CSU Assignment- Understanding Financial Statements

Assessment Description

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Understanding Financial Statements
Value: 20%
Due date: 24-Aug-2016
Return date: 19-Sep-2016
Length: 3,500 words
Submission method options
Alternative submission method
Task
This is an individual assignment with a collaborative group component. The total marks available for this assignment is 100.

 Collaborative Group Component (25 Marks)

Students will be allocated to a group of 4 students. For the purposes of this question, each group will select an ASX listed company of their choice. Groups are to obtain the most recent annual report of their chosen company and review the firm’s financial statements. Working collectively, groups are then required to prepare a report which:

  1. Provides a brief introduction to the nature of their chosen firm. This introduction should provide an overview of the firm's products/services/brands, group structure (where applicable), history, size, and the location/s of the firm's operations (3 Marks).
  2. Discusses how the firm’s balance sheet, income statement and cash flow statement could be used to support the decisions of a range of stakeholder groups (7 Marks).
  3. Identifies the key assets, liabilities, equity classes, incomes and expenses which impact the firms reported position and performance and outlines how the measurement of these items is influenced by underlying accounting conventions and concepts and by managerial judgement (10 Marks).

The assignment needs to be presented in a standard report format including an executive summary, table of contents, introduction, body and conclusion. The report is to be 1,500 words in length (marks available for academic writing: 5 Marks). A range of collaborative tools are freely available to support preparation of the group submission. Google Docs and Dropbox, for example, are useful for working on and sharing joint documents. Zoom and Skype are also useful group video conference tools.
 

Individual Component (75 Marks)

All listed companies are required to prepare annual reports and lodge these with the ASX. While this is a legal requirement, managers can use information prepared by accountants on a regular basis to make a range of operational, strategic and management decisions. Additionally investors, employees, creditors and other stakeholders use the information provided in annual reports. Collectively, financial statement users use a range of interpretive techniques to make assessments and draw conclusions about a company. This section of the assignment provides you with an opportunity to review and analyse the financial statements of Blackmores.

Blackmores is one of Australia’s largest healthcare companies. The firm has more than 500 products, employs approximately 1,000 staff and has operations across Australia, New Zealand, China, Thailand, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan, Korea, Macau and Cambodia. 
 

Required:

Referring to the 2013, 2014 and 2015 annual reports of Blackmores, prepare a report for prospective investors which:

  1. Provides an overview of the nature of Blackmores, the firm’s strategy and prospects (5 Marks).
  2. Conducts an analysis of the financial performance and position of the Blackmores. This analysis should be supported by an in-depth analysis of:
    1. The firm’s financial statements and notes.
    2. Relevant ratios which help to understand the firm’s profitability, position, efficiency and market performance. This analysis should include comparisons through time to identify trends and comparisons to relevant benchmark partners (40 Marks).
  3. Outlines key limitations that investors should be aware of when relying on ratio analysis (10 Marks).
  4. Provides a critique of the usefulness of the publicly available financial information contained in the annual report of Blackmore from the perspective of a potential investor (10 Marks).

The assignment needs to be presented in a standard report format including an executive summary, table of contents, introduction, body and conclusion. The report is to be 2,000 words in length (marks available for academic writing: 10 Marks).

Your report must include as an appendix details of all calculations completed as part of the interpretive techniques applied to reach your conclusions.

Rationale
This assessment task is designed to enable you to apply your understanding of key financial accounting concepts and financial statement analysis techniques to real life companies. The task includes a collaborative component to provide you with an opportunity to further your online group work skills. The collaborative group component is designed to assess your understanding of Topic 1 (An Introduction to Financial Accounting), while the individual component is designed to assess your understanding of Topics 2 (An Overview of Financial Statements), Topic 3 (Financial Statement Analysis), and Topic 4 (Understanding and Managing Working Capital). Collectively, this assessment task links to the following learning outcomes:

  1. be able to critique basic accounting and financial management ideas that underlie and limit the usefulness of accounting and finance information;
  2. be able to explain the nature of, and apply, the measurement of assets, equities, revenues, expenses and income;
  3. be able to critically evaluate and analyse some of the interpretative techniques used in accounting and financial management;
  4. be able to integrate skills in information technology, communication and the use of quantitative techniques for management decision making. 
Marking criteria
 

