and place distribution, which will be discussed in detail in later topics.  It is shown that as a product moves through various stages of its life cycle, there are differing financial aspects that need to be focused on for competitive positioning. It is demonstrated that the company’s management accountant possesses the tools and techniques required to provide the product managers with decision-orientated information.

  • Financial Aspects of the Product Line
  • Life Cycle Costing and Decision Making
  • Risk and Uncertainty in Portfolio Decisions
  • Product Abandonment Approaches
  • Packaging and After-Sales Service

Topic 1: Accounting for Promotion: Push Strategy

Here the principal ways of communicating with the market, referred to collectively as the “promotional mix” are overviewed.  The objective of this mix is to make a sale, either by “pulling” customers towards the product (using advertising) or by “pushing” the product to the customer (using personal selling).  It is shown that the management accountant has a significant role “push strategy”, especially in the human resource management areas of controlling field sales operations and evaluating sales force performance.

  • Approaches to Marketing Communication
  • The Promotional Mix
  • Controlling Field Sales Operations
  • The Formulation of the Sales Force Budget
  • Sale Force Motivation
  • Performance Evaluation of the Sales Force

Topic 2: Accounting for Promotion: Pull Strategy

This topic continues with the discussion on promotion, and specifically looks at “pull strategy” and integrated marketing communication (IMC) with its heavy reliance on advertising.  It is demonstrated that the management accountant has a significant role in formulating advertising budgets, especially using specific budget models, and in the difficult areas of controlling advertising outlays and evaluating advertising effectiveness.

  • Advertising Budget Planning
  • Cost-Volume-Profit in Advertising Budget Planning
  • Advertising Budget Models
  • Media Selection Strategies
  • Performance Evaluation of Advertising
  • Controlling Advertising Outlays
  • Capital Budgeting and Advertising

Topic 3: Major Case Study in Financial Planning of Promotions

  • Analyzing Competitive Environments
  • Brand Loyalty
  • Consumer Behavior and Purchasing Patterns
  • Segmental Analysis
  • Marketing Strategy
  • Cost and Audience Delivery of Media

Topic 4: Accounting in Logistic Management

This topic considers the last “P” of the 4-P’s of marketing; i.e. place (or physical distribution). It is shown that the control of the supply-chain distribution function involves a “trade-off” between maximising customer service and minimising distribution costs, and that the management accountant has a significant role to play in achieving this balance.  The various accounting techniques useful in distribution cost analysis and control are highlighted in this topic.

  • The Place Distribution Objective
  • Distribution Cost Accounting
  • Distribution Cost Analysis
  • Distribution Cost Control
  • Channel Selection in Logistics Accounting

Topic 1: Strategic Performance Perspectives

This topic introduces Business Performance Measures and provides a link as to how these measures are interrelated with the capital structure of the firm.  The impact of financial structure on planning performance evaluation is considered, specifically the relative measures (ratios) used in financial statement analysis. Investment and Financing issues are separated; and capital structure and its role is obtaining an appropriate discount rate for capital projects is particularly considered.

  • Measures of Strategic Performance
  • Re-Engineering Financial Statements
  • Cost of Capital (the Discount Rate)
  • Strategic Financial Structures using Debt and Equity
  • Mini Case Study: Capital Structure and Firm Values

Topic 2: The Management of Strategic Value

This topic introduces the concepts in a relatively new area, Strategic Value Analysis and Management, and compares these concepts to the more traditional concepts in financial management, especially capital budgeting and net present value. It is demonstrated that the concepts of ‘value’ and ‘strategic value’ can be quantified for planning purposes.

  • Testing “Strategic Fit”
  • Traditional Valuation Methods: Advantages and Disadvantages
  • Key Value Drivers
  • Price Earnings and Market to Book Ratios
  • The Perpetuity Method in Valuation
  • Case Study in Strategic Value Analysis

Topic 3: Corporate Radar and Early Warning Systems

Here the approaches to risk management using short-term (weekly) and long-term (annual) corporate radar systems are considered, in order to determine the health of a business organisation. Bankruptcy prediction models (such as Z-scores) are specifically considered.

  • Monitoring Systems for Short-run Trouble Shooting
  • Financial, Marketing and Production Health Checks
  • Long-run Predictors of Corporate Failure
  • Evaluation of Failure Predictors
  • Case Study in Advanced Financial Analysis

*The MBA degree must be from an accredited or government recognised University provided the applicant had been admitted to the MBA program after completing an undergraduate degree in any discipline or had an equivalent recognised professional qualification AND done the subjects Financial Management and Management Accounting (or equivalent) as part of their MBA degree program. Those who were admitted to their MBA program based on experience only, will need to submit their CV to ICMA to evaluate if they can be admitted to the CMA program.