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    Challenges Involved In The Implementation Of An Activity Based Costing System Accounting Essay

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    1.0 Executive Summary

    This survey looks at the assorted challenges involved in the execution of an Activity Based Costing system at The Scots National Blood Transfusion Service ( SNBTS ) . SNBTS is a public sector organic structure which supplies blood and related merchandises to the Scots population. The company is presently confronting increasing challenges from many foreparts such as the progressively complex regulations and ordinances refering the aggregation and testing of blood due to safety concerns about the transmittal of diseases such as HIV and Hepatitis, the increasing force per unit area to cut down costs by the Scots authorities which financess the operations and the concern by the direction of SNBTS that any farther cost decreases would hold an impact on ‘care ‘ services. This led to the effort to implement an ABC costing system, followed by Activity Based Management Practices to better the apprehension of how resources are utilized within the company in order to better procedure efficiencies and cost control. SNBTS is forced to get the better of many challenges during the execution of the ABC bing system such as troubles involved in informations garnering with respect to relevancy of information, clip and costs. The company had to besides get the better of certain sum of opposition due to staff insecurities and an issue sing cost allotment for joint merchandises. A proper alteration direction plan, preparation of a squad consisting of the right persons with the right accomplishments, an nidation attack based on ROI and the streamlining of procedures are some of the steps proposed to get the better of the challenges, while a physical property attack is advocated to turn to the joint cost issue. Improved cost behaviour designation and control, improved quality criterions, better pricing methods and improved stock rating are some of the identified advantages for SNBTS via ABC costing.

    2.0 Introduction

    2.1 SNBTS Background

    Scots National Blood Transfusion Service ( SNBTS ) is a none-charitable organisation which was established to carry through the blood supply demands of patients in Scotland which has an approximative population of 5.5 million. SNBTS safely collects and provide blood and related merchandises. All blood collected is through contributions. SNBTS is the first nationally organized transfusion organisation in Scotland. The employee base is about around 1100 runing from applied scientists to administrative staff.

    SNBTS is comprised of a cardinal central office and five regional transfusion centres. These transfusion centres are responsible of roll uping, processing, hive awaying and supply blood throughout Scotland. Inanition to these transfusion centres, SNBTS besides has a set of research and development centres.

    Core intent

    Meeting the transfusion demand of patients in Scotland by roll uping and providing sufficient blood and related merchandises.

    SNBTS mission statement

    SNBTS is the specialist supplier of transfusion medical specialty in Scotland providing high quality blood, tissues, merchandises and services. SNBTs works with communities, infirmaries and professionals to guarantee that the giver ‘s gift is used sagely and efficaciously for the benefits of the patients.

    2.1 SNBTS Situation Background

    Presently SNBTS has some operational issues. To get the better of issues and to make a dependable merchandise cost information system, SNBTS decided to implement a new ABC system ( Activity based costing system ) . Activity-Based Costing ( ABC ) is a bing theoretical account that identifies activities in an organisation and delegate the cost of each activity resource to merchandises and services harmonizing to the existent ingestion by each in order to bring forth the existent cost of merchandises and services for the intent of riddance of unprofitable and take downing monetary values of overpriced 1s.

    To make a dependable merchandise cost information system, SNBTS decided to implement a new ABC system. The purpose of the execution of this system is to clear up how resources are allocated. To ease the execution of this new ABC system, a new direction comptroller was recruited. A commercial off the shelves package is to be purchased. The duty of the undertaking system is to choose the cardinal variables with a general ABC model of activity cost pools and cost driver rates. The purpose of this assignment is to analyse the execution of this new ABC system placing the features, benefits joint bing and execution issues faced.

    3.0 Cardinal Analysis

    3.1 SWOT Analysis

    3.1.1 Strengths

    SNBTS is a good established company in the domain of blood contributions and transfusion with over 50 old ages experience in its field. The being of five major runing board of directorss to complement its nucleus offering ; i.e. contribution and transfusion of blood, such as Supply concatenation, Clinical, Tissue services, Protein Fractionization Centre ( PFC ) and Alba Bio Science, make SNBTS the taking organisation of its sort in Scotland with high rational capital and a wealth of experience.

