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Students are required to apply appropriate accounting/finance techniques to evaluate the financial performance of a company/busine

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Students are required to apply appropriate accounting/finance techniques to evaluate the financial performance of a company/business sector of their own choice.

1. Module introduction and objectives

Students are required to apply appropriate accounting/finance techniques to evaluate the financial performance of a company/business sector of their own choice. Analysis about the company/business sector’s accounting practices and financial performance is then drawn together and presented in a report format.

2. Intended subject specific learning outcomes

By the end of this module you should be able to:

          i.          Identify an appropriate Accounting/Finance topic on which to write the report

         ii.          Identify and apply appropriate tools and techniques to support the report

        iii.          Produce a report in the required format that integrates and communicates knowledge gained from the MSc International Accounting & Finance programme

       iv.          Have gained a deeper understanding of and competency in their individual project domains

3. Intended generic learning outcomes

By the end of this module you should be able to demonstrate:

          i.          Critical thinking

         ii.          Ability to select, organise, develop and synthesis complex material

        iii.          Problem solving

        iv.          Ability to plan, work and study independently

         v.          Competence in numeracy and quantitative skills including the use of models of finance; qualitative research skills

        vi.          Ability to conduct research into accounting and management issues

       vii.          Ability to identify, find, record, organise and manipulate and communicate knowledge relevant to the evaluation of the financial performance and management of organisations


1. General

This module requires students to submit an 8000 to 10000 word business report containing analysis of the financial performance of the company/business sector that they have chosen.



Subject Los

Generic LOs

Business report – 8000 to 11000 Words


3.i – 3. Iv

4.i – 4. vii

2. Writing the report

Choosing the theme for your report

This guide explains aspects of identifying the theme (i.e. topics or issues that you would like to analyse for your chosen company/business sector) common to all students. Detailed matters should form the subject of discussion and agreement between you and your supervisor. It is your responsibility to identify suitable topics.

The Topic Selection Process

In general, deciding what you would like to analyse is an iterative process. It is likely that your initial ideas will require refinement to ensure that a business report of MSc standard can be produced within the resources and time available for its preparation. It is important that you choose a company/business sector that really interests you. It is also crucial that your chosen company/business sector has some interesting issues that you would like to evaluate. You should try to relate those issues to accounting/finance techniques/theories that you have learnt in the taught modules. You should then link these topics in a coherent manner so that there is a clear theme to your business report.

For example, you may want to evaluate the impact of a company’s adoption of international accounting standards upon its share price. You therefore need to carry out a preliminary search (perhaps by electronic means) to ensure that you have some good knowledge about the company. This will also ensure that you have the ability to address the topics you would like to investigate and that you will be able to collect relevant data.

Research topic selection should be completed when you submit your business report proposal in March. You should try to refine your research objective/questions when you start your business report.

Timetable for the business report

The timetable for the business report must be strictly adhered to. Extensions will not be granted without good cause. 

Your responsibilities for the report and the role of your supervisor

Note that you are responsible for the necessary research, content and writing of your report. The role of your supervisor is to provide guidance on the way you carry out the business report process. Moreover, the period from 1 May 2017 until 31 July 2017 is when students are expected to work on their report closely with their supervisors. 31 July 2017 is the recommended albeit not compulsory deadline for submission of business reports first drafts.

MSc Business report Timetable 2016-2017


Due Date/Period

Students commence full time work on business report under guidance of their own supervisor        

1 May 2016 –  31 July 2017

Students submit at least 3 chapters or entire business report to supervisor        

15 July 2017

Students submit their report

21 August 2017

The schedule given above is intended to ensure that your business report can be submitted by 21 August 2017 and be marked in time for the Examination Board in late 2017. If you have been successful in the taught programme and have submitted a satisfactory business report, you will then be notified that you have passed the MSc degree late in 2017.

Please note:

If you do not submit your business report by 21 August 2017 and you have not had an extension authorised by the MSc Programme Director, your business report will be deemed to have failed. Your business report, when eventually submitted, will be treated as a resubmission and you will be advised of the deadline for the resubmission. You will not be permitted a further resubmission if your business report does not pass.

