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ACC2021 : Understanding Company Accounts

  • Offered for Year: 2020/21
  • Module Leader(s): Mrs Gill Holden
  • Lecturer: Mr Ben Dickson-Green, Mr Donald Halliday
  • Owning School: Newcastle University Business School
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 1 Credit Value: 10
Semester 2 Credit Value: 10
ECTS Credits: 10.0


- to enable students to appraise a company's financial condition and performance from its published accounts, paying particular attention to the context of its operating environment and accounting policy choices

- To develop project management skills

- To develop team working skills

- To develop report writing skills

- To develop presentational skills

- To develop computer literacy

Outline Of Syllabus

Analysis of the business environment, ratio analysis, report writing, working in teams, work on presentations.

A 6000 word project and presentation will be carried out in small groups of 4-6 students, analysing a set of company accounts.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion137:0037:00N/A
Structured Guided LearningLecture materials182:0036:00N/A
Structured Guided LearningStructured research and reading activities181:0018:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching61:006:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyStudent-led group activity1100:00100:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesModule talk11:001:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesModule talk11:001:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesModule talk11:001:00N/A
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Lectures will explain the aims, objectives, structure and operation of the module, students will be placed in teams and a different company will be allocated to each team. Lectures on team working, self reflection and on the analysis and interpretation of company accounts will provide a framework for understanding the following key indicators of financial performance:
1. level of growth
2. profitability, cost structure and impact of accounting policies;
3. cash generation and liquidity;
4. level of investment as a safeguard for future profitability;
5. structure of a company's finance.

In addition, guest lecturers may provide sessions on report writing, team working, and the FAME database. The FAME database, which contains the accounts of all UK listed companies as well as those of large private companies, allows students to obtain comparative data for individual companies or industry sectors. Students are expected to obtain relevant background information from the library, which is well-stocked with periodicals, Financial Times CD ROM database, industry/economic reports etc. All students have the opportunity to consult with supervising staff on a group basis throughout the module. Students are required to take the initiative to arrange team meetings, consultations with staff as required, and to play a full part in the work of the group. Team working, research and report writing skills are thus developed through the project as well as analytical and numerical skills.

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Report2M60Group project of 6000 words
Prof skill assessmnt2M2020 minute group presentation with 10 minutes for questions
Report2M20Multimedia self reflection (up to 5 minutes if video or up to 1500 words if written e.g blog, sway, poster)
Formative Assessments
Description Semester When Set Comment
Oral Presentation1MFormative presentations for academic and peer to peer feedback (up to 10 minutes)
Oral Presentation2MFormative presentations for academic and peer to peer feedback (up to 10 minutes)
Report1Mwritten report for formative feedback, academic and peer to peer feedback (up to two sides A4)
Report2MWritten report for formative feedback. Academic and peer to peer feedback (up to two sides A4)
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

Self and peer review will take place after the report and presentations, and individuals will receive the group mark adjusted according to self and peer review i.e. their own and their team members' assessment of each other's contributions to report and presentation. Each team is to keep a log of its meetings, which should be handed in with the project itself. The Module Leader retains the right to adjust individual marks where it is deemed necessary in the interests of fairness.

The group report, group presentation and multimedia self reflection test the students' knowledge and skills outcomes without exception.

Reading Lists