ISBN#  978-0-912503-49-3

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Excel-Based Decisions in Managerial Accounting

Stephenson & Porter

An engaging hands-on managerial accounting supplement with skills for the real world. Increase students Excel expertise, critical thinking skills, and ethical reasoning, all within a company they will love!

Materials Include

  • Step-by-step guide to Excel Basics. Includes detailed instructions for the most common Excel techniques, ranging from the basics (such as formatting cells) to intermediate skills (such as conditional formatting and named cells).
  • Wedgewood Case and Questions. Students work in a simulated job environment at the Wedgewood Candle Co. Each scenario contains a set of questions that walk students through a common managerial accounting method using company information to form their analysis. All assignment pages are one-sided to facilitate submission and grading.
  • Critical Thinking Problems. Students use their basic calculations as the foundation for more advanced methods or business decisions.
  • Ethics Problems. Introduces students to ethical issues in managerial accounting consistent with Giving Voice to Values© created by Mary Gentile. (For more information go to or With this format, students discuss the arguments they would use to support an ethical decision, providing experience they can use in their future careers when faced with difficult situations.
  • Excel Templates and Case Information. Online access to templates for their Excel practice and case information needed to complete the Wedgewood assignments.

Key Features


  • Chapters are divided into two sections: Part 1 teaches basic Excel methods (without taking up valuable class time) and Part 2 provides practice on essential managerial accounting methods through the Wedgewood Candle Co. case.
  • Ten projects and ethics cases, each with unique data and questions, allow students to practice managerial accounting topics in a different format than most textbooks. Problems are shorter than those provided in most journals and can be used with any managerial or cost text.
  • Supporting documents include memos, general ledgers, and reports, so students practice putting together information from realistic sources.
  • Suitable for a managerial course to practice important methods, or a cost class to review basics and focus on critical thinking in using accounting information.
  • “Rapid Review” segments remind students of managerial basics, without instructor assistance.
  • Materials go beyond what is included in managerial texts, with cases that include basic questions, advanced critical-thinking questions, and ethics questions (assigned based on instructor preference).

Assignments:  Estimated time of completion: 20-30 hours

Brief but detailed Excel instructions and reference materials walk students through managerial accounting processes. Each case is independent, but all refer to the same company, providing continuity and familiarity.


  • excelManage-smChapter 1—Introduction
  • Chapter 2—Understanding Cost Behavior PART 1: Basics including simple formatting, entering and sorting data, and performing a simple regression. PART 2: Students are introduced to the controller of Wedgewood Candle Co. and assist her in classifying costs and determining the cost equation. (Part 2 of every chapter is a Wedgewood case project.)
  • Chapter 3—Using Job-Order Costing Students review basic Excel formatting and learn to create new spreadsheet tabs and to work with multi-spreadsheet formulas. They then help Josey identify the direct materials, direct labor, and manufacturing overhead costs, calculate a pre-determined overhead rate, and apply manufacturing overhead to a specific job.
  • Chapter 4—Using Process Costing PART 1: Creating and using Excel templates. PART 2: Setting up a process costing system and a template for use in future periods.
  • Chapter 5—Using Activity-Based Costing PART 1: More advanced formatting tools in Excel, plus preparing files for printing or embedding in other documents. PART 2: Assigning costs to activities and assigning overhead in an ABC environment.
  • Chapter 6—Joint and By-Products PART 1: Max and Min functions, Conditional Formatting, and If functions. PART 2: Establishing fair pricing for a vendor’s by-product.
  • Chapter 7—Allocating Service Department Costs PART 1: Hiding rows and columns, formatting cells to be invisible to users, splitting or freezing spreadsheets, and viewing two spreadsheets side-by-side. PART 2: Allocating service department costs to producing departments.
  • Chapter 8—Determining Transfer Pricing PART 1: Naming cells and using Roundup and Rounddown functions, along with absolute cell references in formulas. PART 2: Reviewing variable and fixed costs for Wedgewood Candle Co. and determining relevant costs for setting a transfer price.
  • Chapter 9—Performing CVP Analysis PART 1: Creating graphs and performing a what-if analysis. PART 2: Using these skills to perform basic CVP analyses and using the results to make business decisions.
  • Chapter 10—Performing Variance Analysis PART 1: Selecting non-contiguous cells in Excel, clearing a cell of formatting or other contents, and using hyperlinks in a spreadsheet. PART 2: Calculating cost, sales, rate, and efficiency variances.
  • Chapter 11—Making Tactical Decisions PART 1: Function keys and other keyboard shortcuts that speed up work. PART 2: Working on a special-order situation that focuses on the importance of thinking business decisions through carefully.


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