Analyze and critically evaluate the effectiveness of the system of audit and corporate governance

Analyze and critically evaluate the effectiveness of the system of audit and corporate governance


You should read this study guide carefully and also ensure that all the links have been followed to other accompanying documents that include, for example, information

on coursework submission.  Information in this study guide is maintained by  John Aston, email address, Room 202o , Direct line is 01895

265230.. email is the preferred method of contact or office hours which will be notified on Blackboard.

Policy statements

The Business School Student Handbook can be found on the Business School Blackboard Learn site (Academic Programme Office – APO).  The Student Handbook is a useful

source of information for all aspects of your studies, including policy, procedures, plagiarism, house style for assignments, group work submissions and other

important matters.  The School assumes that you will familiarise yourself with this information, so you will need to look at these pages carefully at various times

throughout your studies.  The School also operates within the rules and regulations of the University more generally, and you should also look at what are known as

‘Senate Regulations’ under the University’s webpages at:

These policies and procedures, and rules and regulations, are liable to change from one academic year to another.  You should therefore ensure that you make yourself

aware of these, as you cannot later claim a lack of knowledge on these matters.

Module detail

Module title    [ Financial Resources Management
Department/School    Brunel Business School
Credits    15
Level    PG
Module leader    John Aston
Other staff
For academic year    2014/15
Which term     Term 2
Contact and private study time    Lectures            [22  hours]
Labs/Seminars            [None]
Private Study            [128 hours]
Surgery hours available         [None )]
Total                [150 hours for 15 credits)
Office hours              [2  hours]
Assessment    Method            Proportion of marks

Coursework        100%
Examination        None
This module is to be taken as part of the following courses    MSc Management

Note that the details provided in this study guide are based on the formal Module Outline for this module which sets out the agreed content, learning outcomes,

assessment and teaching methods.  The details in this Module Outline have been formally agreed by Senate and, once published, will not change for the academic year in

question.  Module Outline documents for your programme of study can be found by looking at Course and Module Data held by Registry at  At the same location you will also find the formal scheme of

studies document for your degree course which sets out the modules that you must study in order to complete your degree.  The formal outline for modules is necessarily

brief, so you will find that this study guide will give you more detailed information.

Access to support material

The teaching, learning and support material is provided electronically via the University’s Blackboard Learn system.  You can gain access to the Blackboard Learn

system via the following webpage:


The aim of this module is to:

Understand the issues and challenges that confront managers responsible for financial management. The concepts topics and methodological approaches and tools relevant

to the analysis of the financial statements of the organisation and the development of financial strategies are evaluated and analysed.


Core reading list

This module is in part based around notions and/or material that can be found in the core text(s) listed below.  It is therefore likely that you will use, or refer to,

in your lecture/seminar sessions the notions and/or material in the books listed here.  You will likely be directed to study aspects of these texts in your out-of-

classroom time, that is, in your private study.

This module is in part based around notions and/or material that can be found in the core text(s) listed below.  It is therefore likely that you will use, or refer to,

in your lecture/seminar sessions the notions and/or material in the books listed here.  You will likely be directed to study aspects of these texts in your out-of-

classroom time, that is, in your private study.

Essential Reading [*purchased]
Davies, M. and Aston, J. (2011), “Auditing Fundamentals” (first edition) FT Prentice Hall (Pearson Education).

Go to Library

Supplementary reading

Mills, R.W., and Robertson, J. (1993). “Fundamentals of Managerial Accounting and Finance” (3rd edition) published by Mars Business Associates Limited.
Robertson, J. and Mills, R.W. (2007) “Accounting Principles for Non Accounting Students (2nd edition) published by Mars Business Associates Limited.
Atrill (2003) “Financial Management for Non-specialists” (3rd edition) Pitman
Sloman, J. and Hinde, K. (2007) “Economics for Business” (4th edition) FT prentice Hall
Lumby, S. and Jones, C. (1999) “Investment Appraisal and Financial Decisions” (6th edition)
Mills R.W. (1999) “Managerial Finance, Shareholder Value and Value Based Management” Published in London by Butler and Tanner Limited
Mishkin, F.S. and Eakins, S.G. (2003) “Financial Markets and Institutions” (4th edition) Published by Addison Wesley.
Millichamp, A. and Taylor, J. (2012)” Auditing” ( 10th edition) published by Cengage Learning

Directed reading from these journals as specified by the module tutors during the term:- Economic Review, Journal of International Business, Journal of International

Financial Management and Accounting, Journal of Management Accounting Research, Journal of Finance, Journal of Financial Economics, Journal of Portfolio ManagementThe

Financial Times and Business Week.

