AC306-Business Strategy for Accountants

Module Provider: Business Informatics, Systems and Accounting
Number of credits: 30 [15 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Autumn / Summer term module
Pre-requisites: AC101 Introduction to Accounting AC103 Introduction to Business and Finance AC208 Management Information
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded: MM272 International Business Management and Strategy
Module version for: 2016/7

Module Convenor: Dr Dan Luo


Summary module description:
This module is designed to develop the knowledge, understanding and skills acquired in the
prerequisite modules through their application to real-world business problems and case study
scenarios. This module aims to provide students with an understanding of how businesses
develop and implement strategy, and to apply and evaluate that knowledge.

This module is delivered at University of Reading and Beijing Institute of Technology.

The aim is to provide students with an understanding of the nature of business strategy with
particular emphasis on the way in which the activities of a business are interrelated both with
each other and with the strategic, competitive and environmental contexts within which firms
operate. The module builds on student’s knowledge of a range of business theories and
techniques, and assists students in utilising and combining knowledge from prior learning to
analyse a business and its environment at different levels of abstraction. The students will be
able to analyse and identify the consequences of a business’s current objectives, market position
and direction. They will analyse for a given situation the internal and external factors which may
impact upon a business’s performance and competitive market position, evaluate its current
position and performance from both a financial and a non-financial perspective, using
management information and market data analysis. This will lead to the ability to evaluate the
likely consequences of strategic choices and recommend strategies to meet the objectives and
recommend appropriate methods of implementing strategies measure and monitor strategic

The module will help students’ development by involving them in a discussion of ideas, views
and conclusions about business with their peers. The students will be required to work in groups
to analyse business situations and cases at differing levels of abstraction and present and defend
their group conclusions. By encouraging different teams to identify differing aspects of the
situation the multidimensional nature of management will be reinforced.

Assessable learning outcomes:
By the end of the module it is expected that students will be able to:
1. Apply knowledge and skills from strategy, finance and accounting studies to
underpin the analysis of a business in terms of its current market position,
objectives, and strategic direction.
2. Discuss contemporary issues affecting business decision making around strategy,
financial management and management accounting including consideration of the
ethical consequences of decisions.
3. Undertake strategic analysis of a complex business taking into consideration internal
and external factors, draw strategic conclusions and highlight issues consistent with
the financial position and marketing data and the organisational and operational
capabilities of the firm.
4. Make recommendations for strategic options based on reasoned analysis and
argument and evaluate the consequences of strategic choice, including a
consideration of ethics and corporate responsibility.
5. Critically assess an entity’s business plan and explain and demonstrate how financial
and non-financial data, including budgetary information can be analysed in order to
implement and manage a business’s strategy and to monitor the performance of its
projects, divisions and other strategic units
6. Evaluate and discuss the key implementation steps and issues that will be required to
achieve the businesses' overall strategy.

Additional outcomes:
The module aims to provide opportunities to develop interpersonal and team working skills using
in-class discussions and team based exercises. Structured activities are designed to develop
independent learning, including reflective, adaptive and collaborative learning. Students will be
provided with opportunities to use information and communications technology for business
applications through use of relevant web resources and electronic communication techniques,
including Blackboard. An emphasis is placed on collaborative learning.

Outline content:
The nature and purpose of business; the macro business environment; industry and market
environment; strategic capability; strategic options; strategies for products and markets; strategy
and organisational structure; management of risks; options for business growth; evaluation of
strategy and performance measurement; business planning and functional strategies; strategies
for information; change management and project management; ethical and cultural
considerations; sustainability.

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:
The exposition of the main concepts, principles and techniques will be developed by combining
individual preparatory work with in-class teamwork. Students will be set pre-class tasks, based
on guided pre-readings and case analysis, and will be tested in class for their knowledge and
understanding of these materials, with immediate feedback. A significant proportion of class
time is spent with students working in teams applying module concepts and solving problems in
business strategy case-based, application-oriented activities. Most of the learning will be
student directed and structured activities are designed to develop independent learning,
including reflective, adaptive and collaborative learning.

Teaching will take place in the Autumn and Summer terms. Of the Autumn term hours, 40
hours (5 contact and 35 Guided Independent Study) will take place in the prior Summer term.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 17 3
Practicals classes and workshops 18 3
Guided independent study 160 59
Total hours by term 195.00 65.00
Total hours for module 260.00

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written exam 50
Class test administered by School 50

Other information on summative assessment:
The students will complete one case study in small teams submitting a final report and
presentation in line with professional practice. The students will complete both individual and
team multiple choice tests during the readiness assessment tests which is worth 30% of the total marks available. Students will also undertake an individual case test in class which is worth 20% of the total marks available. The final examination will take the form of a detailed case analysis.

Formative assessment methods:
Formative assessments will be made in each workshop session in the form of case studies to
enable students to gain the necessary practice. This work is primarily designed as a learning
vehicle, and students working in teams will develop their own solutions to the case studies.

Penalties for late submission:

Non- Attendance at a lecture at which a Readiness Assessment Test is undertaken will result in a zero marks for that set of tests unless an appropriate ECF has been submitted.
The Module Convenor will apply the following penalties for work submitted late, in accordance with the University policy.
  • where the piece of work is submitted up to one calendar week after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): 10% of the total marks available for the piece of work will be deducted from the mark for each working day (or part thereof) following the deadline up to a total of five working days;
  • where the piece of work is submitted more than five working days after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): a mark of zero will be recorded.

  • The University policy statement on penalties for late submission can be found at:
    You are strongly advised to ensure that coursework is submitted by the relevant deadline. You should note that it is advisable to submit work in an unfinished state rather than to fail to submit any work.

    Length of examination:
    One 3-hour unseen written paper. Examinations take place in the Summer term.

    Requirements for a pass:
    A minimum weighted average mark of 40%

    Requirements for ICAEW Credit for Prior Learning (CPL):

    This module contributes to the Business Strategy module of the ACA Professional Stage
    Knowledge and Application levels. In order to apply for ICAEW CPL a minimum mark of 50% must
    be obtained on this module.

    Reassessment arrangements:
    By examination only.

    Re-examination for Part 3 modules takes place in September of the same year

    Additional Costs (specified where applicable):
    1) Required text books:
    2) Specialist equipment or materials:
    3) Specialist clothing, footwear or headgear:
    4) Printing and binding:
    5) Computers and devices with a particular specification:
    6) Travel, accommodation and subsistence:

    Last updated: 21 December 2016

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