Calculating Variances and Analyzing the Results

Application: Calculating Variances and Analyzing the Results

While many organizational costs can be planned for, the actual results may vary from the initial projections. Assessing how these variances impact the bottom line is an essential task of many managers.

For this Assignment, review the Learning Resources for this week and consider how they might apply to the scenario presented. Consider how variance analysis and the results obtained from conducting such an analysis might impact decision making.

Spine Line is a manufacturer of high-quality products designed to help support healthy spines. Their newest product offering is a massage chart. Below is the standard cost structure for the chair:

Standard Cost Sheet: Massage Chair

Metal tubing

6 meters @ $3



2 square meters @ $7



3 kilograms @$4


Direct labor

4 hours @ $15





Total standard cost



This month, Spine Line manufactured 500 massage chairs. The following costs were incurred:

Actual Costs Incurred for the Month: Massage Chair

Metal tubing

3,100 meters



1,100 square meters



1,600 kilograms


Direct Labor

1,800 hours





Total cost



Adapted from: Zimmerman, J. L. (2014). Accounting for decision making and control (8th ed.). New York: NY: McGraw-Hill, “Healing Touch”, p. 565.

Suppose you are the senior controller for Spine Line and you plan to perform a variance analysis of the massage chairs manufactured to determine if the standards are being met. Once you have completed the analysis, you plan to show it to the production department manager and ask for an explanation of any variances that you believe should be examined.

The Assignment:

  • Part 1: Calculate all materials and labor variances in a spreadsheet by using a program like Excel. Be sure to include price, quantity, wage rate, and labor efficiency variances.
  • Part 2: Prepare a memo to your subordinate, using a program like Word.
    • Summarize and analyze the actual costs in relation to the standard costs incurred for the month.
    • Ask for clarification of any variances that need to be investigated.

Be sure to include whether alternatives exist for the future of the organization and explain how the results of the variance analysis might influence those alternatives.

Hint: See the Weekly Briefing as well as the Injection Molding Department self-study problem on page 562 of your text.

Submit your Application (both your Excel and Word files) by Day 7.

To submit your Assignment, do the following:

  • Save Part 1 of your Assignment as a “.xls” file with the filename “WK5AssgnP1+last name+first initial.xls”. Sally Ride’s filename would be “WK5AssgnP1RideS.xls”.
  • Save Part 2 of your Assignment as a ”.doc” file with the filename “WK5AssgnP2+last name+first initial.doc”. Sally Ride’s filename would be “WK5AssgnP2RideS.doc”.
  • To upload Part 1 of your Assignment, click on Assignments on the course navigation menu, and then click the Assignment Part 1 – Week 5 link.
  • To upload Part 2 of your Assignment, click on Assignments on the course navigation menu, and then click the Assignment Part 2 Turnitin – Week 5 link.

General Guidance on Application Length:

Your Application, due by Day 5, will typically be4–6 paragraphs in length as a general expectation/estimate for each bullet point. Refer to the rubric for the Week 5 Application for grading elements and criteria. Your Instructor will use the rubric to assess your work.

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