Go to Library

Learning outcomes

Whatever module or programme of study you are undertaking at Brunel University, there are learning outcomes that you must achieve in order to be awarded the necessary

credits that comprise the module and programme of study.  The learning outcomes you must demonstrate for this module are:

1.    Critically discuss theories and concepts pertaining to the creation of shareholder value, business and financial planning/management and the challenges of

implementing financial strategies in uncertain environments.
2.    Use appropriate concepts and rational arguments to critically interpret strategic and financial data in order to produce suitably critical, well-considered and

plausible conclusions.
3.    Critically discuss approaches to the evaluation of financial statements and how these underpin decision-making in financial management and capital investment.


Employability skills and your ‘graduate identity’

What are employability skills?  The CBI defines them as “a set of attributes, skills and knowledge that all labour market participants should possess to ensure they

have the capability of being effective in the workplace – to the benefit of themselves, their employer and the wider economy” (CBI, 2011).  ‘Translated’, this means “a

set of attributes, skills and knowledge that [you] should possess to ensure [you] have the capability of being effective in the workplace”.  A study (Hinchliffe and

Jolly, 2010) asked “employers from various sectors … about their perceptions of graduates and the importance they place on almost 50 specific skills, competencies,

attributes and personal qualities”.  When senior executives were asked what the most important factors were when recruiting graduates “employability skills came out on


In this section of the study guide, findings from these two publications have been used to create the grid below.  Note that these are ranked in order of importance

(to employers).  From this, you can see what employability skills are being introduced or practised and, naturally, how your engagement in this module helps you “to

ensure [you] have the capability of being effective in the workplace”.

Ranking    Employability skills    In this module?
1    interpersonal skills
Self-management: readiness to accept responsibility, flexibility, resilience, self-starting, appropriate assertiveness, time management, readiness to improve own

performance based on feedback/reflective learning.      X
Teamworking: respecting others, co-operating, negotiating/persuading, contributing to discussions, and awareness of interdependence with others.    X
2    written communication skills
Communication and literacy: application of literacy, ability to produce clear, structured written work and oral literacy including listening and questioning.    X
3    IT skills
Application of information technology: basic IT skills, including familiarity with word processing, spreadsheets, file management and use of internet search engines.
4    experience of the work environment
Employers say that they want graduates who already have actual, real work experience, that is, that you have been in employment (paid or unpaid) before they employ you

(talking/writing about work, at university, is different from doing it, in the workplace).    X
5    commercial/business awareness
Problem solving: analysing facts and situations and applying creative thinking to develop appropriate solutions.  Business and customer awareness: basic understanding

of the key drivers for business success, including the importance of innovation and taking calculated risks.    X
6    numeracy skills
Application of numeracy: manipulation of numbers, general mathematical awareness and its application in practical contexts (eg measuring, weighing, estimating and

applying formulae).    X
7    presentation skills
Communication and literacy: application of literacy, ability to deliver ideas, concepts and related with clarity, focus and cogency via oral/spoken means.    X
“Underpinning all these attributes, the key foundation, must be a positive attitude: a ‘can-do’ approach, a readiness to take part and contribute, openness to new

ideas and a drive to make these happen” (CBI, 2011).

“It is encouraging to see that [you/]students are increasingly aware of what will help [you] succeed in the workplace but [you] must take the development of [your]

wider competencies as seriously as [you] take [your] studies” (CBI, 2011).

These ‘employability skills’ are not something extra or different, over and above that which you learn as part of this or any other module.  That is, there is not

‘what I will learn, as content, in this module’ and ‘what I will learn/practise for my employability’ as such a division does not exist (as the literature tells you).

