The coursework contributes to 40% of the overall mark for the module as a whole. The coursework will be undertaken as individual work. Students will be required to analyse the recent performance of a major UK company and give advice to an investor based on their findings. The company should be in the top 200 UK companies as measured by market capitalisation. It should be noted that a FTSE-100 company will be easier to research.
From his or her research, the student will write a 3,500 word report giving advice to the investor on what his or her best course of action would be with respect to that company?s shares. The student needs to invent the investor who might be looking for growth or income. The investor may already hold the shares or may be considering buying shares in the company.
Students will be required to use the company?s latest Annual Report and to make comparisons with the performance of one other company in the same industry sector. Given that the latest Annual Report is already out of date by the time it is made available, students will be expected to show knowledge of the present and likely future environment within which the company is operating. The completed coursework is to be in the form of an individual written report.
The Annual Reports of the two companies should be submitted with the report. If the Report is downloaded from the Internet then it will be sufficient to submit the Chairman?s Statement, The Profit and Loss Account and the Balance Sheet with notes to the accounts where appropriate.
The two companies selected by each student must be among those listed in top 200 companies as reported in the Business Section of the Sunday Times. It is advisable to choose a FTSE 100 company as the main company as more information will be available about it.
The following criteria will be used in assessing this coursework:
Communication skills 20%
Report writing ability - power of expression; clarity of language and analytical logic; originality and effectiveness of structure and presentation.
Analytical and problem solving skills 45%
Depth of analysis
and extent of understanding of the analytical techniques used; breadth of knowledge demonstrated; the relevance and practicability of the recommendations made and the extent to which they relate theory to practice.
Research skills 25%
The ability to secure information about the companies and industry examined by the student. It is to be expected that the information is up-to-date and relevant. Consideration of the future prospects of the company is expected.
Planning and organisational skills 10%
The extent of background reading as evidenced by a bibliography and the ability to meet deadlines will be considered when assessing these skills.
You will find www.bloomberg.co.uk a very useful site for this coursework, as is www.ft.com. There are many other sites which give useful information and students are encouraged to find these for themselves.
The latest financial
statements of a company will be found on its website. You will only have to print off extracts from the report e.g. Chairman?s Report, Profit and Loss and Balance Sheet.
A hard copy of the latest published annual reports might be available (free) by contacting the FT Annual Reports Club (see www.ft.com/ir )
To achieve a pass in the module students should gain a weighted overall mark of 50%.
You will be assessed on your ability to:
1. Relate the information contained in a corporate annual report to the relevant legal and regulatory framework; critically evaluate the efficacy of this information.
2. Define and use accounting and financial
terms when analysing annual reports.
3. Critically analyse, interpret and evaluate corporate annual reports
the two financial
organisations by using ratio analysis
The purpose of the coursework is to enable the student to analyse in a systematic way, using a suitable financial
framework, a large amount of information, and to present a feasible analysis
performance in a clearly-written report, which will include appropriate numerical and qualitative analysis
. A suggested standard report structure is set out on the next page, with specific coursework requirements on the following page.
Coursework is submitted in hard copy to the Postgraduate Office coursework lobby.
A standard report structure
1 Title page
? Your name
? Module code
? Word count
2 Contents list
? Full list of sections (including appendices, reference or bibliographic lists)
? Page number on which each section begins
3 Summary/ Executive Summary
? It should be in the third person and present tense, e.g. 'This report makes recommendations as to how the organisation should determine its weighted average cost of capital.' Consider presenting your conclusions and/ or the outcomes of your analysis
here. Be succinct.
1,2 and 3 above are not included in the word count.
? This should give a succinct explanation of the aims, scope and context of the report, and should include brief details of any information necessary for the reader to understand it
5 Main body of the report
? The main account of the case or organisation you are writing about.
? It should be based on analysis
, not unsupported opinion, e.g. avoid writing 'I feel ...'
? You must back up what you write with evidence and/or argument. This means you must substantiate each assertion you make with evidence (e.g. extracts from appendices), or by reference to concepts and models in the course.
? You must support opinions with specific examples/evidence, or by building a logical argument based on previously cited examples/evidence.
? Headings for each sub-section should be underlined or in bold.
? Consider presenting material in the form of diagrams, charts, etc., wherever appropriate. These may be easier to grasp, and can break up the monotony of the printed word.
? It can add clarity to present your conclusions in the form of a bullet list.
7 List of references and bibliography
? This is the list of sources referred to in preparing your report. If you have mentioned a writer or a book you must give full details here.
? You should also list details of any books or other sources you have consulted in preparing your report which you think would be useful for your reader to know about or be able to consult.
? Such literature citations should be made in a uniform style and follow the Harvard system, with the name and date of publication in your text and an alphabetical list of references at the end of the assignment, thus:
- in the text: (Brealey and Myers, 1996)
- at the end of the assignment: Brealey, R. A. and Myers, S. C. (1994) Principles of Corporate Finance (McGraw -Hill, 5th edn).
? These are for information whose inclusion is not central to the main body of the report but which explains, amplifies or puts in context the arguments and evidence you have presented.
? Their main purpose is to allow you to include important information, which if it were included in the main body of the report, would interrupt the flow of the argument.
? Any material in an appendix does not count towards the word length, nor will it attract any marks. You should not, therefore, load your appendices with material central to your argument in order to subvert the word count.
? Examples of material suitable for an appendix include sets of complex figures or statistics, or supporting documents (e.g. extracts from company reports).
READING AND RESOURCES
Collier, P. M., (2009) Accounting for Managers: interpreting accounting information for decision-
making, 3rd Edition John Wiley and Sons Ltd (recommended text)
Parker, R. H. (2007) Understanding Company Financial
Statements, London, Penguin Business
Weetman P. (2006) Financial
and Management Accounting: An Introduction, London, FT Prentice Hall
Dyson JR (2007) Accounting for Non-Accounting Students, London, FT Prentice Hall
Perks R (2004) Financial
Accounting for Non-Specialists, London, McGraw Hill
Tennent, J (2008) Guide to Financial
Management (The Economist), London, Profile Books Ltd
Management Accounting Research
Journal of International Financial
Management and Accounting
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