CIMA MCS Feb 2018: Nortan

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The February 2018 CIMA MCS case study exam is fast approaching and I can feel it as I am sitting the exam myself! If you are taking he exam next month and you haven’t read the pre-seen materials then you can find the official document released by CIMA here.

With this in mind, I thought I would share my thoughts on the pre-seen before sharing the preview videos on the Industry Analysis and Pre-Seen Analysis.

Nortan: What do we know?

Well, first of all there are two aspects consider.

  • Nortan is major global oil company with a strong history.
  • The Nortan FOSSC is a shared services function that was setup in 2002 at the Nortan head office – your role is Finance Manager at the FOSSC.

Why am I mentioning this?

Well, the bulk of the pre-seen materials talk about the FOSSC, the history, the management team, this issues and press articles about the FOSSC.

So it’s clear the case study itself revolves around the FOSSC – what are the strengths and weaknesses at the Nortan FOSSC? What is it’s mission statement?

However, we must also consider Nortan as an oil company and how their operations will impact the FOSSC? Will Nortan be making an acquisition – how will this impact the accounting that will be required at the FOSSC?

So don’t neglect the oil industry and remember to see the bigger the picture with Nortan – our immediate focus should be on the FOSSC and it’s mission but the day to day operations of Nortan and strategic decisions made will have an impact on the demands at the FOSSC.

Nortan: The FOSSC

Shared Services Centre’s are common place in this day and age with large multinational companies. It makes financial sense to centralise the accounting operations in one location as opposed to having local finance offices in every country.

  • The pre-seen tells us that the setup saves Nortan 35% on their accounting costs (see snippet from the interview).

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While it makes sense financially to setup a Shared Services Centre there are potential problems and risks that the Nortan FOSSC could face.

Staffing would appear to be a potential problem given the fact the FOSSC employs over 3000 people and a reliant on a motivated workforce to meet the strict deadlines.

  • How do Nortan keep their staff motivated?
  • Does the HR department have the resources to vet all of the incoming applications in order to filter the right candidates?

There is also mention of redundancies in one of the companies that Nortan have acquired. The below snippet was taken from a press article in the CIMA pre-seen materials. It appears that Nortan are acting responsibility as they state they will make every effort to assist the affected staff to find new posts.

However, the theme of redundancies and staff turnover (which is a particularly hot topic in Shared Service Centres) could well appear in one of the exam variants.

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Nortan: Industry Analysis

I find the Industry Analysis is very helpful in this case study as it gives you a clear insight into the oil industry itself. Which is something missing from the pre-seen materials where the focus is on the FOSSC and no real details on how the industry operates and how to relate it to Nortan.

You can find the full set of Astranti videos on the February 2018 MCS here.

Nortan: Pre-Seen Analysis

You can find the full set of Astranti videos on the February 2018 MCS here.

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