Instead, the higher level cognitive, mental processes that you need to use in this module, such as concept formation, problem solving, pattern recognition, memory,

attention, metacognition, metamemory and the rest underpin ‘employability skills’ but are also central/crucial to the graduate-level thinking skills that we, in higher

education, expect graduates to have and which are tested via the assessment.

CBI (‘What do employers want’):
Hinchliffe G and Jolly A  (2010)  Graduate market trends: employability and graduate identity.  HECSU:


Written coursework ( 2500 words )  100%

How the assessment relates to the learning outcomes

The coursework covers learning outcomes 1,2 and 3.

Deliverables – important dates

You should prepare and submit all coursework according to the School’s instructions for assessments.  You should make sure that you are fully aware of the School’s

policy on plagiarism.  You should be aware that you cannot later claim that you did not know the rules and regulations; like all of us working at Brunel, you must make

yourself familiar with them.

As per the School’s Student Handbook, formal coursework submissions must be made via Blackboard Learn, only.  On no account will we accept any coursework (‘coursework’

includes the Masters/MBA dissertation) via any other means.  So, if you attempt to, or actually submit it to, a lecturer, the APO or to anyone else, either in person

or via email, we will not accept it, and we will not look at it or mark it.  This is the case for those with mitigating circumstances and for those without mitigating

circumstances.  Any coursework not submitted via Blackboard Learn will be deemed to have not been submitted.  Note that we will not accept coursework submissions in

PDF format.

Coursework must be submitted online by 12.00 UK time (midday, lunchtime) on the day of the deadline ( 12 March 2015 )

When submitting your coursework online you must use the e-coversheet available on Blackboard Learn in the folder called ‘How to submit’ available on the main page of

each module.  In this folder you will also find a video and a written description of the coursework submission process.  Please navigate to the Blackboard Learn pages

for this module for further details by going to the following webpage:

The two paper copies of your Masters/MBA Dissertation must be submitted by 17.00pm UK time on the same working day as the online submission, and must be submitted to

the Academic Programmes Office.

Assessment I:  Coursework only

Late coursework

It is University and therefore School policy to accept and grade all late items of coursework.  Late coursework submissions are, however, subject to penalties

(capping) that determine the maximum grade that you can achieve depending upon how late the work is.  The penalty scale can be found in the School’s Student Handbook.

If you believe that you have good cause (you have mitigating circumstances) to request a new, later deadline or that you have submitted (or will submit) this item of

coursework after the published deadline, or that you wish the cap/penalty to be lifted, or that you cannot submit it at all, then you must first read the section of

the School’s Student Handbook called ‘mitigating circumstances’.  As you will see from this, you must use the ‘Mitigating Circumstances Form’ that is available in the

School’s Student Handbook.  Details are provided, in the School’s Student Handbook, of who to submit the form to, by when, how you will know the decision, etcetera.

There is a final day/date by which we can accept any late coursework (see the School’s Student Handbook for what this is).  Should you submit a ‘Mitigating

Circumstances Form’, then you must do within a certain timescale.  For details, look at the School’s Student Handbook.

Feedback on your work

The School is committed to providing you with written feedback for all assessed coursework and will do so normally within 25 working days from the submission date.

You will get feedback on your performance via the Blackboard Learn pages for this module (but see module details above).  If you do not receive feedback within this

time, then you should first contact the module leader.  If it proves necessary, you should then contact the Director of MBA Studies.

As you will know from reading the rules and regulations in the School’s Student Handbook, submitted coursework, including your Masters/MBA Dissertation, will not be

returned to you.  This is true for all coursework, in all modules and at all levels, and does not apply to only this module.

Method of teaching

Lectures , class exercises. and discussion.