    3.1.1 Failings

    The chief failings of SNBTS lies chiefly with its stock list direction, deficiency of cost visibleness and changing merchandise fabrication rhythm times. The differing rhythm times for differing merchandises makes it highly disputing to run into sudden alterations in demand. Some of SNBTS ‘s merchandises can take up to 3 months to fabricate. This consequences in the company holding to keep high degrees of stock list which would in bend tie up hard currency which could be used for bettering its quality criterions. Furthermore the company ‘s out-of-date volume based bing methods are doing the company less efficient due to the inability to supervise resource use.

    3.1.1 Opportunities

    There are chances for SNBTS to secure the services of external advisers to analyse its fabrication methods and cost construction in order for it to be able to follow universe category patterns. Other chances include increasing gross revenues volumes by selling blood related merchandises to the private sector, come ining into joint ventures with other companies to develop new blood merchandises, provide consultancy services to abroad blood transfusion companies, the sale of trim runing capacity and by the support of autochthonal bio engineering companies. This would supply SNBTS the chance to gain gross, which in bend could be used to further better its merchandise portfolio, research and development and procedure efficiencies.

    3.1.1 Menaces

    Primary menaces to SNBTS ‘s being are the continuously altering blood transfusion related ordinances and the of all time present menace of decreased support by the authorities ( Christie, 1998 ) .UK Blood Safety & A ; Quality Regulations ( BSQR ) which is continuously increasing the regulations and ordinances with respect to the purchase and usage of UK plasma, as a precautional step against the transmittal of vCJD through blood related merchandises poses a great menace to the being of the Protein Fractionation Centre ( PFC ) . SNBTS would hold to better its current engineering and fabrication quality criterions in order to get the better of these challenges. Another menace is the inconsistent nature of demand and supply for blood related merchandises which consequences in a overcautious attack to stock pile. Furthermore, technological promotion by its abroad challengers which could both hinder its export figures and have a negative impact on the pricing of SNBTS merchandises which is linked to the international companies.

    4.0 Operational challenges faced by SNBTS

    Constantly Changing Dynamic Environment

    The supply of blood is highly disputing to foretell with any certainty due to the invariably altering environment. Supply tends to be seasonal with a form of decrease during the summer period. Supply is besides greatly influenced by issues such as the prevalence of HIV, hepatitis and huffy cow disease ( Prowse, 1994 ) . Other factors such as malignant neoplastic disease interventions, grafts, surgical developments, catastrophes, stringent regulations and ordinances with respect to the quality of blood used etc farther increases the incompatibility in supply.

    Changing Shelf Lives of Different Merchandises

    The shelf lives of assorted merchandises differ drastically. For illustration, whole blood stopping points for 35 yearss, while thrombocytes and ruddy cells last for merely 5 yearss. This causes major strain on efficaciously fiting demand with supply, ensuing in a important sum of buffer stocks. The job is farther compounded by the menace of spoilage. The direction of SNBTS invests resources to constantly enroll new givers and keep relationships with current givers in a command to guarantee the handiness of supply during exigencies.

    Outdated Costing Methods

    The bing merchandise cost related information was based on a series of one off surveies based on resource ingestion forms during the late 80 ‘s, to early 90 ‘s. Costing was done on the functional countries within SNBTS and yearly uplifted for rising prices. This resulted in a cost construction that was n’t representative of the existent scenario and besides made the monitoring and trailing of cost behaviour highly hard.

    Cost Control

    Fundss for running operations at SNBTS are provided by the authorities and are invariably under reappraisal with a cut downing tendency in allotment over the recent old ages. The authorities considers SNBTS as a cost centre and hence it is imperative for SNBTS to be able control its costs in order to be within the allocated budget. SNBTS has been continuously cut downing the cost of operations over the old ages, which has resulted in danger of negatively impacting attention activities. However, in order to go more cost efficient it is imperative for SNBTS to be able to place the cost behaviour of operations.

    Quality Control

    As highlighted before, the stringent quality demands placed on the company necessitates that it maintains accurate records of all the blood collected and tested from givers in order to be able to follow any taints back to the beginnings. The human signifier of BSE and HIV are high on the list of ‘red flagged ‘ diseases. Consequently, carry oning different trials and implementing assorted processs has made it really hard for SNBTS to be able to maintain path of its cost construction.

