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By James L. Gibson, W. Warren Haynes

Accounting in Small company Decisions provides the 1st large-scale empirical exam of the way small corporations use accounting facts to make working judgements.

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5. Accounting is not used by the stores covered in this study as a source of programed incremental cost data. When decisions require cost data, the merchants make ad hoc studies of anticipated costs. 6. Particular attention is given to suppliers' "estimated profitability" studies. This practice indicates that the store managements consider such studies relevant for merchandising decisions. It raises the question of why the same retailers do not make studies of their own. 1 The case studies for this chapter cover men's clothing, gift, drug, book, hardware, department, and departmentalized specialty stores.

The firms are concerned with the amounts of cash, of salaries, or of profits. HISTORICAL DATA AS ESTIMATES OF FUTURE DATA Historical data are used as first approximations of expectations, depending on the type of retailer. In the case studies, accounting data are frequently used in forecasts of demand. Merchandise decisions may rest on such estimates, but the final decision is influenced by a number of considerations which reduce the impact of accounting data. Why historical data are used in some retail stores Some stores use historical data in estimating future requirements, especially in the case of shopping goods with relatively stable demand.

Store managers are in a position to compare their operating results with those of other stores; but, in order to use the information, managers must develop their own ratios. Two cases illustrate the wide variation in small retailer use of comparative data. Edward's Men's Shop is located in a medium-size industrial city. The owner and one other salesman are the only personnel. The accounting system is very crude, and reports are prepared once a year for tax purposes. Ratios and averages are not prepared because the owner sees no need for them nor does he understand their meaning.

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