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Understanding Financial Objectives

Financial Aims: the broad, general goals of the finance and accounting function or department within an organisation.

Financial Objectives: the specific, focused targets of the finance and accounting department within an organisation.

Financial Strategies: long-term or medium term plans, devised at senior management level, and designed to achieve the firm’s financial objectives.

Financial Tactics: short-term financial measures adopted to meet the needs of a short-term threat or opportunity.


Financial Objectives


The examples set out below illustrate the types of financial objective that a business might pursue;

Cash Flow

Many businesses get into financial difficulties because of lack of cash flow rather than lack of overall profitability. Consequently, it is vital that businesses set themselves cash-flow targets to ensure they are able to keep operating. E.g.

-        Maintaining a minimum closing monthly cash balance, for example a minimum cash balance of £10,000 would be a sensible target for a small newsagents

-        Reducing the bank overdraft by a certain sum by the end of the year

§  For new start-up companies, it is likely an overdraft will be needed to support everyday expenses

§  Interest means it is not advisable to sustain an overdraft, therefore businesses may set objectives with this in mind

-        Creating a more even spread of sales revenue

-        Spreading costs more evenly

-        Achieving a certain level of liquid, non-cash items

-        Raising certain levels of cash at a particular point in time

-        Setting contingency funds

Cost Minimisation

A business that reduces its costs can benefit in two ways; keeping prices the same therefore having a higher profit margin, or reducing the selling price to attract more customers. E.g.

-        Achieving a certain cost reduction in the purchase of raw materials

-        Reducing wage costs per unit

-        Lowering levels of wastage

-        Relocating the business to the least cost site

-        Reducing the cost per thousand customers of the business’ promotion and advertising

-        Improving the efficiency of production by reducing variable costs per unit

ROCE Targets

The success of a business is invariably demonstrated by its profit levels. Clearly, large firms will achieve higher profit levels than smaller businesses, so the profit needs to be compared to the size of a business. E.g.

-        Achieve an ROCE that exceeds the level recorded for the previous year by a certain percentage

-        Achieve an ROCE that compares favourably to the average ROCE achieved in the UK

-        Achieve an ROCE that exceeds the level of a particular competition

Shareholders’ Returns

A business must satisfy the needs of its shareholders/owners. Many shareholders assess a business in terms of dividends received because a high dividend is likely to be linked to high profit levels and sound financial performance. E.g.

-        High dividend per share which will indicate a well performing business and will benefit shareholders with…


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