Verifying The Variance

A financial manager’s responsibilities do not cease after he or she develops a budget for execution. On the contrary, the manager’s job begins with a completed budget. The manager must track the execution of the budget approved by senior leadership to meet financial goals. Since trends, costs, and other externalities can cause changes or variances in the budget, the financial manager must monitor and adjust spending when necessary to account for those variances.

Even with relatively good control, taxes, rounding effects, and unexpected price increases can negatively affect budget execution. Nickels and dimes add up quickly. If unaccounted for and not closely tracked, those nickels and dimes can derail even the most carefully considered financial plan. Overspending can pose serious threats to projects and the availability of resources for future projects. Under spending can indicate a problem in quality control. Under spending may be a good thing (due to improved efficiency) or it may also be bad (manufacturers cutting corners, which may result in inferior product). The bottom line to remember is that variance happens and health care managers must respond effectively.

To prepare for this Application Assignment, review the Northeast Health System 2011 Annual Report. As you review, analyze the concept of variance. Consider what factors influence variance and how organizations control these factors in a real world setting. Analyze how the economic environment in which the organization operates influences the means of adjusting expenditures to meet financial goals.

To complete this Application Assignment, you will calculate: 1) the variance for selected items from the annual report and 2) the percentage that each expense item contributes to the overall expenses. Next, you will write a 2- to 3-page paper that explains how the variance and expense percentage calculations are used to monitor and control the budget.

You will submit both the excel spreadsheet and the 2 page paper as follows:

  1. Using the provided Excel spreadsheet, calculate the variances for each line item under the tab labeled “Variances.” A guideline for calculating the variances is located in the Weekly Resources.
  2. Using the provided Excel spreadsheet, calculate the expense proportion of each line item under the tab labeled “Proportional Allocations.”
  3. After completing the spreadsheet, please address the following in a 2 page paper. The first paragraph should address the first two elements. The bulk of the paper should address the remaining elements.
    • Explain the concept of variance. Cite your sources.
    • Briefly describe the Northeast Health System from the information found in the annual report.
    • Summarize the key variances (positive or negative) you uncovered during your analysis (data only). Focus on the most significant variance items.
    • Summarize the key findings from your proportional allocation analysis. Focus on the most significant proportions.
    • What observations can you make about the Northeast Health System based on the variances and proportional allocations that you calculated?
    • What do you believe led to the variances you identified?
    • Since certain line items in a budget are more controllable than others, what actions might you recommend to the Northeast Health System to either decrease or increase their significant variances and proportional allocations?

Your written assignments must follow APA guidelines. Be sure to support your work with specific citations from this week’s Learning Resources and additional scholarly sources as appropriate.

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