    Meeting the Private Sector Demand

    Demand for blood merchandises by the private sector has created farther challenges for SNBTS. Donors are non favourable towards the company doing net incomes from the merchandises that were provided to SNBTS by them free of charge. Furthermore staff of SNBTS was concerned that the benefits of subsidised costs would be transferred to the private companies, which resulted in SNBTS holding to guarantee a full cost recovery from the merchandises sold to the private houses. However, this besides required a proper designation of relevant costs by SNBTS.

    5.0 A new costing attack at SNBTS

    The Drawbacks of the Prevailing Costing Method

    The current costing method has important drawbacks ensuing in many deductions for the operations at SNBTS. Since the prevailing bing method was carried out during the late 80 ‘s, it is extremely improbable that the allotment done at that clip would sufficiently stand for the true cost construction of SNBTS today. Furthermore, since the costs were based on functional countries a volume based traditional attack would hold been used to apportion overhead costs to the merchandises.

    The conventional costing attack used at SNBTS dictated that fixed operating expenses such as edifice operating expenses, disposal, housekeeping etc were allocated to merchandises based on usual denominators such as labour hours, machine hours etc. This is an ad hoc attack to delegating costs to merchandises and therefore leaves room for much inaccuracy, which can hold a immense impact on the pricing of merchandises. Furthermore the traditional soaking up method tends to enforce a heavy ‘penalty ‘ in footings of costs for high volume merchandises, while supplying low volume merchandises an ‘advantage ‘ which further contributes to the inaccuracy of merchandise pricing.

    6.0 Benefits of Activity Based Costing at SNBTS

    ABC bing addresses most of the disadvantages of the traditional costing attack by apportioning costs to activities instead than randomly delegating them to merchandises based on standard volume based denominators ( Averkamp, 2009 ) . This is a major displacement in the construct of cost behaviour, since this method fundamentally treats most fixed costs as variable in nature by associating them to activities generated by the production procedure.

    Some of the specific advantages of the ABC bing attack to SNBTS are the undermentioned:

    Improved costing and control

    The prevailing bing attack utilized at SNBTS was identified as one of its major operational failings in the SWOT analysis. The attack is based on an analysis done on the company about two decennaries prior. The direction of SNBTS recognized the demand for dependable merchandise cost information which would clear up how resources had been employed to present end products. An Activity Based Costing attack straight addresses this issue by its really method of execution. The fact that ABC bing focal points on boring down and placing the activities that create the end products ( and use of resources ) , it automatically lends itself to carry throughing the direction ‘s demand.

    Improved answerability

    The direction of SNBTS is invariably under force per unit area by the authorities to be crystalline and history for the use of the given financess. This demand is amplified by the determination made by the authorities to cut down the allotted financess to SNBTS, even though the company had been continuously cut downing its entire cost of operations over many old ages ( and accrued nest eggs of over 5 million lbs ) .

    Figure 1SNBTS Efficiency Savingss

    The ABC costing method would turn to this demand by clearly placing and mapping out the cardinal activities involved in the use resources that create the concluding end product. This would in bend enable the direction to show a clear image of its cost construction and besides facilitate accurate stock rating ; i.e. supplying a statement of stocks valued at their full cost.

    A clear designation of costs would besides greatly better SNBTS ‘s likeliness of being able to warrant its one-year budget demands in a logical ‘bottom up ‘ attack to counter the authorities ‘s focal point on decrease of the same.

    Improved Quality

    The overruling purpose of SNBTS is to supply clinical support service of the highest quality. One of the cardinal menaces identified in the SWOT analysis was the increasing authorities demands ( Blood Safety & A ; Quality Regulations ) with respect to the quality of blood testing and processing. Such can stultify the company due to the demand for considerable investing to upgrade the equipment and better its procedures. Quality betterment methods such as six sigma and TQM ( Total Quality Management ) can be considered by the direction with the execution of an ABC costing attack. Since Six Sigma methodological analysis requires a clear designation of value adding and non value adding procedures and TQM advocates incremental betterments, the clear designation of cardinal activities, value adding and non value adding procedures etc through ABC costing can pave the manner for improved quality criterions via the execution of quality betterment methods that are complementary in nature.