CriteriaHigh Distinction (HD) 85% to 100%Distinction (DI) 75% to 84%Credit (CR) 65% to 74%Pass (PS) 50% to 64%
Description of case firm (collaborative component)Overview is comprehensive, covering all key features of the firm.Overview is comprehensive, covering most of the key features of the firm.Overview is moderately comprehensive, identifying the major facets of the firm.Overview is adequate, identifying major facets of firm with minimal depth.
Discussion of relevance of the financial statements of case firm (collaborative component)Discussion is comprehensive, identifying how financial statements are relevant to the decisions of a range of potential stakeholder groups. Reasoning is supported by valid arguments and examples.Discussion is comprehensive, identifying the relevance of financial statements to key stakeholder groups at some depth and with some examples provided.Discussion is moderately comprehensive, identifying the relevance of financial statements to key stakeholder groups at some depth.Discussion is adequate, identifying the relevance of most financial statements to some stakeholder groups with minimal depth.
Identification of key financial statement items of case firm (collaborative component) and discussion of how the measurement of these items is influenced by accounting conventions and concepts and managerial judgement.Discussion is comprehensive, identifying the relevance of all key financial statement line items and provides an in-depth analysis of how these items are influenced by accounting standards and managerial judgement.Discussion is comprehensive, identifying the relevance of all key financial statement line items and provides an analysis of how some of these items are influenced by accounting standards and managerial judgement.Discussion is moderately comprehensive, identifying the relevance of most key financial statement line items and provides some examples of how these items are influenced by accounting standards and managerial judgement.Discussion is adequate, identifying the relevance of some key financial statement line items and provides some examples of how these items are influenced by accounting standards and managerial judgement.
Overview of the nature of Blackmores and their strategy and prospects.Overview is comprehensive, covering all key features of the firm, their strategy and prospects.Overview is comprehensive, covering most of the key features of the firm, their strategy and prospects.Overview is moderately comprehensive, identifying the major facets of the firm, their strategy and prospects.Overview is adequate, identifying major facets of firm in minimal depth.
Analysis of the financial position and performance of Blackmores.Always correctly applies a range of finance and accounting techniques to review and benchmark the firm's position and performance. In depth and accurate conclusions are drawn on firm's position and performance. An outstanding level of critical evaluation is provided.Always correctly applies a range of finance and accounting techniques to review and benchmark the firm's position and performance. In depth and accurate conclusions are drawn on firm's position and performance. Thorough critical evaluation is provided.Mostly applies a range of finance and accounting techniques correctly to review and benchmark the firm's position and performance. Moderately detailed and mostly accurate conclusions are drawn on firm's position and performance. Displays satisfactory critical evaluation.Mostly applies a range of finance and accounting techniques correctly to review and benchmark the firm's position and performance. Reasonably detailed and mostly accurate conclusions are drawn on firm's position and performance.
Discussion of limitations of ratio analysis.Discussion is comprehensive, identifying a range of potential limitations of ratio analysis. Reasoning is supported by valid arguments and examples.Discussion is comprehensive, identifying a range of potential limitations of ratio analysis at some depth and with some examples provided.Discussion is moderately comprehensive, identifying key potential limitations of ratio analysis at some depth.Discussion is adequate, identifying key potential limitations of ratio analysis in minimal depth.
Critique of the usefulness of Blackmores' annual report to prospective investors.A comprehensive review of the usefulness and potential limitations of the firm's annual report. Reasoning is supported by in-depth and valid arguments and examples.A comprehensive review of the usefulness and potential limitations of the firm's annual report. Reasoning is supported by comprehensive arguments and some examples.A moderately comprehensive review of the usefulness and potential limitations of the firm's annual report. Valid arguments are reasonably well supported.Satisfactory review of the usefulness and potential limitations of the firm's annual report. Arguments are supported by some valid arguments.
Integration of skills in IT, communications and the use of quantitative techniques for management decision making.IT skills used to perform all required quantitative analysis. Calculations demonstrate an outstanding understanding of how to apply relevant IT skills.IT skills used to perform all required quantitative analysis. Calculations demonstrate a thorough understanding of how to apply relevant IT skills.IT skills used to perform all required quantitative analysis. Calculations demonstrate some understanding of how to apply relevant IT skills.IT skills used to perform some of the required quantitative analysis. Calculations demonstrate some understanding of how to apply relevant IT skills.
Academic writingExcellent written expression and very clear articulation of ideas and concepts. Superior grammar and spelling skills. References presented show evidence of significant research and are used accurately. A professional report structure is adopted with an outstanding executive summary, introduction, body, and conclusion. A table of contents is provided and headings and sub-headings are well defined.Consistently clear and concise expression of ideas. No spelling errors and only minor grammatical errors. References presented show evidence of significant research and are used accurately. A professional report structure is adopted with a high quality executive summary, introduction, body, and conclusion. A table of contents is provided and headings and sub-headings are well defined.A satisfactory standard of expression. Expression of concepts is clear and concise. Very few spelling and/or grammar errors. Several references are presented and used accurately. A professional report structure is adopted with an effective executive summary, introduction, body, and conclusion. A table of contents is provided and headings and sub-headings are well defined.Some inconsistency in sentence structure. Clarity of expression could be enhanced by some revision. Some spelling errors and/or poor grammar. At least two references included and used appropriately. A professional report structure is adopted with a satisfactory executive summary, introduction, body, and conclusion. A table of contents is provided and headings and sub-headings are used to a satisfactory level.
Presentation
The individual component of the assignment must be submitted as either a word or PDF document.  It must be presented in a standard report format including an executive summary, table of contents, introduction, body and conclusion.  Your report must include an appendix with details of all calculations completed as part of the interpretive techniques applied to reach your conclusions.
 

The report must be prepared using 12 point font and 1.5 line spacing.  Please ensure that your name and student number are included as a footer.  The report must include an appendix which clearly shows any calculations completed as part of the interpretive techniques applied.


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