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Assignment Case - Environmental Performance Indicators: Sustainability Reporting: Insurance Company

Task - Identify your client, a general location of the business, description of the industry in which it operates and an identified business vision and any other relevant information which assists in explaining the client's operating environment.

Answer -

Introduction

The present report is based on an insurance company known as WealthWise Insurance. The company has its headquarters in Brisbane. It has its offices located in almost all the capital cities and regional cities of Australia. The company has its annual revenue of $2.8 million (Maas, Schaltegger, & Crutzen, 2016). This is an insurance service organization which is fully dedicated to provide outstanding customer service by taking care of their insurances. It deals with the provision of business insurance, travel insurance, and personal insurance. The home and contents insurance provided by it helps in protecting the home and other personal belongings so many accidental events. In addition to this, they have a "resilium" advisor that provides "Taylor Business Insurance" in accordance to the type of business and its associated risks. The vision of WealthWise is to supported employees for becoming a socially responsible organization by dealing with insurance clients. It further aims at promoting a better physical and social environment for the entire globe. Since the foundation of the firm, is emphasized to contribute the society instead of only focusing on increasing profit. It also contributes to charities, especially for poor people and homeless. With the sponsor scholarship program for disadvantaged students, it facilitate them to attend university. The company has recently set up an internal information system funny improving environmental and social practices within the company.

Presently the CEO of the company, Slyvia Trott resumes that the company has become complacent on its past achievements. She is concerned towards the fact that the firm was a corporate social responsibility, and presently it is not following the same. The employees have developed some kind of discontent among them. They perceive that the management team ill-treats them, which leads to dissatisfaction. This belief of employee is reflected in the media report of the business treatment in Langkawi and Phuket, which would have damaged in the 2004 tsunami incident (Maas et al 2016). According to the report, the insurance company has paid according to the clauses that cover earthquake damage but not the flood damage.

The regulatory guidelines followed by WealthWise insurance company are in accordance with the insurance contract act 1984, insurance act 1973, and corporation act 2001. The two major regulators of the insurance industry in Australia are Australian securities and investment commission (ASIC) and Australian Prudential regulation authority (APRA). According to the general insurance code of practice, the rights of insurer and policyholder is examined by the Australian financial compliance authority code compliance and monitoring team. The team separately deals with the insurers and customers to resolve their disputes.

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Literature Review

Sustainability report is defined as a report that is published by any firm regarding its economic, social and environmental impact resulted from its daily activities (Massa, Farneti & Scappini, 2015). The report also outlines the value as well as the governance model for the organization, which ultimately defines the connection between its commitment and strategy towards a sustainable economy. The sustainability reporting is required as an alternative for corporate social responsibility reporting and the triple bottom line reporting, to evaluate both financial and non-financial performance.

WealthWise is the insurance company engaged in providing business, personal and travel insurance to the customers. After its inclusion in the Australian security exchange in 2001, it is a preferred company for its ethical and green investment funds. It is better known for its sustainability approach in the past, however in the present time. In 2004, the profit of WealthWise has increased by 15% to $173 million on the asset base of $1235 million (Maas et al 2016). According to the company report, it is the third consecutive year having a raised profit level. The reports suggest that the earnings per share were recorded as 62%, while the market value per share was $5.40 (Ehnert, Parsa, Roper, Wagner, & Muller-Camen, 2016). The board of members of the committee is concerned about the company making a loss in the insurance business, despite its investment resulting in a strong return. The investment portfolio comprises of the shares in Qantas, BHP Billiton, James Hardie industries and Telstra. Moreover, the companies also at the risk of losing its positive image related to sustainability. The reason behind this is the deteriorated relationship between management and employees. In conjunction with this, the media have also published negative reports regarding the company's treatment towards the businesses in Langkawi and Phuket. These businesses were covered by WealthWise insurance and were highly affected by the 2004 tsunami. After this natural calamity, the company has paid a minimum amount according to the applied clauses, which defines the insurance contract to be covered only by the earthquake damage and not by flood damage.

It has now become important for WealthWise to present its sustainability reporting to create an awareness of the responsibility in the corporate world. Sustainability reporting helps in building a better reputation and increasing employee loyalty. According to a recent report, more than 30% of the survey suggests that sustainability reporting in enhancing the loyalty of employees, as the approach believes in a transparent business operation. Furthermore, with this approach, WealthWise will also be able to gain a higher index score with improved access to the capital. Moreover, presenting a sustainability report will further make the company efficient in taking business decisions. The key performance indicators for WealthWise for determining includes:

  • Economic performance indicator - the quality of service provided, company turnover, only see practices, hiring protocols, and annual profit (Watson, 2015).
  • Environmental performance indicator - waste output (such as paper recycling per year, electricity consumption), water consumption, and greenhouse gas emission.
  • Social performance indicator - employee satisfaction rate, the ethical ranking of the sales staff by customers, indigenous employees, and the percentage of women employees in the top management level.
  • Financial performance indicator - Return on Investment, total insurance premium, and profit.

