BM9401 - Business Analysis and Financial Decision Making

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What will I learn on this module?

The module aims to provide you with the knowledge and skills of applying a variety of quantitative analytical tools to support business decision making. The module is delivered to you using weekly lectures and IT workshops, the workshops principally concentrate of the development of your spreadsheet skills and interpretation of the analysis undertaken. Within this part of module, you will cover various topics:
• Index numbers
• Correlation and Regression;
• Time Series Analysis;
• Data Presentation
• Measures of Central Tendency and Dispersion

In this module, you will also learn how financial information can be used to assist managers and external user groups in their decision making processes. You will initially explore the motivations for entrepreneurial activity and techniques that can be used to appraise investment decisions. You will then examine how financial information can facilitate managers in making operational decisions in relation to planning and control. Finally, you will look at the informational needs of outside user groups, the nature of the information they are provided with, and how this information can be analysed and interpreted so as to enhance the effectiveness of their decision making.
Topic areas include:
• Investment appraisal techniques (payback, accounting rate of return, net present value and internal rate of return)
• Risk and uncertainty
• Cost and revenue behaviour
• Costing (full and variable costing, activity-based costing and whole life-cycle costing)
• Format and content of financial statements
• Analysis and interpretation of financial statements by means of ratio analysis

How will I learn on this module?

For the business analysis, the one-hour weekly lectures will provide you with a theoretical underpinning of the module content, supported by two-hour weekly IT workshops giving you an opportunity to practice the various analytical techniques, allowing you to build up a proficiency in the use of the Excel spreadsheet and the necessary skills of interpretation and communication.

For the financial decision making, you will learn through lectures and seminars, supported by tutor-directed study and independent learning. The lectures will use gapped handouts. These will introduce you to different types of financial information and will demonstrate by means of worked examples how this information can be used to make decisions. You will then be required to apply these methods by means of undertaking exercises in advance of your seminar. This will provide you with a means of formative assessment and feedback, by enabling you to determine your level of knowledge and understanding of a topic and ability to apply the techniques you have learnt.

Additional exercises housed will be located on the e-learning portal allowing you to undertake further practice independently. The module has a supporting reading list that provides you with an opportunity to see how the various decision making and analytical techniques are applied to further managerial and research-based problems to support your independent learning.

The solutions to the workshop/seminar activities will then be placed onto the module’s eLearning Portal (eLP) site for future reference. You will also be provided with supplementary questions in relation to each topic area to help you to consolidate your level of knowledge and understanding.

How will I be supported academically on this module?

Support will be provided to you by members of academic staff leading the module and providing the lecture inputs. A team of staff are allocated IT workshop and seminar groups of about 20 students, which provides a closer, more personal academic support. These groups are typically based on study programme cohorts, so you will be taught here alongside students from your particular degree.

Your module is supported by an e-learning portal, which houses lecture materials, IT workshops and seminar exercises and data files, alongside assessment details and various support facilities such as recordings of certain lectures and IT applications, alongside other electronic support facilities such as indicated above. You will be provided with a wide-ranging electronic reading list that comprises of various academic sources that showcase the application of various quantitative techniques presented in the module.

The quantitative half of the assessment consists of several inter-related tasks which will be distributed during the semester. This will encourage your active participation in the learning process throughout the semester. The eLearning portal will permanently host these tasks after release to ensure that you can access the information required at all times. Your work here is pre-work for a 2-hour open notes part of the examination at the end of the module.

The financial Decision Making half of the assessment consists of several independent tasks. Similar kind of case studies/exercises will be practiced in lectures and seminars throughout the semester. The copies of these case studies/exercises will be deposited in the eLearning portal to ensure your instantaneous access to the materials. The recurring practices of these case studies/ exercises are keys to success for the half of a 2-hour open notes part of the examination at the end of the semester.

Support includes tutor feedback from during your seminars, facilitated by the formative assessment activities. The seminars will provide you with an opportunity to ask any questions you may have.

What will I be expected to read on this module?

All modules at Northumbria include a range of reading materials that students are expected to engage with. The reading list for this module can be found at:
(Reading List service online guide for academic staff this containing contact details for the Reading List team –

What will I be expected to achieve?

Knowledge & Understanding:
1. Understand a variety of introductory statistical and financial techniques and their application to the analysis and interpretation of business data for a variety of organisational applications. (MLO1)
2. Understand and demonstrate the role of modelling and financial information as aids to decision making; through the selection of relevant analytical techniques to assist in the solution of business problems. (MLO2)

Intellectual / Professional skills & abilities:

Personal Values Attributes (Global / Cultural awareness, Ethics, Curiosity) (PVA):

How will I be assessed?

Assessment of the business analysis consists of several inter-related tasks which will be distributed throughout your teaching semester. This will encourage your active participation in the learning process. The eLearning portal will be used to permanently host these tasks after release to ensure that you can access the information required at all times. Your work on these tasks will provide you with further chance to practice the various areas of data analysis and modelling, as well as forming examination pre-work. Formative assessment activities will require you to complete exercises in advance of your IT workshops and seminars, in respect of which you will receive class-based feedback from your tutors on an on-going basis.

This examination, representing 100% of the module mark will be based on a set of short answer questions covering all of the tasks completed and will be in an open notes format for the business analysis and closed-book format for the financial decision making, comprising short and long form questions. Your examination will of 2-hour open duration and is equally weighted between the two module components. This will assess MLO1 and MLO2.

Feedback will be provided by means of tutor annotated comments on your script.





Module abstract

This module provides essential business and financial information skills supported through lectures, seminars and practical IT workshops which will greatly enhance your employability. You will work on a number of key techniques linked to which are IT applications, alongside numerical and problem solving skills that are preparing you for business practice. You will undertake various assessment tasks leading to a short answer examination which places emphasis on your findings and problem interpretation. These financial, statistical, practical IT and interpretative skills are directly transferable to your working life, through part-time employment, placement or a full-time graduate role. You will be able to handle and present basic business data, make business forecasts, evaluate individual projects by using investment appraisal techniques and make decisions in relation to planning and control for a business as a whole. You will also be able to assess business performance by analysing and interpreting their financial statements.

Course info

UCAS Code N1R1

Credits 20

Level of Study Undergraduate

Mode of Study 4 years with a placement (sandwich)/study abroad

Department Newcastle Business School

Location City Campus, Northumbria University

City Newcastle

Start September 2020

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