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(2007-12-08 19:47:52)


分类: 个人兴趣

Even holy matrimony isn’t sacred when it comes to the application of cost theory.

Victor Sheahan explains why a small wedding could prove to be a false economy.

一提到成本理论的应用,即便是婚配圣事(matrimony marriage; the state of being married也会变得不那么神圣sacred connected with God or a god; considered to be holy。本文作者Victor Sheahan解释了为什么一场小小的婚礼可能成为一笔不划算的买卖a false economy A false economy refers to an action which saves money at the beginning but which, over a longer period of time, results in more money being wasted than being saved.


The concepts of fixed and variable overheads, overhead absorption and contribution and marginal costing can be found in a number of CIMA papers. They are indispensable tools for any management accountant but, as I recently found, they can also be applied to situations that are far removed from the world of work.


I’m about to marry another cost accountant (no one else understands us). As a traditionalist, I’d assumed that my fiancée’s family would be paying for the wedding. When I recovered from the shock of finding that this was no longer so, I asked friends who’d already been through the ordeal what to do. I received advice ranging from “don’t do it” and “elope” to “have a quiet ceremony” and “invite everyone – you get married only once”.

我就要与另一位成本会计师(没有其他人理解我们)结婚了。作为一个传统主义者,我认为我的未婚妻家会承担婚礼的开销。当我从发现情况不再是如此的震惊中回过神来的时候,我问了几个已经度过了接下去怎么办这一严酷考验ordeal a difficult or unpleasant experience的朋友。我得到的建议五花八门,从“那就不结呗”和“干脆你俩私奔elope to run away with sb. In order to marry them secretly得了”到“搞一个简单点、不要铺张的结婚典礼”和“请上每个人—反正你也就结一次”。

With no consistent guidance, the safest option seemed to be to choose a modest-sized wedding. To invite lots of people was surely financial folly – who wants to spend years repaying the cost of one day’s revelry? One friend joked that, given my job, I could probably calculate to the cent how much it would all cost. What a good idea, I thought. Of course I should tackle it as I would any other budgeting exercise. Suddenly the situation was transformed: far from being a financial nightmare, our wedding was now a relatively basic costing problem. The tricky question of how many people to invite had become a simple equation.

       因为没有统一的指导意见,最保险的做法似乎是办一场规模适中的婚礼。邀请很多人肯定在财务上很愚蠢folly a lack of good judgement; the fact of doing sth stupid; an activity or idea that shows a lack of judgement谁会想要花几年去偿还这一天狂欢revelry noisy fun, usually involving a lot of eating and drinking的代价?一个朋友甚至打趣道,就我的工作,我很有可能把总共要花多少钱计算到分。这是一个多好的主意啊,我这样想。当然我要以对待其他预算执行的态度来处理这个难题。突然间情景就转换为:根本谈不上成为一场财务噩梦,我们的婚礼现在是一个相对基础的成本问题。邀请多少人这个棘手的问题就转换为了一个简单的等式。

Certain aspects of a wedding involve fixed costs whether there are ten guests or 1,000. Into this category I grouped expenses such as the dress, the cake, the entertainment, the flowers, the priest, the photographer and the rings. In this case, I estimated that 7,500 would cover all these. The main variable costs – ie, those that will change according to the number of guests – are catering, stationery and postage. I assumed that a figure of 55 per head would cover these.


I understand that the typical wedding present ranges in value from 75 to 125 per person. I have assumed that gifts from your closest relatives will be worth more than those from people with whom you have looser ties. In that case, let’s say that the value of the gift declines at a constant rate as the connection becomes more distant – ie, as you invite more guests. We could express this as a formula: y = 200 – 0.75x where y is the value of the gift and x is the number of guests. So the first person invited could be expected to give a gift worth 199.25 and the 100th person a gift worth 125. We can also constrain this equation and state that y will never go below 50. For simplicity, I’m avoiding the tricky area of valuing non-cash gifts – I don’t think there’s a suitable IAS for valuing Aunt Hilda’s handmade quilt.

       我了解到每位来宾送的婚礼物的价值一般从75欧元到125欧元不等。我还假定你的关系最紧密的亲戚送的礼物的价值应该超过那些与你关系一般的人送的礼物的价值。这样的话,我们可以说你邀请的来宾越多,礼物的价值就会随着关系变得越加疏远而以一个恒定的比率下降。我们把上述内容以一个方程式表达:y = 200 – 0.75x,其中y为礼物的价值,x是来宾的数量。因此第一位受邀来宾所送礼物的价值就预计为199.25欧元,第100位的礼物就值125欧元。我们还可以限定这个等式,使y不会低于50欧元。为简化起见,我回避了为非现金礼物进行估值这个麻烦的事情—我不认为会有一条合适的IAS来对Hilda阿姨亲手缝制的被子进行估值。

The key question is: how many guests should we have? According to costing theory, you should keep inviting people until the marginal cost equals the marginal revenue. Our marginal cost for each guest is 55, so we should keep inviting guests (x) until our marginal revenue (y) is 55. Applying this to the formula y = 200 – 0.75x, we find that x = 193.3, meaning that the ideal number of guests is 193. The panel above shows the situation for various numbers of guests. I worked out cumulative totals for the value of gifts received and for the contribution (the difference between the gift value and the variable cost) using a spreadsheet, so this type of calculation is unlikely to be required in an exam.

关键的问题是:我们应该邀请多少来宾?依据成本理论,你应该持续的邀请客人直到边际成本等于边际收入。我们估算的每位来宾的边际成本为55欧元,所以我们应该持续邀请来宾(x)直到我们的边际收入(y)也为55欧元。将这些代入方程y = 200 – 0.75x,我们得出x = 193.3,意味着理想的来宾数目为193人。上面的方框显示了不同来宾数量的结果。我用电子表格求出了收到的礼物的价值和(边际)贡献(礼物价值和变动成本之间的差额)的累积数。当然这样的计算是不会在考试中作要求的。

Conventional wisdom encourages people to have small weddings to “save money”. We can conclude from this case that such thinking overlooks a number of important considerations:

Guests give gifts. The excess of the gift value over the variable cost of that guest equates to the contribution they provide.

Weddings entail high fixed costs. Traditional costing theory states that high fixed costs encourage big production runs – ie, lots of guests. Modern thinking argues that few costs are truly fixed, but that’s beyond the scope of this exercise.

From a financial perspective, there is an optimum number of guests to invite.

A big guest list means that you don’t have to exclude any friends or relations who might otherwise be insulted. Keeping their “goodwill” has an intangible – but very real – value.

       人们普遍认为(conventional/received wisdom the view or belief that most people hold)举办一场小型婚礼以“节约金钱”。我们从这一案例中可以概括出这样的想法忽视了许多重要的考虑因素:





So we can conclude that big is beautiful (up to a point) when it comes to weddings. Who says accountants aren’t romantic? FM


Victor Sheahan is a cost accountant at Beru Electronics in Tralee, Ireland.

作者是一位在爱尔兰TraleeBeru Electronics工作的成本会计师。



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