Lecture/seminar programme

[Provide a week by week breakdown of the topics to be covered in the module.  Teaching should fit in with the following term structure for 2014/15:]

Term 1: A 12-week teaching term starts 22 September 2014 and ends 12 December 2014.  Effective Learning Week in Term 1 is in week 7 (3-7 November 2014) and no

lectures/seminars/labs should be scheduled for this week.
Term 2: A 12-week teaching term starts 5 January 2015 and ends 27 March 2015.  Effective Learning Week in term 2 is in week 21 (9-13 February 2015) and no

lectures/seminars/labs should be scheduled for this week.
Term 3 and vacation: ‘Revision week’ is scheduled for the week of 20 April to 24 April 2015.  The 3-week examination period starts 27 April 2015.

For full details of terms, holidays, the dates of the April/May and August examination periods and the full list of University weeks/week numbers and the rest, go to:

The various study themes of the module are as shown below.

Study week    Week commencing    Study theme and module activities/think points or tasks
1    5/01/15    Introduction to Financial Statements
Private Reading:  Davies, M. and Aston, J. (2011), Mills and Robertson chps 1,2 and 3

You need to pay great attention in class in order to be able to comprehend and use the techniques/principles involved in the calculations of the financial statements.

In addition to the above, private study is required to come to grips with this topic.

2    12/01/15    Financial Diagnostics using ratio analysis
Private Reading: Davies, M. and Aston, J. (2011), Mills and Robertson chp 4
In addition to class exercises, you are required to do a lot of practice in your private study to be able to calculate and apply the ratios to companies.
3    19/01/15    Company Valuation
Private Reading: Davies, M. and Aston, J. (2011), Mills and Robertson chps 11 and 12

4    26/01/15    Regulation, audit and corporate governance
This is area of research for your assignment and after this lecture you can begin your reading.
5    2/02/15    Predicting corporate failure and health
Private Reading: Davies, M. and Aston, J. (2011),  Mills and Robertson chp 5
Independent study is required here to be able to predict corporate failure and health.
6    9/02/15    Effective Learning week  – Use this week for extending your reading, making notes and (if relevant) the assignment  exercise
7           16/02/15    External and Internal Audit for risk and assurance
8    23/02/15    Investment in capital construction projects
Ensure you complete your assignment so it can be submitted before the deadline. Remind yourself  of the submission instructions.
9    2/03/15    Introduction to Investment Appraisal
Private Reading: Lumby and Jones chps 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7



Primary readings
Other readings

See page 2 of this study guide

See pages 2 and 3 of this study guide

Tasks and Think Points:

(Examples below)

How are companies financial  results measured. What factors would enable you to measure success.
How should companies be regulated?

Practical Exercise

Select a UK stock market company preferably one whose products you would buy.
Go onto the internet and download their annual report and read it and assess whether you would invest your money in this company

Brunel Business School Master of Science

TITLE    Financial Resources Management                                              MODULE CODE___MG5556_______________

Written Coursework: Deadline (12.00 noon, UK time) on Thursday 12 March on Blackboard Learn.

It is essential in the UK that investors can rely on the honesty and integrity of the published financial statements.  Analyse and critically evaluate the

effectiveness of the system of audit and corporate governance. It is important for you to read the core textbook by Davies and  Aston or an equivalent before answering

this research question.

Explain what you expect the students to achieve and provide some guidance on the structure you would expect to receive. You may also wish to explain how the coursework

addresses the module learning outcomes.

The length of the coursework should be clearly stated as well as the possible consequences of submitting a piece of work which is shorter or longer than indicated by

this guidance.

Please enter here the marking scheme relevant for the coursework and provide an illustration of each assessment criterion achieved at each of the grade descriptor for

UG/PG levels.

UG grades and grade point bands [Senate Regulation 2 (2009 starters onwards)] are: A* (17), A+ (16), A (15), A- (14), B+ (13), B (12), B- (11), C+ (10), C (9), C- (8),

D+ (7), D (6), D- (5), E+ (4), E (3), E- (2), F (1)

PG grades and grade point bands [Senate Regulation 3 (2013 starters onwards)] are: A++ (17), A+ (16), A (15), A- (14), B+ (13), B (12), B- (11), C+ (10), C (9), C-

(8), D+ (7), D (6), D- (5), E+ (4), E (3), E- (2), F (1)

If you wish students to pay attention to length, structure, grammar and referencing of the coursework make sure to include these elements in the marking scheme.

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