Working with a supervisor

You and your supervisor each have distinct responsibilities in respect of each of the phases of business report preparation. However, it should be recognised from the outset that you carry ultimate responsibility for the identification of the topic, conduct of the project and preparation and submission of the business report. The role of the personal supervisor is limited to that of providing guidance, within the timeframes set out in the timetables above, on the process by which you address these; in particular, the supervisor is not responsible for the "quality" of the final report.

It is your responsibility to plan your work schedule for the report and to arrange meetings with your supervisor. Since supervisors have many other calls on their time, it is important to organise meetings well in advance and to agree a time that is convenient to the supervisor. You must stick to the schedule; in particular, deliver drafts in good time so that your supervisor can read them and attend all scheduled meetings. Supervisors are expected to provide four meetings to each of their supervisees.

Students are advised to submit a draft of the first three chapters t by 15 July 2017. Their supervisor will provide feedback on these chapters depending on their availability.

Completing the business report

During this phase, you carry out the research and prepare draft chapters, etc. You will also receive guidance from your supervisor on the draft chapters that you submit.

Business report structure

The business report should follow the following structure:

  1. Title page (including word count to nearest thousand words)
  2. Acknowledgements (if any)
  3. Table of Contents and List of Illustrations
  4. Executive Summary (approximately half a page)
  5. Chapters are recommended to be structured as follows

Chapter 1 Introduction, containing:

(i)        A clear statement in the opening paragraph of the objectives of the business report

(ii)       A restatement of the title as an issue/problem;

(iii)      Issues/topics that you would like to analyse for your chosen company/business sector.

(iv)      A summary of the accounting/finance techniques employed

(v)       A brief outline of subsequent chapters (Reader Map).

Chapter 2 Review of the background of your chosen company/business sector. You should identify and discuss topics or issues that you would like to investigate and justify why they are worth analysing.

Chapter 3 Research Methods. You should explain which accounting/finance techniques you would like to adopt in order to address the issues identified. You should explain what data you would collect and how they are to be collected and analysed.

Chapter 4 Analysis of your empirical data derived from your application of the chosen techniques.

Chapter 5 Conclusions (and Recommendations). You should reflect on your discussion to reach your conclusions. You should also identify the limitations of your research.

The chapters are recommended. You may discuss with your supervisor if changes are needed.

  1. Appendices
  2. List of References

Submission of your business report

Please note the following arrangements for the submission of business report:

(i)     Both a paper copy and an electronic copy of your business report must be submitted by the due date.

(ii)    The paper copy of the business report, which is required for examination purposes, must be submitted to KBS Student Office before 14.00 on the due date.

(iii)  A receipt for the paper copy of the business report must be obtained.

(iv)  The paper copy business report should be accompanied by a signed Business Report Submission Form (next page).

(v)    The electronic copy of the business report, which is required to enable business reports to be checked to ensure that they do not contain plagiarised material.

UKC Regulations for business reports

There are two main sets of University regulations, which govern the submission of business reports:

(i) Regulations for the Degree of Master by Coursework and by Coursework and business report

(ii) Instructions to Candidates for Examination for the Degree of Master by Coursework and business report or for a Postgraduate Diploma.

MSc Business report Submission Form


I certify that, except where I have explicitly acknowledged the work of others using the Harvard Convention, this business report is entirely my own work.

Signature:                                                                             Date:

Name:                                                                                    M.Sc Finance Suite

The Text of the Business report

The following rules apply:

  • The texts of business reports should be typewritten or printed on one side of A4 paper of good quality. Each page should have a margin of at least 40mm on the binding edge (the left hand side normally) and of at least 15mm on other margins. The main typeface must be at least 12pt and small characters (such as subscripts and superscripts) should be at least 7pt. Single line spacing should be used. The business report should be printed to letterpress quality, i.e. that produced by a laser printer or high quality inkjet printer.
  • The presentation of your report must be of acceptable quality (see Marking Descriptors below).
  • You are required to submit two copies of the business report, both of which should be secured in a soft-backed folder with the pages held firmly together. Each copy must show on the cover your name, the title of the business report, the name of the degree for which the business report is submitted and the year of submission.
  • The same information should appear on a title page inside the business report which should also show the number of words in the business report (to the nearest thousand).
  • Both copies of the business report must be clearly legible and properly corrected after proof reading. Each copy must be complete, containing all necessary maps, photographs, diagrams etc.