    Better pricing and fight

    One of the cardinal chances identified for SNBTS is the possible for gaining gross to complement its nucleus concern which is non net income oriented. These chances vary from exporting selected merchandises, to joint ventures, to consultancy services in the field of blood transfusion patterns and quality testing processs. The current pricing scheme applied by SNBTS is to monetary value its merchandises based on the merchandising monetary values of similar merchandises in the market. This attack has many obvious defects such as the deficiency of control over the pricing of a merchandise, the over pricing and under pricing of merchandises and the inability to sufficiently leverage internal efficiencies to earn an advantage over viing merchandises in the market. ABC bing would enable SNBTS to more accurately place the costs per merchandise and thereby make up one’s mind on appropriate monetary values. This would besides help in strategic determinations with respect to its merchandise portfolio.

    Facilitates CVP analysis

    The proper designation of variable costs and fixed costs would better the truth of cost volume net income analysis and assistance in managerial determination devising. Added accent on the part borders of merchandises would automatically ensue in tighter control of operational costs which augurs good for the length of service of SNBTS.

    Provides the foundation for procedure betterments

    The changeless focal point on cardinal activities, procedures and related costs would coerce the direction to on a regular basis reexamine its procedures and invariably do betterments. This would besides complement its aim to better quality.

    Facilitates activity based direction

    ABC bing would ensue in the designation of fiscal and non fiscal steps which could turn out good to SNBTS with respect to its fabrication efficiencies. Although non straight related, a alteration in direction focal point from volume based relationships to activity based relationships is the get downing point for assorted operational betterment subjects.

    7.0 Joint costs and their deductions for ABC

    Figure 2 SNBTS Joint Costss

    Joint costs are defined as the costs incurred when two or more merchandises arise from the same fabrication procedure. Since these multiple merchandises arise from the same activity it is highly hard to accurately foretell their costs, doing the ABC attack, which specifically relies on activities to apportion costs, no more effectual than alternate bing methods with regard to joint cost allotment. Therefore joint costs by their very nature, impinge on the proper execution of ABC bing methods.

    One of the challenges faced by the direction of SNBTS during the proposed execution of ABC costing was the nature of the merchandises themselves ; i.e. the assorted end products from the ‘whole blood ‘ beginning. A bulk of the merchandises at SNBTS were derived via the fractional process procedure of whole blood into single merchandise end products, which technically make them articulation merchandises which incur joint costs.

    The demand for the allotment of joint costs by SNTBS include grounds such as stock rating for accounting intents, profitableness measuring of joint merchandises, pricing determinations and cost reimbursement by the authorities.

    Professionals and Cons of Proposed Options

    The followers options are some of the options considered by the direction of SNBTS to apportion costs to the joint merchandises:

    Physical properties

    This attack advocates the usage of a physical property of a merchandise as a common denominator to apportion the joint costs amongst the merchandises. As a whole this method has proved disputing for SNBTS due to the assorted different features of the specific merchandises such as pulverizations, liquids, picks etc. However, SNBTS presently uses the step of the whole blood input demand for each merchandise end product as a footing for allotment.

    While this attack is comparatively consecutive forward to pattern, the drawback is that such allotment does non reflect the value placed on these merchandises in the market and can unwittingly do SNBTS less competitory with the merchandises that have a higher cost allotment.

    Gross saless values

    This attack links the costs of each joint merchandise with the entire gross generated by the merchandises concerned. The monetary value per unit would hold to be based on the market monetary values and costs allocated would hold to be derived from the pricing.

    While this method addresses the market value of the merchandises in inquiry and therefore ensures they are at least every bit competitory in the market, there are many drawbacks such as the invariably altering market monetary values, the deficiency of ‘like for like ‘ merchandises in the market, which would ensue in comparing ‘pears and oranges ‘ , the differing degrees of pureness and volatility etc do it disputing as a sustainable option for the direction.

    Alternate costs

    This attack uses the lowest cost option ( as opposed to joint processing ) as the standards for bing. However, this is the least practical out of the available options since it is hard to measure alternate costs of production as a footing of allotment. This makes the allocated costs even more subjective, since most alternate methods of production would be conjectural in nature to get down with.

    Clinical value

    This method uses the comparative clinical values of each end product as a footing for the allotment of costs. Since all merchandises are clinically enhanced in comparing to their initial signifier ; i.e. whole blood, their costs would hold to bear a proportion of the fractional process costs based on the same.

    While this attack does hold some logic to it, it still involves a certain sum of subjectiveness in footings of the costs placed on their clinical values, particularly since these values are derived based on the subjective sentiments of experts and can differ from one to another.


