7AG516 Strategic and Financial Performance Management

Coursework 1

Individual coursework – financial accounting – application of interpretation techniques and critical analysis for the purpose of analysing the financial position of a company.

Weighting:  50 %

Word limit: 2,000 words (plus or minus 10%). A 5% penalty will be applied for breaches of this range.

Assesses Learning Outcomes: 1 and 2.

1.      Critically analyse financial data and interpret information, evaluating timeliness, relevance and validity;

2.      Critically evaluate the wider role of fundamental analysis within the context of corporate performance;

In this assignment you are being asked to analyse and evaluate the financial position of a company, using both financial and strategic tools.


Taking three years’ of the published accounts (i.e. income statement, statement of financial position (balance sheet) and cash flow statement) of a chosen company (which may either be the one you work for or a listed company):

  • Provide an introduction to your company; for example, industry sector, size, competition: you should choose the salient information which you think presents the company to a potential investor who has not heard of the company before.
  • Present an analysis of the current situation of the firm, including its industry. You can use any tools, such as SWOT analysis, PESTLE, Porter’s Five Forces or similar to help construct your analysis.
  • Calculate at least two financial ratios from each of the following sections used in class:
  • Profitability
  • Efficiency
  • Liquidity
  • Investment

If you wish to calculate more than two ratios from a section, this should be to further illustrate a trend which you believe is of interest. Therefore any additional ratios will be given additional credit ONLY if you can demonstrate the relevance to your analysis.

You should show your workings in the appendices (not part of your word count) and use tables or graphs to present your data in the main body of your report.

  • Discuss the financial performance, position and potential of the company within the context of its industry, environment and economy. It is critical that you analyse and discuss, not describe the financial performance. In other words, it is not sufficient to state that the profit has increased or decreased over the period, but you need to find out WHY it has (or suggest a sensible explanation as to why). You can read the management reports in the annual reports, analyst websites etc., for the background on this.
  • You should conclude with a discussion of whether you would recommend that an investor invests in your chosen company and why.

There is no requirement to provide an executive summary.

All sources of information used must be reported according to the Harvard referencing system.

Evaluation criteria 

This is a guideline for the relative weighting of elements of the assessment and below is the marking rubric used in this assignment:

Introduction and initial analysis of company and industry25%
Calculation of appropriate ratios including workings15%
Financial evaluation of the company35%
Conclusion and recommendation15%
Format and presentation, including referencing10%
 Outstanding 90-100%Excellent 70-90%Very good 60-69%Good/satisfactory 50-59%Unsatisfactory (40-49%)Very poor (5-39%)
Intro. Indust 25% Introduction and initial analysis of company and industryOutstanding introduction to work Strong appreciation of industry and company’s place within it, all excellently referencedExcellent introduction to work Excellent presentation of the company and industry, including referenced sourcesVery good introduction to work Very good presentation of the company and industry, including referenced sourcesAdequate introduction to work Adequate presentation of the company and industry with some referencing of sourcesLimited introduction to work Limited description of the industry and company, with little referencingNo introduction to work No or poor description of the company and its industry, with no or poor referencing
Ratios 15% Calculation of appropriate ratios including workingsOutstanding, extensive and appropriate choice of ratios, with clear workingsExcellent and appropriate choice of ratios, with clear workingsVery good choice of ratios and workingsReasonable choice of ratios and workingsLimited choice of ratios and workingsVery poor choice of ratios and workings
Evaluation 35% Financial evaluation of the companyOutstanding evaluation, critical analysis, incisive original thinking, commendable originality, well researched Outstanding coherence and logic Trivial errors onlyExcellent evaluation, very strong critical analysis, with minor errors only. Good clearly expressed ideas and reasoning, supported by good research Excellent logic Very minor errors onlyVery good evaluation, some very good critical analysis, with a few minor errors of understanding Very good ideas and explanations, with some evidenced research. Very good sense of coherence and logicA good standard, a fairly good level of critical analysis and evaluation Some evidence of original thinking or originality, Quite well researched Some evidence of misunderstandingsAn unsatisfactory standard, little critical analysis and evaluation Little evidence of original thinking or originality Not well researched Ideas unclear and incoherent Some significant understandings and errorsWell below the pass standard A poor critical analysis and evaluation No evidence of originality Poorly researched Ideas confused and incoherent Some serious errors and misunderstandings
Conc & rec 15% Conclusion and recommendationAll concepts and material fully relevant to the analysis and recommendations including materials sourced from independent researchAll chosen ideas are relevant to the answer Answers the question fully covering all key concepts No evidence of ‘padding’ with irrelevant informationUses some relevant ideas Chooses appropriate concepts and makes an attempt to answer the question Information is mostly relevant to the question Only minor missing elements Minimal ‘padding’ with irrelevant informationSome effort to answer the question Some missing, weak or irrelevant elements Links to answer are unclear in places May ‘pad’ with irrelevant informationKey elements of the question remain unanswered/underdeveloped Confused choice of concepts to answer the question Important concepts may be difficult to pick outLargely irrelevant ideas Does not answer the question that was asked Covers concepts which are not relevant to the answer.
Format, pres. 10% Format and presentation, including referencingOutstanding, sophisticated written communication No significant areas for further developmentLogical organisation and flow of ideas Error free written communication Precise Harvard Referencing An enjoyable readLargely well-structured answer Only minor spelling/grammatical errors Good grasp of Harvard Referencing Mainly easy to read and followSome spelling/grammatical errors but do not significantly interfere with understanding Some attempt to Harvard Reference Difficult to read and follow in placesRepeated spelling/grammatical issues Weak Referencing skills Difficult to read and followVery difficult to read and follow Extensive problems with written presentation No or incorrect referencing and/or high levels of plagiarism


  • Submission to Turnitin (UDo):              11th April 2021 at 23:59 hours (one minute to midnight UK time)

Any extenuating circumstances which may impact on your ability to submit this assignment on time must be processed through the university’s EEC policy. There can be no exceptions to this rule.

You will receive feedback within three weeks of the submission of your work.


The following guidelines indicate the standard of work required:

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