While current cost and managerial accounting texts devote extensive coverage to comparisons of actual and expected costs, relatively scant attention is devoted to analyzing comparable differences in revenues. Methods commonly used to identify differences between actual and expected revenues include the calculation of variances such as the sales price (SPV), sales quantity (SQV), and the sales mix (SMV) variances. We decided to approach the discussion of these variances in an innovative setting by presenting the SQV and SMV in the context of analyzing the performance of a basketball team, providing a setting that is both appropriate and interesting for illustrating revenue variances. Also, there are trade-offs in the choice between two of these “revenue” sources, for example, should the shooter attempt a two- or a three-point shot? Other relevant questions propel the decomposition of the SQV into the market size (MSV) and market share (MShV) variances. Was the game an offensive showdown, tallying numerous shots, or a defensive lock-down with relatively few shots? How effective was the team in controlling the ball and scoring a dominant proportion of shots? Feedback from students indicates that this illustration provides an interesting and comprehensive discussion of revenue variances. Using this and similar settings, a better understanding of quantity and mix variances, and the impact of these variances on improving performance, may be obtained.

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