The Blue Rabbit Company manufactures lawn and garden concrete and resin statues. It uses a standard costing system for its products. Managers and production personnel are paid bonuses based on attainment of material, labor, and overhead standards. The standards are recommended by a committee that is composed of engineers, production staff, and accountants. The accounting manager, however, has the final say on what the standards will be for each upcoming year.
Four years ago, the senior management at Blue Rabbit adopted a “zero- defects” strategy throughout the organization. As part of the zero- defects strategy, the company has been using ideal standards. Senior management has pointed out that it does not want to build waste into the standards by using practical standards. The adoption of ideal standards has been somewhat problematic at Blue Rabbit and there has been a lot of resistance from employees to the ideal standards.
Mike Anderson is the accounting manager at Blue Rabbit and is currently evaluating the material, labor, and overhead standards for the upcoming year. The standards committee has already met and made its recommendations. The standards are, as dictated by senior management, extremely tight and allow for zero waste, breakdowns, or downtime.
The plant manager, Dana Sullivan, comes to Mike and asks him to loosen the standards for the upcoming year. The plant manager is upset that the standards are set at a 100% ­efficiency rate (zero defects). Dana points out that everyone’s bonus is on the line if the ­standards are not met. Some jobs may also be lost if standards are not met. Dana feels that the standards are unattainable and are not fair to employees. Dana even indicates that Mike’s job might possibly be on the line if another year goes by without standards being achieved.
Mike gets together with a close friend, Julia Leiser, and discusses the matter at length with her. He tells her he feels guilty if the production staff do not get bonuses because of the way that the standards are set. He is also worried about his own job over the long run; it is in his best interests to have a good relationship with the plant manager. The economy is bad and he does not know how long it would take to get a new job. Mike shows Julia the ideal standards recom-mended by the committee and then shows her the adjustments that he thinks he could make to help make the standards achievable. Julia agrees that the standards should be adjusted.

1. Using the IMA Statement of Ethical Professional Practice as an ethical framework, ­answer the following questions:
a. What is (are) the ethical issue(s) in this situation?
b. What are Mike Anderson’s responsibilities as a management accountant?
2. Should Mike adjust the standards to a more achievable level in this situation? Support your answer.
3. Describe another way that Mike could handle this situation that would not violate the IMA Statement of Ethical Professional Practice.

  • CreatedAugust 27, 2014
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