Sample Finance Essays on Financial & Legal Aspects of Procurement


Learning and doing are usually two different things. For one to comprehend the material learned, it is important to implement the information gained in a real-life situation. The following article is a continuation of the learning process, where the financial aspects learned in class are used to analyze the financial condition of Bond PLC. The article goes further to analyze different strategies used by organizations to increase competition between suppliers. Generally, the paper will try to apply theoretical knowledge to real-world situations.

Question 1

Break even in units =

Contribution margin = sales – variable cost

Break even in Euros =

Contribution margin ratio =

Break even analysis for Bond plc

Year 3 Year 2
Sales 3,146,000 2,741,000
Variable Costs
Purchases 219,000 472,000
Labor 2,211,000 1745,000
Total 2,430,000 2,217,000
Contribution 716,000 524,000
Fixed Costs  
Administration Expenses 304,000 211,000
Interest Payable 0 4,000
Selling Expenses 195,000 135,000
Taxation 35,000 52,000
Depreciation 31,000 30,000
Total 565,000 432,000



  1. The financial statements of Bond PLC do not include the number of units sold in the financial period. Without the units sold, it is impossible to calculate the selling price of one unit. In addition, it will be impossible to calculate the variable cost per unit sold. Therefore, this report will assume that the units sold were 500,000. This will aid in calculating the break-even for the company.
  2. The report also assumes that all the selling expenses incurred during the financial period were fixed expenses. The report has ruled out the possibility of the selling team earning commissions and has assumed that the sales force is under a fixed salary.
  3. The report assumes that all the labor costs were variable expenses. It relates the labor cost to the number of units produced. Therefore, the labor costs are a direct function of the number of units produced ignoring the fact that some of the labor costs might be fixed.


Selling price per unit =

Variable cost per unit =

Year 3 Calculations

Selling price per unit year 3 =  = 6.292

Variable cost year 3 =  = 4.86

Contribution margin year 3 = 6.292 – 4.86 = 1.432

Contribution margin ratio year 3 =  = 0.228

Break even in units year 3 =  = 393,855

Break even in Euros year 3 =  = 2,473,684.21

Year 2 Calculations

Selling price per unit year 2 =  = 5.482

Variable cost year 2 =  = 4.434

Contribution margin year 2 = 5.482 – 4.434 = 1.048


Contribution margin ratio year 2 =  = 0.179

Break even in units year 2 =  = 412,214

Break even in Euros year 2 =  = 2,413,407.82

Year 3 Break Even Chart


Question 2

The marginal cost of a product is that incremental cost that arises when a firm produces one extra unit of a product (Drury, 37). The marginal cost of a product is arrived at when all the fixed cost associated with the production of a product is absorbed by that product and only the variable costs remain. This means that the marginal cost is associated with the variable cost of products that is yet to be accounted for but have the capacity to be measured and accounted for.

The marginal cost of a product is usually made up of variable cost but sometimes a portion of the fixed cost is included in it. Expenses such as administration overheads and selling expenses can be apportioned and reflected in the marginal cost of a product. Therefore, the marginal cost of a product can be calculated by finding the change in the cost of producing an additional unit divided by the change in quantity produced.

Marginal costing is a technique that can be used to help improve and sustain economies of scale. Marginal costing will provide useful information regarding the production of an additional unit of a product. Instead of just growing a business blindly without the concerns of whether the growth is useful, marginal costing can be used to help aid the decision of growing a business. This type of assessment is in relation to the diminishing marginal utility. When the marginal cost of producing a product continues to increase as the business grows, the returns expected from such growth will continue to decrease. This will result in diseconomies of scale, which could have been avoided if the marginal cost of the product was considered before growing the company.

Opportunities caused by marginal costing

Marginal costing is effective in controlling the cost incurred by the business when it needs to produce an additional unit of a product. The marginal cost can be compared with the marginal revenue and the management can decide on the best action to take based on the results. If a product marginal cost is less than the product marginal revenue then it will be unwise to develop that product because it will only increase the cost of the company. Therefore, marginal costing is useful in eliminating capricious allocation of overheads that will only increase the company’s total costs.

The simplistic nature of marginal cost will help a buyer make an informed decision regarding the purchase of a category. The rationale behind this is that the buyer only needs to have knowledge about marginal costing and then he can make a purchase that will be beneficial to his portfolio. With marginal costing, the buyer will be able to determine whether the category will result in a loss or a profit in the future. If the marginal cost of purchasing that category outweighs the marginal revenue of purchasing the same category, then the buyer will know it is not a sound business decision.



