Accounting for Management M 5011 (Problem solving and analysis)
Problem solving and analysis
Learning Objectives addressed in this assessment:
CO1: Apply basic accounting principles and concepts in order to understand what accounting information is, what it means and how it is used;
CO2: Explain the significance of accounting information in the business environment; CO3: Read and interpret financial reports and apply knowledge to critically analyse corporate financial and non-financial information.
Graduate Qualities developed by this assessment:
GQ1: You need to operate effectively upon fundamental accounting practical knowledge;
GQ2: You are prepared for lifelong learning and professional practice;
GQ3: You are working to be an effective business-related problem solver;
GQ4: You can work autonomously and independently;
GQ5: You are committed to ethical action & social responsibility for business activities; GQ6: You can communicate effectively in written language.
This assignment can be completed individually or in a team of no more than 2 students.
You have recently joined Business Smart, a finance and business consultation firm. Your manager Mr. James Brown will be taking family leave. He has asked you to prepare a consultation report for an important client, Company A, before he returns on 24 April 2020.
Company A is an energy company utilising national and global resources to provide a variety of energy solutions. It has recently announced the appointment of a new Chief Executive Officer (CEO). Before the arrival of the new CEO, Company A decides to conduct a comprehensive review of the company’s financial performance and risk in the past three years, and in particular, to better understand how its financial performance is benchmarked against other rivals with similar profiles in the Energy sector. Company A considers this review very important and timely in assisting the incoming CEO to set out new plans for its future performance development.
In addition, the Energy sector has been increasingly scrutinised for its carbon emissions and energy consumption. Investors and shareholders constantly query about Company A’s environmental risks and potential financial implications associated with these risks. As a response, several board members proposed to increase and improve the company’s reporting on environmental challenges as well as strategies for carbon reduction at recent board meetings. However, a few board members disagreed because they were concerned about the cost and risk associated with lifting such reporting. Given the economic downturn and the uncertainty of national energy policy at the moment, they argued that the company should focus on the main business areas and earning profit. The issue is pending for the new CEO to resolve.
1. Select Company A and a benchmarking company for analysis. You need to choose two companies from the list of Selected ASX Listed Energy Companies provided as a separate file under Assignment on the course website.
(1) The name of the company selected as Company A should begin with the same letter of the alphabet as your surname, e.g. if your surname is Alpha, you can use Abilene Oil and Gas Limited or ADX Energy Ltd.
(2) The name of the company selected as the benchmarking company should begin with the same letter of the alphabet as your first name, e.g. if your first name is Beta, you can use Bass Oil Limited or Blue Energy Limited.
Note: If you cannot find an appropriate company to analyse, you may randomly select a company from the list. However, you will need to clearly justify the reason for such selection in your assignment.
2. Go to the company information database DatAnalysis Premium via the UniSA Library website. Under Company Reports, search for the companies you have selected according to their ASX Codes or part of the companies’ names. Go to Financial Data to review these companies’ financial statements for the financial years from 2017 to 2019 (if 2019 data are not available, use data from 2016 to 2018).
3. Based on available data, calculate the appropriate financial ratios of Company A and the benchmarking company selected. Then analyse and compare the financial results of these two companies. Your comparative analysis and presentation should cover the following points:
(1) Which company is more profitable and generates healthier returns?
(2) How well are the two companies managing their resources? Do you think Company A is efficient in managing its assets compared with the benchmarking company?
(3) Can Company A meet its short-term debts? How is its liquidity compared with the benchmarking company?
(4) Do you think Company A will stay in operation in the long term? How is its long-term financial stability compared with the benchmarking company?
Your answer to each question should be supported by adequate evidence (i.e. financial statement data and ratio results) and analysis. You can also review the annual reports of the two companies in the last three years (Annual Reports are available to download in DatAnalysis Premium), and use the information disclosed in these reports to complement your answers. For example, whether there are issues of concern mentioned in the annual reports which can have an implication on Company A’s financial health and risks and how this might influence your comparative results.
4. Investigate whether the benchmarking company produces information about environmental issues such as environmental pollution and energy consumption in its annual report or standalone sustainability report. Do you think Company A should follow what the benchmarking company is doing? Do you support the view to increase environmental reporting on carbon reduction strategies in Company A, or do you think the company should focus on financial growth and gaining profit? Explain.
II. Submission Notes:
• Your consultation report must be presented in a clear format, including an introduction and conclusion, and with correct grammar, expression and in-text referencing. Read the Writing Reports Guide and Good and Bad Examples of writing on the course Learnonline website before submission.
• This assignment must be submitted online. Hard copies are not accepted.
• This assignment can be completed individually or in a pair of two students. If the assignment is completed by two students, only one student needs to make the assignment submission. The selection of companies can follow either student’s name in the group.
• Please submit one single Word Document only. Please do not attach the standard University assignment cover sheet. Instead, clearly indicate student name(s) and student ID(s) on the first page of the submission. This is to avoid high similarity of the assignment cover sheets reported in Turnitin.
• The word limit for this assignment is 2400 words (excluding references and appendices).
• Calculation of ratios must be presented in the assignment. But they should be presented in detail only in the Appendix, not in the main body of the text.
• You are required to use the Harvard Referencing style. The minimum number of references for this assignment is five (excluding the textbook and reference to annual reports). In professional business reports, the references used have to be based on proper academic sources (books, book chapters, journal articles, etc.). Internet sources such as Wikipedia or Investopedia, are deemed to be unacceptable. If you are not sure about the referencing style, please read the Referencing guide on the course Learnonline website.
• You may ask your lecturer/tutor for help while completing this assignment, but they will only answer general questions and will not ‘check’ students’ answers to the assignment. You may only discuss the assignment with other students at a general or conceptual level, that is, you may talk about the issues, not the details.
• You should not prepare your assignment together with other students or groups, nor should you compare your final answers with other students or groups. It is NOT acceptable to share files, templates, or electronic versions of assignment questions with other students or groups. To ensure Academic Integrity, all submissions will be checked through Turnitin databases which include online publications, internet resources and past student submissions.
• Remember, your assignment must be all your own work. If you present material that is not all your own work, you have engaged in academic dishonesty which is taken very seriously and dealt with very severely. Refer to the Academic Integrity section on the Learnonline course website.