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The use of job costing as a tool for the pricing and cost control decisions in the printing industry: the case of Société de Presse et d'Editions (SOPECAM)

par Christian Kuiate Sobngwi
University of Buea - Bachelor of Science 2003

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So far we have already tried to lay the bases for the continuation of our study; much has been done to give the reader an insight into the theory of job costing and the related costing techniques that can be used in conjunction with that costing method. An overview of the pricing theory has also been done and we have tried to relate the costing theory to that of pricing and we can now assume that it is possible to draw or formulate a pricing policy depending on our cost information.

In order to make these theories relevant, we need to apply them to a particular or real-life case. It was mentioned at the beginning of the study that SOPECAM and its product, the newspaper Cameroon tribune, constituted our area of interest. We will therefore try to adapt the costing and pricing theories to the case of SOPECAM. Before we reach that level, some specifications have to be made about the way the study will be conducted and this constitute the core of this chapter.

As such, this chapter will be aimed at first providing a background information on the area of study, it will then concentrate on the techniques that will be used to analyse the situation by specifying the variables of the study, the model that will be used to analyse the data, which may have been collected using particular techniques and finally, some precisions will be made about the sampling plan.


The Cameroon News and Publishing Corporation (SOPECAM) is a State-owned enterprise whose headquarters are located in Yaoundé, the Nation's Capital. The principal activities of this enterprise consist in publishing and printing the bilingual daily newspaper «Cameroon Tribune», the collection and sale of news, and finally some printing and publishing works. This commercial and industrial enterprise placed under the administrative supervision of the Minister of communication, is today 25 years old.

On the 1st July 1974, date of the launching of the daily newspaper «Cameroon Tribune», SOPECAM has not yet been given birth; the publishing, printing and distribution of this newspaper was done through three enterprises, namely:

Ø AGRACAM: The French acronym for «Ateliers Graphiques du Cameroon»

Ø SCP S.A.: The French acronym for Societe Camerounaise de Publication

Ø ACAP: The French acronym for «Agence Camerounaise de Presse».

These three enterprises continue to assure the publishing of «Cameroon Tribune» until the creation of SOPECAM by the presidential decree N° 77/250 of the 18 July 1977 aimed at the creation and organisation of SOPECAM. This corporation was the result of the vertical merger of the three preceding enterprises. The capital of this enterprise amounted to CFA 250,000,000. Concerning the legal side of the operation, this corporation is a complete legal entity having its life distinct from that of its unique owner (the State) and financially, this enterprise is also completely autonomous; finally the enterprise is ranked at the second category of the State-owned enterprises.

When creating this enterprise, the Cameroonian State was trying to solve two mains problems:

Ø Firstly, there was a political wish to organise into a unique entity the vast sector of the public written press, in order to ease the collection and spreading of the news and the printing and publishing of newspapers.

Ø Secondly, from an economic point of view, there was a need to reduce the operating costs of AGRACAM, SCP and ACAP.

Later run, SOPECAM was reorganised through a second decree, the decree N° 85/1716 of the 12 December 1985; this decree brought about some changes in the structure of SOPEACM

As it is common with any human organisation, SOPECAM had some major goals to be achieved when the enterprise was created, we will try to list and explain these goals.


On the 18th July 1977, SOPECAM had as main goals the following:

Ø To try by all the appropriate means to obtain the components of complete news in and out of Cameroon.

Ø Through alliances and contracts with foreign news agencies, make sure that international news will be constantly available to the public.

Ø To make all the national and foreign news available to all users, be them public or private users from within and without the National territory, in the form of newspapers, periodicals, telegraphic means, at some cost, with a view of providing the world with better information about the life, political, economic, social and cultural activities.

Ø To provide public and private users with publishing services.

Ø To provide public and private users with printing services.

But, in order to achieve these objectives, SOPECAM needs to have enough resources, especially financial resources.

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