Question 3

Every product or service has inputs that affect the cost of producing or providing that service. The inputs that affect the cost of any material or service are known as the cost drivers of that product or service. Therefore, any changes in the cost driver of a product will result in a change in the overall cost of any product. This is the reason why managers strive to determine the cost drivers of a product in order to be able to reduce the cost that the product incurs. The knowledge of cost drivers is insightful when an organization is looking to reduce its cost in order to gain a competitive advantage in the industry.

In order to establish the cost driver of a product properly, the management needs to develop a cost model. Below is an example of a cost model of producing cars and it illustrates how different cost models affect the total cost of producing a car.


The model above indicates that the cost of producing a car is affected by various elements. The elements, in this case, are the ones marked as cost drivers and any change in the cost drivers will affect the cost of producing a car. Below the effects of the major cost drivers will be analyzed.

Number of Setups

In order to produce a car, certain equipment and machines are needed in the production process. The machines needed need first to be set up and prepared in a way suitable for production. This process is a production process and it consumes time and resources. Therefore, the costs associated with setting up machines are included in the cost of producing the car. Therefore, to determine the machine setup rate, the organization can use the number of setups as the cost driver.

Number of Purchase Orders

These inputs required for producing a car need to be ordered from the suppliers. Therefore, the cost associated with ordering inputs can be apportioned based on the number of orders made. The number of purchase orders can therefore be used as a cost driver when an organization needs to apportion its overhead costs to different departments.

Number of Machine Hours

The production process requires the machine to be used in the process. This has the effect of depreciating the machines. Other costs that are associated with machine usage are the maintenance cost incurred and the repair costs. In order to determine the cost associated with machine usage, the organization can use the number of machine-hours in a production process as the cost driver. Therefore the cost associated with using the machine can be calculated by multiplying the number of machine-hours and the rate estimated per hour.

Number of parts

The cost associated with the assembling department can be calculated using the number of parts that have been assembled. In other instances, the weight of the parts assembled can be used to calculate the cost incurred in the assembling department. In the case of producing a car, various parts are produced then assembled together. The number of parts required to complete a whole car can be used as a cost driver to determine the cost incurred.

Number of Inspections

Organizations have the obligation to test and inspect their products if they are fit for final consumption. This is a safety measure and it is required by law in order to protect consumers from consuming harmful products. Furthermore, organizations need to ensure that their products are of the right quality in order to maintain their market share. Therefore, these costs associated with this department can be calculated using the number of inspections done on the products. The costs in this department include the salary of the experts inspecting the elements, electricity, and other forms of equipment need to test the products. Therefore, the cost driver that is appropriate for this department is the number of inspections done.

Number of Labor Hours

Supervision is required in order to ensure that the production process is transpiring as planned. Supervisors are paid salaries, which will affect the cost of the car produced. Therefore, to determine the cost of such a department, the number of hours that the supervisors have worked can be used to determine the cost of the department. The number of hours worked by the supervisors can be multiplied by the rate that supervisors are paid in order to determine the cost of the department. The number of labor hours will also be used to apportion the overhead incurred in producing one car.

Question 4

Competition is just not about asking 4 or 5 suppliers to quote”. This statement is aimed at broadening the scope that most purchases have in terms of competition. The statement points out how many individuals think that by asking a number of competitors to bid for a product you are increasing competition between them. This however is not the case since competition between suppliers is affected by various factors. Such factors include the type of product being offered and the availability of the product in the market. Considering various factors affecting competition, the four strategies below have been developed to ensure the right decision is made in relation to the competition.


Critical commodity

Critical commodities are products that are critical to the ongoing operations of the business. Such purchases have the tendency to be available through a few suppliers and they tend to be quite expensive. They involve large expenditures that might cripple the business in case of a wrong decision. The purchases also have the characteristic of being complex in nature and their quality is critical to the livelihood of the business. When dealing with such a commodity it is not advisable to invite suppliers to quote and compete for the purchase order. This situation is usually delicate and the best solution will be to find a supplier and form a partnership with them. It will be beneficial if the organization increases the role of such a supplier so that they can handle the purchase order as diligently as possible.

This strategy involves heavy negotiations with the supplier and an inherent understanding of supplier process management. Due to the nature and importance of such purchase order, the firm needs to have a contingency plan in case the supplier is not able to deliver that order.

Routine Commodity

Many alternative products that the firm can choose from characterize routine commodities (Moore, Robert &Clifford 37). Furthermore, numerous suppliers in the market supply these products, and therefore they are a perfect match for a competitive strategy. These products are used in everyday transactions and they rarely have a huge impact on the operations of the organization in the event that they are not supplied. The qualities of this product also rarely affect the quality and the operation of the firm.

