Financial Decision Making

This module aims to provide practical methods and approaches to enable business managers and entrepreneurs to understand and use financial information to make effective business decisions.  The financial decision-making process demands the understanding of key financial management issues, performance indicators and methodologies to critically analysing accounting and financial information. Strong financial literacy is essential in business.

The module also aims to introduce and examine the preparation and use of accounting and information to inform financial decisions. It provides the understanding of key performance indicators, cashflow management, full costing, working capital management techniques and the budgeting process to manage finances and support management decisions on investment projects and making capital investment decisions. The module concludes with a practice of developing business plan, capital investment decisions and aspects of financing businesses.

The module aims to enable students to be able to:
• ask insightful questions of their financial advisors, to challenge their analysis and to specify their financial information needs
• quickly assess accounting information to evaluate business performance
• create financial forecasts, plans and models, particularly in relation to business planning and investment appraisal.

Prior learning requirements



LO Addressed
1. Introduction to accounting and finance LO1
2. Measuring and reporting financial position LO1, 2
3. Understanding the income statement LO1, 2
4. Cashflow management LO1, 2,
5. Analysing and interpreting financial statements LO1, 2, 3
6. Managing Working Capital  LO1, 2
7. The relevance and behaviour of costs LO1, 2
8. Full costing LO1, 2
9. Budgeting LO1, 2
10. Creating a Business Plan LO2, 3
11. Making Capital Investment Decisions LO2, 3
12. Financing a business LO2, 3

Balance of independent study and scheduled teaching activity

The module is delivered in a weekly 3 hours workshop. During the weekly workshop session students will receive a brief and student-centred lecture followed by an interactive activity session. Throughout the 3-hour session blended learning will be supported using pre-designed materials and the simulation. The workshop session is designed in an interactive manner to effectively help the learning process and engage learners through a collaborative two-way-process.

Students receive in-house materials, which includes weekly lecture notes in the form of PPT presentations, scenario-based activities and research articles. They are expected to complete set tasks in workshops (in part) and some of the tasks will be left for the students to complete outside the formal contact hours. Use will be made of the Count FEFE accounting game to support learning.

The activity sessions are blended into the weekly tasks so students are using computer facilities (mainly for Excel package) to analyse financial statements and word processing to write their critical analysis in the form of a report. As this is a practice-oriented module, online and blended learning approaches are sought to facilitate communication, engagement in group work activities, independent learning and discussions.

Students will be required to access company data, such as financial statements, from various sources (FAME and other sources). Using manual calculations, analytic software and business/financial simulation software, they can access data, discuss and analyse financial positions, performances and future prospects to recommend possible improvement options and develop new business plans.

The business simulation requires students to compete in teams against each other in simulated industry covering 6-10 years of trading, with each simulation round representing one year. They will make a range of management decisions both financial and non-financial and receive their results in the form of accounting statements, staff feedback, and sales and marketing information.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module students will be able to:

LO1: Critically evaluate company financial performance and make recommendations for improvement;

LO2: Demonstrate an understanding and use of the appropriate analytical techniques to be applied to business case development and Investment appraisal; the raising of finance and the distribution of funds to investors;

LO3: Communicate financial information, analysis, issues and recommendations clearly and concisely.

Assessment strategy

Formative and summative assessment approaches will be used to assess students’ progress and learning. The class activities and formal assessment outcomes provide feedback to students on a regular basis. The feedback will also be used to improve the content and delivery of the module.

Formative assessments
This assessment strategy takes place during the workshop and interactive activities. It is implemented in the form of activities on preliminary financial analysis, evaluating simulation company performance and identifying problems, in-class discussions, weekly questions, short reflective writings and Q&A sessions. The outcome of the formative assessment provides immediate feedback to improve teaching and learning simultaneously.

Summative Assessment 1
In their simulation groups students will prepare a briefing based for their shareholders on the latest round of the simulation explaining their financial performance and position, and their plans for the future. (LO1, LO3)

Summative Assessment 2
Based on a case-study, students will prepare an investment appraisal of a business project or major sale. They will submit a presentation and supporting spreadsheet analysis (LO2, L03)