    Physical property attack

    It is of import that the ABC bing methodological analysis is used suitably up to the ‘split off point ‘ ; i.e. the point where the joint merchandises are formed. Thereafter, nevertheless either a market based or a physical property based attack would hold to be used based on the above mentioned pros and cons. In the instance of SNBTS, the market based attack, ( where in which market monetary values are used as a footing for allotment ) is less suited particularly since it is chiefly a non net income organisation and due to the fact that there would be a demand to constantly reappraisal and amend the values based on the fluctuation in market monetary values. Therefore a physical property attack would be more suited due to its simpleness in application and due to the comparative stableness of values in comparing to the market attack.

    Optimization of throughput & A ; capacity use

    Since the direction at SNBTS has programs for implementing Activity Based Management patterns, this would impart itself to proper capacity planning and throughput optimisation. Since bing would be based on ABC methodological analysis up to the ‘split off ‘ point, this would ease lower transportation monetary values to other divisions.

    8.0 Activity Based Costing Implementation Challenges at SNBTS

    The move to implement the ABC costing system was spearheaded by the manager of Finance with the aid of a freshly recruited direction comptroller and six other stakeholders from transverse functional subjects.

    The chief aims for the execution of ABC bing at SNBTS were to better the transparence of cost behaviour and thereby addition cost control and to hold a clear image on how resources were being employed in order to implement Activity Based Cost Management ( ABCM ) .

    The undertaking squad had to get the better of a just portion of ‘hurdles ‘ during the undertaking lifecycle. ‘Change ‘ as ever does non come easy and it is exceptionally disputing when a set of alterations affects the whole company. Even though there was n’t a great trade of opposition to alter, there were specific challenges that had to be overcome by the undertaking execution squad.

    Lack of Sufficient Knowledge

    One of the initial challenges faced by the squad was the general deficiency of cognition sing the niceties of ABC costing by the squad members and bulk of the employees. This caused assorted operational issues and holds, particularly with the bite of informations. ABC bing methodological analysis entails a important sum of clip spent on garnering information with respect to the assorted undertakings undertaken by employees and analyzing the assorted procedures that guide such activities. Initial troubles were sing the definition of an ‘activity ‘ and guaranting everyone was ‘on the same page ‘ with respect to what was expected from them.

    Time and Costss

    This is frequently referred to as one of the drawbacks in implementing an ABC costing system. A thorough function of all procedures, the drill down and filtering of all ‘relevant ‘ activities, the designation of cost drivers, make up one’s minding on how many activities would be tracked per cost pool etc are tremendous challenges and take up much clip and resources ( Irvine, 2005 ) .

    Apart from the sum of information gathered and reviewed, the other challenge was to make with the method of roll uping the needed information ( from over 1100 staff )

    Gathering the Right Data

    One of the cardinal concerns when roll uping information is guaranting that the ‘right ‘ activities and right figure are chosen to stand for the costs allocated to the end product. Incorrect data aggregation and subsequent allotment can ensue in major reverses during the execution phases and can endanger the whole undertaking.

    Staff Insecurities

    Initial opposition was caused due to the issue of staff insecurity. The ‘total transparence ‘ construct of ABC can hold a negative impact on staff who might comprehend it as ‘a means to prise into ‘ one ‘s work life ; i.e. a kind of ‘glorified work survey ‘ on staff productiveness. This caused some apprehensiveness and reserves amongst certain staff about the existent motivations of the enterprise and the hereafter of their occupations.

    Addressing Indirect Support Activities

    Indirect support activities that could non be traced straight to the concluding end products of SNBTS had to be accounted for and allocated within the merchandise costs. Costss incurred by services such as computer science, finance, forces and preparation had to be allocated in a suited mode. Though it was decided upon that a cost cascade attack would be used, the challenge was to acquire the credence of the stakeholders would be ‘lower down ‘ the cascade, since they would hold to bear a part of the operating expenses from the predating degree on the cascade.

    Joint Costss

    Another challenge was make up one’s minding on the most suited method of apportioning costs for joint merchandises, since a high part of the end product was from a common beginning ( This is addressed in item in subdivision 4.0 )

    Allocating Costss from Legacy Activities

    In ABC costing, non all fixed costs would be would be computed as variable in nature. However, certain fixed costs such as research and development costs, specific undertaking costs etc can non be attributable to the cost of current merchandises. This created a quandary with respect to the ‘correct ‘ allotment method for research such costs.

