Recent Question/Assignment

Accounting and Finance for Decision Makers
Unit leader: Dr. Syamarlah Rasaratnam
Referral Assessment (capped to 40%)
Date due: Friday 17th April 2015
Viva: Monday 20th April 2015
Please email the unit leader if you have any extenuating circumstances
Word limit: 2500-3000
Assignment One
The first assignment is an individual work of a critical analysis of the annual financial report of an organisation in the public, private or voluntary sector, including identifying relevant issues and making provisional recommendations, and accompanied by an individual report.
You are encouraged to draw on a variety of presentation techniques such as tables, graphs, pictures as appropriate and relevant.
The assignment will consist of two parts: the viva and an individual report. 20% of your grade will be awarded for the viva and remaining 80% will be given for the individual report.
The viva will be assessed according to the extent to which you have demonstrated a sound grasp of the significance of the accounts you have analysed and your ability to highlight the most important and relevant in formation and present it clearly.
The overall assessment criteria will include the extent to which you have demonstrated the ability to analyse abstract data and your ability to critically assess gaps, and contradictions and evaluate their significance with confidence.
The written report
You will need to submit an individual report after your viva. Approximately half of the report should consist of additional information to support the viva. This could include more detail to support your analysis, your recommendations and any other commentary that is relevant to add substance to your analysis of the accounts.
The remaining (reflective report) of your report should focus on what you have learned through carrying out this exercise. You should write about the financial skills that you have developed and explain how you have developed your understanding of accounting practices. You should also include your evaluation of the presentation itself. How convincing and persuasive do you think it was? Did it achieve its objective? Would you have made your case well if this had been a real situation? You should also include your observations about what you have learned about working with your team member in putting the presentation together.
For your report / VIVA you should relay your argument with the annual report that has been delivered to you in the class. Do NOT change your company or exchange with others.

You are required to present your report in the following manner:
1. Executive summary
2. Index of table
3. Introduction
4. Background to the company
5. Financial Analysis (including comments of the 4 Financial Statements and 5 categories of Ratio Analysis). In addition you may include your perception of any accounting adjustments (pre-payment, accruals, depreciation & bad debts).
6. Evaluation of the company- your prediction for the future (2015-2016).
7. Reflective report
8. Conclusion and Recommendations
9. References
10. Appendix (show all your workings & snap shots of the current financial statements 2012 - 2013)
The Viva
Your viva should be based around the following scenario. You have reviewed the Financial Statements of an organisation in a business capacity. As managers in your organisation you then have 10-15 minutes to convince the managers in a management team meeting. In it you need to summarise the work you have done and state your recommendations. Remember it is not only the recommendation that is important but also explaining the criteria you chose and how you reached your conclusions.
You need to choose what specific role you are playing.
1. You might be considering doing business with this organisation as a supplier, and if so, then your objective would be to recommend whether they should be a supplier. OR
2. You might be the finance officer of a small charity, presenting your accounts to a grant awarding body. OR
3. You might be working for a local authority, deciding on the viability of a service that is currently running a deficit.
These are just some suggestions. It is for you to decide the focus of the presentation, and you can choose any role that will help you to do that. But once you have decided the roles (capacities) then you need to decide on the key information and analysis that need from the financial reports (different information will be relevant depending on the organisations and roles your have chosen), but it should fully support your objective.
You will also be required to prepare a hand out to compliment your VIVA, which will be given out to your colleagues at the meeting. You may present as in PAIR for VIVA
Marking Criteria - Report
The Report (80% of total Assessment mark)
Area Description Weighting

Business Report 70 % (total)
Presentation of the report Should have a business format with a clear structure, objectives and conclusion and include proper referencing
Data gathering, information used Details and organisation of the information used
Depth of Analysis Analysis methods used and considered
Linkage of information to objectives and conclusion Appropriateness of Analysis to the objectives.
Clear and well thought out objectives and conclusion
Reflective Report 10% (total)
Presentation of the report Quality of writing, structure, presentation and referencing
Financial Skills Developed Identification and explanation of relevant and useful skills developed.
Reflection on the Presentation Identification of critical questions about the experience, which will inform your development
Recommendations for your personal development Shows a logical and creative approach to deriving conclusions and recommendations for your development

Marking Criteria – VIVA
Viva (20% of total Assessment mark)
Area Description Weighting
Presentation Skills 5%

Delivery Pace, tone and eye contact etc
Organisation Good organisation and changeover between team member
Structure Clear presentation structure (introduction, objective, recommendations)
Keeping to Time
Appropriate support materials Use of support materials, audio visuals etc.
Question Handling
Hand-out 5%

Clarity Clear and easy to read layout
Content Information that adds to the content of the presentation
Oral Presentation 10%

Objective Clear Objective that meets the assessment brief and the context of the presentation
Information Analysed This should be clear, and link to your objective.
Recommendations This should be clear, and link to your objective and the information analysed
Tailored for Audience Use of appropriate language for the audience (assume managers have a mix of finance skills)
PS.
Any queries with regard to your assessment you must upload in the FAQ session please DO NOT email.

Assessment Criteria (capped to 40%)
An excellent pass: In addition to the criteria for a good pass (below), an excellent essay will demonstrate:
• comprehensive and accurate coverage of the area;
• critical, balanced and well-informed evaluation;
• clarity of argument and expression;
• the introduction of new ideas, creativity, and independent thought;
• transfer and integration of models, ideas and information from a range of sources;
• depth of insight into theoretical issues;
• originality of exposition or treatment.
A good pass: A good pass essay will:
• be generally accurate and well-informed;
• show some evidence of a wide range of reading utilising primary sources;
• show clear understanding of the material;
• show an ability to evaluate the material, although this may be derivative;
• demonstrate the ability to analyse;
• be reasonably comprehensive;
• directly address the question;
• be clearly presented in a concise manner;
• be well organised and logically structured ;
A clear pass: A clear pass essay may demonstrate:
• generally sound work but with a number of notable errors or omissions;
• general accuracy, although with some omissions and errors;
• an adequate answer to the question, although with less evidence of wide-ranging reading;
• a strong answer to a related question, but not the one set;
• only limited development of arguments;
• only limited analysis and interpretation of presented material;
• clear presentation.
A bare pass: A bare pass is likely to include a number of significant errors and/or omissions. A bare pass essay may:
• fail to answer the question directly;
• miss key points of information;
• contain important inaccuracies;
• show only sparse coverage and analysis of relevant material;
• fail to support arguments with adequate evidence/meaning unclear.
A marginal fail: This is unsatisfactory work with serious errors or omissions. Specifically it may:
• contain very little appropriate material;
• show some evidence of relevant reading but provide only cursory coverage with numerous errors, omissions or irrelevancies;
• be disorganised;
• contain much inappropriate material;
• lack any real argument.
A clear fail: Work of a very poor standard with little relevant information constitutes an F (2) fail and “nothing of merit” constitutes a G (0). A clear fail essay is likely to:
• show a profound misunderstanding of basic material;
• show a complete failure to understand the question or anything related to it;
• provide totally inadequate information;
• be an incoherent or inappropriate submission.