Business, planning, planning analysts, Kraft, brands, market, managers, plans, goals, Finance, accounting, forecasts, consumer, supply chain, support.
In a competitive market, the organisations most likely to meet their objectives are those that are capable of leading rather than following changes within that market.
Managers therefore need to build a business that is capable of responding quickly to changes in both consumer requirements and the business environment.
This case study illustrates how Kraft Foods' management accountants act as financial planning analysts to support the process of brand development.
The study highlights how Kraft's forward planning and supporting processes of investment/forecast analysis supports its core brands in a fast-changing market place.
In order to achieve the corporate goals, Kraft employs accountants in planning analyst roles who work within customer and consumer marketing teams.
Kraft encourages its financial managers to take qualifications such as those provided by the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA), a professional accounting body.
To support these goals, Kraft has established a set of core values that help to guide employees.
Kraft concentrates on the innovation and rapid development of these Power Brands, with a view to having new, exciting products 'out there, now'.
The planning process involves using the budget to co-ordinate the whole business, including operations and organisations within its supply chain.
Having created an operating plan within the annual planning cycle, a business must monitor the plan to ensure that targets for growth, sales, profitability and cashflow are met.
Using their analysis of variance between actuals, plans and forecasts, planning analysts work with the business teams to develop suitable plans of action.
Managers work with the business teams involved with the supply chain and various marketing departments to co-ordinate their spending and investment programmes.
In order to meet Kraft's business objectives, its planning analysts work with other financial managers to ensure that transactional accounting and financial controls work efficiently.
As a result of carefully reading this case study, students should be able to:
- link business objectives with the planning necessary to achieve such objectives
- understand how parts of an organisation need to be integrated in order to develop a co-ordinated corporate strategy
- develop an understanding of the processes involved in financial planning
- understand the role of management accountants in a commercial setting
- link decision-taking to the role of brand development.