    9.0 Operationalzing Activity Based Costing at SNBTS

    Forming the Right Team

    One the factors that contributed to the challenges faced by the undertaking squad was the deficiency of equal consciousness and experience with the elaboratenesss of ABC costing and undertaking execution. Taking into history the fact that the new costing attack would hold an impact on the whole organisation, it is of critical importance that the squad consists of members experienced in the execution of undertakings of such magnitude.

    SNBTS direction should look at the feasibleness of deriving the services of an ageless party to drive the undertaking, particularly since it besides deals with employee sensitivenesss and cost issues. This would assist extenuate opposition to alter and better the objectiveness of the undertaking direction squad.

    Change Management

    Changes within an organisation of this magnitude can non be implemented without taking the right stairss to guarantee it occurs in a smooth and timely mode. The direction at SNBTS should implement the new costing method merely one time all employees are exposed to the three phases of alteration direction such as ‘unfreezing ‘ , alteration and ‘re stop deading ‘ . This can be achieved through proper creative activity of consciousness sing the niceties of ABC costing, the chief aims of its proposed execution and the attendant benefits for all staff. A proper alteration direction plan would greatly help the undertaking squad with the execution of the undertaking.

    A proper alteration direction plan will besides travel a long manner in relieving the frights and insecurities of the staff with respect to their occupation security.

    Guaranting Sufficient ROI

    When make up one’s minding on the degree of item required with respect to the activities that contribute to resource use, it is of import that the direction continuously weighs the returns with cost incurred in extra informations aggregation. This is of import since one of the chief drawbacks of implementing ABC costing is the sum of clip and resources spent on information assemblage.

    Procedure Optimization

    ABC bing can non be successfully implemented in any organisation unless the organisation already has a good documented set of procedures which are invariably reviewed and revised. It is of import for the direction at SNBTS to guarantee that all procedures are documented and categorized into critical and non critical procedures to ease the execution of ABC costing.

    10.0 How the hereafter looks for SNBTS

    A reappraisal of the internal and external challenges faced by SNBTS provides an penetration into the possible stairss that could be undertaken during the short term and long term for future growing.

    10.1 Short Term

    Improved efficiencies

    Successful execution of ABC costing and the subsequent execution of Activity Based Management would supply SNBTS a great chance to better its cost construction, take non value adding procedures and continuously better itself with much more success compared to the old ages prior. This would do SNBTS on par with the best in the universe.

    Improved Quality Standards

    ABC bing would ease improved quality criterions at SNBTS and could be used as a stepping rock for added quality betterment enterprises. However, the direction should guarantee that SNBTS is ever ‘one measure in front ‘ of the authorities ‘s of all time increasing regulations and ordinances and cease being reactive and become pro active alternatively. This is of import for the sustainability of SNBTS in this industry.

    Improved client focal point

    SNBTS should use the benefits of improved cost control and efficiencies to pull new clients. A company that has crystalline fundss will supply clients added assurance in making concern with it.

    Intellectual capital and People Development

    The company should use its staff ‘s experience and potency and supply equal preparation and development to foster their accomplishments. This would be a long term investing for the company, which would keep it in good position for the hereafter.

    10.2 Long Term Growth

    SNBTS should look for chances for growing in the long term, instead than to simply guarantee position quo. Apart from the obvious fiscal impact, a company that grows will besides ensue in a high degree of staff motive and battle.

    Transform the concern theoretical account

    SNBTS should see altering from being entirely a non-profit-making organisation into an organisation that is besides focused on net incomes. This could be achieved by exporting its merchandises to foreign markets, leasing out trim capacity to other companies and supplying consultancy services.


    SNBTS with its experience of over 50 old ages can look at chances for chances for joint ventures in countries such as planing new types of blood bags.

    11.0 Decision

    A comprehensive analysis on SNBTS and its operations all indicate the virtues of implementing an activity based bing attack. This would supply SNBTS the right chances at the right clip to change over its image from being a cost Centre to an organisation that provides echt value to the state with respect to the service it provides it ‘s the citizens of Scotland and the gross it earns through its exports and other services.

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