Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Postgraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2011-2012 (archived)

Module BUSI56415: Finance in the Context of the Smaller Enterprise

Department: Business School (Business)

BUSI56415: Finance in the Context of the Smaller Enterprise

Type Tied Level 4 Credits 15 Availability Available in 2011/12 Module Cap
Tied to N1KF12
Tied to N1DF12
Tied to N1KF14
Tied to N1DF14


  • None


  • None

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None.


  • To provide a comprehensive introduction to financial issues as they affect smaller enterprises.


  • Overview of Enterprise Management Accounting and Control Systems issues within the context of a smaller enterprise.
  • The role of finance in the organisation.
  • An introduction to dynamic Financial Decision Making - concepts and principles.
  • Identification and mapping of stakeholders.
  • The role of financial targets on organisational behaviour.
  • Dynamic decision making.
  • Financial statements; Profit and Loss, Balance Sheet, Cashflow.
  • Understanding and interpreting financial statements.
  • Profitability measurement.
  • Working capital measurement.
  • Introduction to statutory accounting statements.
  • Introduction to financial case studies as a method of adding commercial knowledge to financial information.
  • How financial information can be represented in a more meaningful way.
  • How to write financial assignments.
  • How students'own learning style impacts on their development through the course.
  • How students'own management style effects the perception of finance within their organisation

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • By the end of the module, students should be able to:
  • critically appreciate the different financial needs of their businesses;
  • relate different financial situations to their own role and organisation;
  • recognise that finance is not simply an internal issue for a business, the business operates in a wider environment and must be aware of the inter-relationship of the business with its environment;
  • identify all the stakeholders in their own organisation.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • By the end of the module, students should be able to:
  • distinguish the needs of their stakeholders in the business in terms of the financial information they want to see and the relative importance of different indicators of financial performance;
  • consider the specifics dynamics of their organisation and to address issues of profitability over a period of time;
  • appraise key financial indicators in a business to improve financial performance;
  • look at a business case study and have the confidence to use the financial figures as part of the overall analysis of the performance of that business;
  • identify sources of information to help smaller businesses keep in touch with relevant information that will impact on their financial performance.
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.
  • A Personal Statement (assessed formatively) will enable student to think about the reasons for starting this study and identify their own learning objectives. Progressive completion of the Learning Log allows progress towards achieving learning objectives to be monitored throughout. Together, the Personal Statement and Learning Log provide a framework for reflection that is then incorporated within the final Presentation.
  • The summative assignment will require the student to analyse the external factors impacting on their organisation at this point in time. They will also identify the important stakeholders in the business and appreciate the difficulties they have in satisfying their divergent needs. 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 3 In a 2 day residential slot and a 1 day session 29
Tutorials 1 Once 5 hours 5
Visit by students to the place of work of another student 1 Once 5 hours 5
Mentor vists 1 Once 5 hours 5
Preparation & Reading 106
Total 150

Summative Assessment

Component: Essay Component Weighting: 100%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Essay 2,000 words (Max.). 100%

Formative Assessment:

One written Personal Statement of Learning Objectives of 1000 word (maximum). Peer and tutor feedback will be provided at a study skills day.

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