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Feedback Method: Mixture of Formative and Summative Assessment Feedback. Students receive comments on their ability to link theory into practice in terms of applying and interpreting “financial ratio analysis” to selected companies.
This coursework contributes to 40% of the overall mark for the module. The coursework will be undertaken as a group work with a reflective piece that is produced individually by each member of the group. Students will be required to use financial ratio analysis to assess the recent financial performance of a major UK company from the FTSE350 Index against its closest competitor.
The assignment has two parts:
Part 1 - A group report which accounts for 90% of the total marks for this assessment. The word limit for this report excluding calculations and appendixes is 2,000 words (+/- 10%). Ignoring the word limit will incur a mark reduction. For this report, you should use the ratios you have calculated to discuss the financial performance of the company in relation to one of its competitors. Also, ideally, you should compare, as far as possible, the financial performance of your company to the industry benchmarks.
Part 2 - An individual reflective piece which accounts for 10% of the total marks for this assessment. This part should be done individually be each member of the group. In this piece which should be around 200 words (+/- 10%), you should highlight the benefits of undertaking this group assignment in terms of applying for a postgraduate job. You should particularly focus on the skills that you have acquired and developed whilst carrying out this assignment. Such skills include, but not limited to, researching a company, collecting and analysing relevant and up-to-date data, time management, working in cross cultural teams, conflict resolution and presenting information, and not forgetting working almost entirely on-line (a situation which is likely to become more commonplace in future) in a plausible manner.
Please note that this is not a company valuation exercise and as such you will not be able to, and consequently you should not, give advice on whether it is a good investment opportunity.
Assume you are a current/potential investor in the company you have been allocated by the module leader.
You are required to use the company’s 2020 Annual Report and Financial Accounts to calculate the relevant financial ratios and make comparisons with the financial performance of one other company in the same industry sector that is as close as possible to your company in terms of size and nature of operation (You will never find a perfect match; so, don’t look for it!).
The competitor company does not have to be from the London stock exchange although it will make the comparison easier if it were. Choosing a competitor company from another country where the accounts are in a different currency should not cause any problem since ratios are expressed as percentages and as such currency becomes irrelevant.
Given that the latest Annual Report and Financial Accounts of any company is almost out of date by the time it is published, you will be expected to show knowledge of the present and likely future economic & business environment within which these companies operate in order to make informed comments on the financial ratios that you calculate.
You need to calculate a comprehensive set of ratios for two years for your allocated company, and for the company you have selected as your competitor for comparative purposes. Anything fewer than 30 ratios (including segmental analysis) per company per year will not be enough!). Do not overlook the importance of including Segmental Analysis in your assignment (You can normally find a substantial amount of segmental information in the annual report and financial accounts of a public company).
The calculations of your ratios should be in an Excel file which MUST be submitted with your written assignment. You are not required to, and you should not submit any of the pages of the Annual Report and Financial Accounts of your two companies with your written assignment. Your Excel sheets (one for each company) should be copied and pasted into the main report which should be either in MS Word or pdf format. Please use font Arial size 12 throughout.
The following criteria will be used in assessing this coursework:
The marks awarded for this assignment will be:
Quantity, relevance and accuracy of the financial ratios calculated – 50%. Analysis of the ratios calculate - 40% Quality of the individual reflective report – 10%
In marking your assignment, note will also be taken of your:-
Writing ability - power of expression; clarity of language and analytical logic; originality and effectiveness of structure and presentation
Analytical and problem-solving skills
Depth of analysis and extent of understanding of the analytical techniques used; breadth of knowledge demonstrated; the relevance and practicability of the analysis made and the extent to which they relate theory to practice.
The ability to secure and examine relevant and up-to-date information about the companies and the relevant industry.
You will find www.uk.yahoo.com/finance ; www.bloomberg.co.uk ; www.lse.co.uk as useful sites for this coursework, as is www.ft.com. There are many other financial websites which contain useful information and you are encouraged to find these sites for yourselves.
To find another company in the same sector, you need to access the UK Industry Sector Index website http://www.lse.co.uk/uk-sectors.asp. From the list of sector constituents, choose a company which matches as closely as possible in terms of its size and operation to the company you have been assigned.
The latest financial statements of a company can be found on the company’s website.
The rules on late submission and plagiarism are applied and fully enforced by the School.
Submission of Coursework
Unless explicitly stated otherwise in writing by the module leader, the coursework on this module must only be submitted via Blackboard. It will automatically be scanned through a text matching system designed to check for possible plagiarism. Please DO NOT submit more than once since any subsequent submission after the first submission will show a near 100% match causing plagiarism alert!
YOU MUST include the names and student ID numbers of all group members on the first page of your assignment.
To submit your assignment:
Log on to Blackboard at http://learning.westminster.ac.uk; Go to the relevant module Blackboard site; Click on the Assessment tab Click on the ‘Submit Group Coursework’ link Follow the instructions.
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