Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Postgraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2007-2008 (archived)

Module BUSI56830: Strategy, Business Planning and Costing Processes

Department: Economics, Finance and Business (Business)

BUSI56830: Strategy, Business Planning and Costing Processes

Type Tied Level 4 Credits 30 Availability Available in 2007/08 Module Cap
Tied to N1KF12
Tied to N1KD12


  • None


  • None

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None.


  • To examine in depth the relationships between business strategy, business planning and costing processes.


  • Product Mix Auditing
  • Dynamic Breakeven; pricing strategy and implementation
  • Breakeven analysis; Product based cost analysis - issues and approaches
  • Variable Costs
  • Charging the fixed Costs to Products
  • Activity Based costing (ABC)
  • Over and Under Absorption of Overheads
  • Portfolio balancing
  • Strategic fit
  • Portfolio/market analysis
  • Accounting Rate of Return
  • Payback analysis
  • discounted Cash Flow / Net Present Values
  • Long Term and Short term Planning
  • Project Planning challenges
  • Forecasting profit and loss, cash flow and balance sheets
  • Analysing Price and Volume Variances
  • Cash Flow Variance
  • Issues and approaches to Information management

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • By the end of the module students should:
  • Have a critical appreciation of alternative pricing strategies and pricing policies and the ability of their current organisational structure to implement appropriate changes;
  • Have a critical appreciation of the use of strategic analysis to facilitate long term financial planning;
  • Have a critical appreciation of the role of sensitivity analysis in the planning process;
  • Have a critical appreciation of the limitations of traditional marginal costing and how it impinges on good dynamic financial decision making;
  • Be familiar with the techniques used to obtain the correct information for a business plan.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • By the end of the module students should:
  • Be able to identify appropriate cash flow items to analyse major items of expenditure using a number of alternative decision making tools;
  • Be able to use techniques to identify dynamic (variable) costs against specific product, services or product ranges;
  • Be able to apply techniques for charging the static (fixed) costs to each product, service or product range;
  • Be able to analyse the impact of the costing method on the product moving breakeven and apply appropriate methods to their own organisation;
  • Be able to anticipate and overcome the impact of over or under absorption of the static (fixed) costs when trading in a volatile market;
  • Be able to align plans to the resources and capabilities of the organisation;
  • Recognise the importance of involving others in the planning process;
  • Be able to identify the different types of variance and how to take appropriate management action to get back on target.
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 in-depth case study is introduced to allow the participants to develop the techniques from first principles on a "live" business. this will focus on the process of dynamic financial decision making.
  • Computer spreadsheets and programmes are used to help improve the business planning process.
  • Progressive completion of the Learning Log allows progress towards achieving learning objectives to be monitored thorughout. the Learning Log provides a framework for reflection and further discussion with mentors (dedicated Associates of the Foundation for SME Development) and module tutors that is then incorporated within the final Presentation.
  • 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 4 In a 2 x 2 consecutive one day sessions (one residential) 38
Tutorials 2 5 hours 10
Mentor visits 1 5 hours 5
Fieldwork 2 5 hours 10
Preparation & Reading 237
Total 300

Summative Assessment

Component: Essay Component Weighting: 100%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Essay 5,000 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