AC306-Business Strategy for Accountants

Module Provider: Business Informatics, Systems and Accounting
Number of credits: 30 [15 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Autumn 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
Current from: 2017/8

Module Convenor: Dr Dan Luo


Type of module:

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 performance.


Assessable learning outcomes:

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.

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 delivery of this module is comprised with two-hours lecture teaching and one-and-half-hour workshop each week for a total of ten weeks. Students will be assigned with pre-class case studies to prepare and contribute to group discussion during the workshops. Students could also be asked to participate into structured activities during lectures so as to develop their independent learning, including reflective, adaptive and collaborative learning. 

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 20
Seminars 15 3
Tutorials 2
Guided independent study 260
Total hours by term 297.00 3.00
Total hours for module 300.00

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

Summative assessment- Examinations:

Students will take one final exam in January/ May exam period.  The length of the exam is two hour and half. It is a combination of knowledge-based and scenario-based questions. Students are expected to remember the basic knowledges related to business strategy and decision making and apply these knowledges into real world cases.

Summative assessment- Coursework and in-class tests:

Students are expected to take two in-class tests during the autumn term. The first one is knowledge-based and accounts for 20% of the final mark, while the second one is scenario-based test and accounts for 30% of the final mark. For the second in-class test, a long case would be provided to students one week in advance of the exam date.

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:

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.

Assessment 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. 

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: 11 May 2018


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