The best strategy for such products will be to simplify the acquisition process because of their level of significance. The firm can also automate the purchase of such orders since there are no heavy negotiations needed. A firm can create a system that scrutinizes tenders and offer the order to the lowest bidder. This is beneficial to the firm since it will cut costs and reduce the labor required in procuring such commodities.

Leverage Commodities

Leverage commodities are commodities that usually involve a high expenditure on the part of the purchaser. Even though these commodities involve high expenditures, they are usually ample in the marketplace. This means that they are easily acquired and have various alternatives. The characteristic of these products is also perfect for a competitive strategy between the purchaser and supplier. The best character of the product that facilitates a competitive strategy is the fact that the products are price-sensitive, therefore; a change in price will have an effect on the quantity of the product demanded and supplied.

A firm, therefore, needs to maximize the commercial advantage presented by these products. The firms need to ensure that the suppliers constantly compete for the purchase order for these products. Since the products involve huge investments the firms stand to save on costs if the suppliers continue to engage in price wars in order to be competitive. This is aided by the firm’s effort to promote competitive bidding.

Bottleneck Commodities

Bottleneck commodities have complex specifications that require intricate manufacturing processes (Moore, Robert &Clifford 37). The availability of these products is scarce and only a few parties in the market can supply these products. Bottleneck commodities also have a huge impact on the operations of the organization and can affect the future operations of the organization. These products are characterized by advancements in technology and innovations.

The best strategy for dealing with these products is to ensure that their supply is continuous by managing suppliers. The firm can undertake to help develop new suppliers of the product in order to ensure their operations are not threatened by a shortage in supply. It can do this by introducing new suppliers in the market so that the uniqueness of the existing suppliers can be diluted. The technological aspect of such a product needs to be considered before making any contracts. Since technology is dynamic, the firms should engage in short-term contacts so that they can always have a competitive advantage once the technology of the supplier is outdated.

Techniques Used in Competition

Different techniques are used to help a firm carry out a competitive or collaborative strategy. These techniques are the ones that differentiate between the two strategies. In competitive strategy, the following techniques are applied to ensure a successful strategy:

  • Promote competitive bidding
  • Exploit market trends
  • Little negotiations

In a collaborative strategy, the following techniques are used:

  • Heavy negotiations
  • Manage supply
  • Increase the role of supply

The main difference between the two strategies is that the techniques used in a collaborative strategy are aimed at showing the supplier that the firm depends on them, while in a competitive strategy it is vice versa. A competitive strategy clearly states that with or without your supply, the operations of the business will continue. The firm, therefore, does not intend to befriend the supplier unlike in a collaborative strategy where the firm intention is to make the supplier feel like part of the firm.


Question 5

A tender bond is issued to act as a surety in the case that the tenderer fails to deliver on the requirements of the contract (Luk 238). Therefore, it will act to cushion the organization if an individual who tendered his bid is unable to perform his duties. The tender bond will be damages that the organization incurs after its process slowed down because of the inability of the winning tender to perform his duties.

A tender bond is also used to differentiate between serious suppliers and jokers in the industry. Therefore, any supplier who is sure he can meet the requirements of the tender will not have a problem in providing a tender bond. This is because he is assured that his bond will not be forfeited by his lack of performance. The organization’s intention when it issued the tender bond was to invite tenders from serious suppliers. The tender bond persuades suppliers who are not sure of their ability to supply not to bid for the contract. By issuing a tender bond, the organization ensured that it saved its time and resources by only going through tenders from reliable suppliers who have the capacity to deliver on the contract.

Disadvantages of a Tender Bond

Since a tender bond requires that the supplier provide the amount of the tender bond upfront, then it will reduce a supplier’s cash flow. In the case where the tender price is huge, then the tender bond will be a huge amount. This will affect the working capital of the supplier and might affect its operations. However there are cases where your bank might not want the whole amount, this will be helpful to the supplier and will not affect his capital flow.

The supplier also faces the risk of the tender being called by the beneficiary without any specific reason. This mostly happens when the tender was unconditional (Luk 238). This will damage the finances of the supplier since he will lose money for no good reason.

Tender bonds also increase the cost of the supplier. This is because suppliers take insurance bonds in order to protect themselves from huge losses in case the beneficiary calls for the tender bond. This reduces the net profit that a firm would have received in case they did not apply for a tender bond.



Works Cited

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Drury, Colin. Management and Cost Accounting. London: Thomson Learning, 2007. Print.

Luk, Kwai-wing. International Trade Finance: A Practical Guide. Kowloon, Hong Kong: City University of Hong Kong Press, 2011. Print.

Moore, Nancy Y, Robert W. Bickel, and Clifford A. Grammich. Developing Tailored Supply Strategies. Santa Monica, Calif. [u.a.: Rand, 2007. Print.Bottom of Form