Export Practice & Management - Main Topics of Study

What an Export Business is All About

  • What does a business, any business, actually do?
  • What is management?
  • Are there any such things as management principles?
  • What is special about an export business?
  • A birds-eye view of what an export business does
  • So what is the point of it all?

Companies and Businesses

  • A ‘business’ or a ‘company’?
  • Types of UK businesses
  • The significant characteristics of incorporated companies
  • National variations in financial reporting
  • The implications of national variations

How We Measure Our Progress

  • ‘It seems like a very good idea!’
  • Turning a business idea into a business
  • What a financial management system does not measure

Organising the Information Flows

  • Management information and control
  • Export activities and management records
  • Investment in the market and in the distributor
  • Keeping an eye on the profitability
  • Keeping an eye on the cash
  • The basis of longer-term planning
  • The business as a machine

Management, the Business and the Finance

  • What is a balance sheet?
  • The story of a new exporter
  • Bookkeeping without any books
  • Some general points to consider
  • Working capital
  • The alternative layout of a balance sheet

The Trading and Profit and Loss Account

  • The ‘accounting period’
  • The link with the balance sheet
  • The ‘accruals concept’ – this is important!
  • Which figures do we include?
  • Which ‘profit’ figures should management be interested in?
  • What about accounting for value added tax?
  • Calculating the profit (or loss, as it may be)
  • What does the profit and loss (and the balance sheet) tell us?

How We Calculate the Profit

  • How do the financial figures reach your desk?
  • A matter of presentation
  • But what happened to the cash during the year?

Thinking About Costs

  • Why we need to think about costs before doing the sums
  • Why do we want to calculate the costs anyway?
  • Some costing definitions
  • Costs for routine pricing and management control

The Problem with Absorption Costing

  • Costs for strategic planning and for tactical pricing
  • The price reduction strategy
  • The sales promotion increase strategy
  • The idea of ‘contribution’ towards fixed costs
  • Accounting for the costs of fixed assets

Cash, and How it Flows In and Out

  • A reminder about ‘working capital’
  • Which is important, profits or cash?
  • The working capital cycle
  • Keeping a grip on cash flows
  • The cash flow statement
  • Analysing and interpreting the cash flow statement

The ‘Why’ and ‘How’ of Cash Flow Forecasting

  • Cash or profit – what’s the difference?
  • Cash, profits and the ‘time value of money’
  • The essential features of cash flow forecasting
  • A small service company and its cash
  • The mill in South East Asia

Cash, Stocks and Working Capital

  • A manufacturing explosion
  • Software and hardware bargaining
  • The difference between expansion and just being big
  • Spreadsheets and planning

Prices and Costs

  • A problem involving pricing and profits
  • Break-even volumes
  • The break-even chart
  • Using a computer spreadsheet
  • Using simple algebra to calculate break-even volumes
  • Different ways of looking at contribution
  • Developing the idea of contribution
  • Incorporating a profit target
  • Several products and markets
  • Optimising the volumes and prices

Coping With the Uncertainties

  • What do we mean by uncertainty or risk?
  • Quantifying probabilities
  • The contract problem
  • The successful (?) distributor problem, continued
  • The exhibition stand problem re-visited
  • Selecting a decision strategy
  • Decision making in the (uncertain) management context

Information Technology and Exporting

  • The place of technology in a business
  • System design
  • The system architecture
  • The operational requirements
  • What do users need to know of the technology?
  • The hardware and software base
  • Software specifically for the export office
  • Communications and wide area networks
  • Telecommunications, WANs, VANs and EDI


Recommended Reading

Main Text:

Principles of Management in Export – James Conlan (Blackwell Publishers)

Alternative texts and Further Reading:

Export Practice and Management – Alan E Branch (Thompson)

The Export Trade – Schmitthoff (Sweet & Maxwell)

Guideline for Teaching and Learning Time (10 hrs per credit)