Deposit of business reports In the UKC library

If your business report is of distinction standard, a copy of your business report may be deposited in the University Library and the University may retain a second copy for use in the way prescribed by Faculty Board. You will be asked at the time of submission whether you will permit general access to the business report at the discretion of the University Librarian.

How Business reports are assessed

Each business report is assessed by your supervisor. In some cases, an appropriate external examiner then considers the business report and the internal examiner’s recommendation. The decision of the examiners is then communicated to the candidate.

The examiner will make a recommendation about whether the business report is of pass or distinction standard. If they are not satisfied with the business report, they may fail it, generally with the opportunity to revise and resubmit the business report on one further occasion.

The Level Descriptors by which business reports are assessed and the percentage of marks allotted to each are based on KBS’s categorical marking scheme. The pass mark for the MSc business report is 50% but the business report mark is arrived at by a complex algorithm. Similarly, the minimum mark for a merit is 60% and for a distinction is 70%.


If the business report does not achieve a pass you will be required to resubmit it. Assuming that the resubmitted business report reaches the required standard, resubmission will delay the award of your MSc by several months.

Clearly resubmission is best avoided. It is, therefore, essential that you ensure that your business report does not fall into this group. Some other common reasons are:

  • Failure to use appropriate accounting/finance techniques in field of Accounting and Finance, or technique use at an inappropriate level.
  • Inadequate citation of references and/or too few or poor quality references.
  • Little or no use of appropriate academic literature.
  • Use of ideas from only one or two MSc modules.
  • Neglect of discussion of obviously relevant areas.
  • Poor structure with chapters or parts of chapters not following in a logical order.
  • Little or no analysis of data, which are merely described.
  • Lack of evidence to support claims or assertions made in the business report.
  • Lack of critical analysis of the data/evidence.
  • English that is so poor as to be incomprehensible.
  • Lack of consultation with the supervisor.
  • Submission of the business report without the supervisor having read and commented on a draft of the complete business report.

And, most importantly of all:

  • These Guidelines have not been followed.

Key Questions to Ask Yourself about your Business report

There are some key questions you should ask yourself about the structure, style and content of your business report. These are:

  • Have I clearly, and briefly, stated the objectives of the business report on the first page of the first chapter (Introduction) of the business report?
  • Have I provided the reader with a reader map (i.e. a brief description of what each chapter of the business report covers) in the first chapter?
  • Have I tackled the topic covered by the title? Have I left out important themes and material? Have I included material that is not relevant?
  • Have I structured my business report so that the material is coherently organised and builds an argument in a logical way?
  • Have I shown the ability to collect data of sufficient size and quality to produce useful analyses?
  • Have I given references whenever appropriate? Are there points at which I have failed to deal with the question "How do we know that?"? (Another common failing of Master’s business reports is uncritical use of assertions in newspaper articles or in websites that have no obvious standing or authority).
  • Do my citations and my list of references conform to the standards given in these Guidelines?
  • Are my conclusions a good summary of the findings of my business report? Are they well supported by the evidence I have used and my discussion of that evidence? Do they relate to the objectives stated for the business report at the outset?
  • Have I checked spellings and grammar? Have I conveyed my ideas clearly in English? Is the presentation of the business report of good quality?
  • Does the title accurately reflect the contents of my business report?
  • Would some one attracted by the title of my business report find its contents and conclusions useful?
  • Is the abstract an accurate summary of the entire business report (a common failing is to use the abstract as a surrogate Introduction)? Have I ensured that the abstract does not contain any ideas that do not occur in the main text?

Personal Development

By the end of this module, you will have developed:

  • Independent thinking
  • Analytical skills
  • Time management
  • Communication skills


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