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To derive a conclusion and a successful solution for resolving the company's issue, it is required to have a face-to-face meeting with the employees. The meeting will help in identifying their state of mind and concern about sustainability. Moreover, an interview session can be conducted within the workplace with selected employees, if required. Therefore, it is advisable for the chief executive officer of WealthWise to take necessary steps towards encouraging its staffs to behave in a way that supports sustainability, which can further improve the performance measurement system and help to achieve company goal. In this context, the introduction of a smart and integrated public policy will motivate towards investment in new technologies and standards for training employees towards sustainability. Secondly, the CEO needs to communicate the goals of sustainability embedded within the organization and make them motivated (Ioannou, & Serafeim, 2017).

1) Explained if there is any industry, regulatory, or authoritative guidelines and issues impacting management accounting with regards to your Company selected.

Point 1: WealthWise, being an insurance policy company in Australia has been operating in strict obligation. There are several laws that regulate the company such as the insurance contract act (1984), the insurance act (1973), and the corporation act (2001). The insurance company has to undergo several obligations which is related to the commonwealth, territory law, and state law for smooth financial integrity. The regulatory bodies for the insurance industry in Australia are the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) and the Australian Prudential regulation authority (APRA). ASIC is liable to license financial service providers, especially to those who offer insurance and its associated advice. Similarly, APRA is responsible to set prudential standards for the insurance industry. For instance, it determines the amount of capital an insurance company is able to hold in reserve for paying claims. Hence, it begin how considerable impact towards the chargeable premium by the insurer (Watson, 2015).

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2) Explained how you would analyse cost information (costings, expenditure and relevant ratios) within the company.

Point 2: Analysing cost information such as expenditure, costing and liquid cash-flow will be helpful in determining potential issues and opportunities which the company will be facing in terms of financial aspects. For the evaluation of cost information following methods can be implemented:

a. Horizontal financial data analysis - This method covers the financial data that varies according to different reporting periods. The cost of line items to be included in financial statements such as net income on a quarterly basis or the cost of goods sold would help the business leader in defining the rate of progress (Formentini, & Taticchi, 2016). Also, in this method, the gross profit and net profit can be analysed, which further helps to determine the need for cost-cutting measures.

b. Vertical financial data analysis - In this case, the financial statement is reviewed independent of time, which is without comparing on the basis of months or quarters. It is helpful for the business leader to have an overall look at the efficiency of revenue flow (McNally, Cerbone & Maroun, 2017). The income ratio will also help to determine the efficiency of producing, selling and delivering goods to consumers.

c. Analysis of cost ratios and trends - This approach is designed specifically to analyse the trend in the company's financial status (gross profit). Thus having a clear understanding of various financial line items will help in developing an effective strategic plan (Lecy & Searing, 2015).

Forecasting with the help of financial analysis provides a wide range of opportunities which is in determining the future strategies for the company. Such information are also helpful to identify trends and predict the market factors that are vulnerable to affect the total revenue and net profit.

3) Review and elaborate on possibilities to reduce costs and enhance value and profitability within this Company.

Point 3: Cost-cutting is considered as the easiest and quickest way to improve the profit rate for any business. In the present scenario, the WealthWise insurance company can also introduce a cost control system to bring immediate savings and remain competitive for the longer-term. In this regard, the identification of major cost centres is required. These cost centres primarily to the modules sucha s marketing, finance, employee wages, insurance purchase, administration, and marketing (Aras, & Crowther, 2016). The profit and loss statement involved for the last six months is analysed. This evaluation when help in prioritizing expenses from highest to lowest, as well as identifying the specific areas where cost-cutting can be done. Furthermore, the application of a cost-saving tactic can be imposed in areas that required the highest rewards. For example, some of the official what can be outsourced by external agencies or by hiring part-time employees can help in saving from employees' wages. Some other cost-saving opportunities include using automated technology instead of manpower, reducing payroll costs, including long-term contracts, minimize communication and travel cost by including internet communications such as Skype, email.

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4) Explained how you could help improve performance measurement and monitoring in this Company based on what were learned in the subject.

Point 4: The balanced scorecard method is one of the effective performance measurement technique. This technique can be used by WealthWise determined performance on the basis of financial scale and sustainability. The balanced scorecard is used for predicting both future and present accounting metrics. In order to improve performance measurement, for customer, CRM, and supply chain management, following approach could prove to be effective.

a. Clear goals should be implemented to achieve the sales profile.

b. Communicate the vision to improve individual performance in the supply chain network.

c. Index settings must be used to target specific segment of customers.

d. In order to improve the CRM performance, feedback and learning mechanism should be used to design implementation strategies.

On the other hand, the measurement for product profitability, BSC, EVA, and quality management information, following measures could be effective:

a. High-level financial measures should be implemented, which can answer to the concern of involved stakeholders. This include focusing on cash flow, return of investment, operating income, and sales volume.

b. Internal business process must be evaluated on periodic basis. This must include focus on new product introduction, unit cost, product life cycle, and yield.

c. Learning and growth process that should concentrate on continuous improvement, creating value, collection of feedback from customers, and bring innovation.

Overall, it is learned that using balanced scorecard method, WealthWise can improve the performance measurement, which in turn can bring effectiveness in the overall procedure. As a matter of fact the method will also be effective in designing future strategies as well as can help in achieving competitive advantage.

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