Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Postgraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2007-2008 (archived)

Module BUSI56615: Financial Analysis of Medium Sized Businesses

Department: Economics, Finance and Business (Business)

BUSI56615: Financial Analysis of Medium Sized Businesses

Type Tied Level 4 Credits 15 Availability Available in 2007/08 Module Cap
Tied to N1KF12
Tied to N1KD12
Tied to N1KF14
Tied to N1KD14


  • None


  • None

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None.


  • To examine in depth the nature and use of financial statements and financial ratios.


  • The content of this module is set with a Medium Enterprise perspective and covers the following areas:
  • Analysing and synthesising the information in the financial statements
  • Meeting stakeholder requirements
  • The Financial Ratio Decision tree
  • Return on Capital Employed - a stakeholder versus a managers perspective
  • Ratios of Profitability: Gross Margin; Return on Sales; Expense Ratios
  • Ratios of Funding: Interest burden; Gearing
  • Asset Turnover
  • Ratios of Liquidity: Current Ratio; Acid Test
  • Ratios of Efficiency: Stock turnover; Debtor Days; Creditor Days
  • External Ratios
  • Matching ratios to published information

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • By the end of the module students should:
  • Have an in-depth understanding of how information in the key financial statements is related, and be able to and identify the correct apportionment of information between the statements from a limited amount of business information;
  • Monitor and evaluate financial performance using key financial ratios;
  • Be able to distinguish which ratios are seen as most important by the different stakeholders;
  • Have a critical appreciation of how the presentation of financial information can help or impede the financial analysis process.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • By the end of the module students should:
  • Be able to monitor and evaluate financial performance using key financial ratios;
  • Be able to analyse these ratios in terms of investment, profitability, liquidity and efficiency;
  • Be able to achieve a balance in the management of these ratios to ensure that the major stakeholders at any moment in time are satisfied;
  • Be able to access publicly available information to see how stakeholders may gather and interpret information on a business.
Key Skills:
    Written communication; planning, organising and time management; problem solving and analysis; using initiative; computer literacy.

Modes of Teaching, Learning and Assessment and how these contribute to the learning outcomes of the module

  • Lectures and seminars, supported by guided reading, will be used to introduce and explore the key concepts and theories.
  • Case studies and groups exercises will help them develop their own synthesised models. the assignments and mentor support will then help them adapt and apply these to the specific needs of their own organisation.
  • Financial exercises used both during the seminars and given out for student practice post seminar help practice and develop the technical skills inherent in Enterprise Management Accounting and control Systems.
  • An exercise designed to use financial statements, the internet and the business School library facilities to gather information for more sophisticated ratio analysis.
  • Students will be able to reflect upon these within the Learning Log, reviewing progress against Personal Statement objectives.
  • The summative assignment will require the student to calculate their financial ratios based on the historic statutory accounts. they will look at this from a number of stakeholder perspectives and they will map these ratios to significant changes in the development of the business to its current status. this assignment allows students to consider the practical application of the subject covered.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Lectures 2 In a 2 consecutive one day sessions 18
Tutorials 1 5 hours 5
Mentor visits 1 5 hours 5
Visit by students to the place of work of another student 1 5 hours 5
Preparation & Reading 117
Total 150

Summative Assessment

Component: Essay Component Weighting: 100%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Essay 2,500 words (Max.). 100%

Formative Assessment:


Attendance at all activities marked with this symbol will be monitored. Students who fail to attend these activities, or to complete the summative or formative assessment specified above, will be subject to the procedures defined in the University's General Regulation V, and may be required to leave the University