A Research and Analysis Project Submitted in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Bachelors of Science (Hons) in Applied Accounting at Oxford Brookes University May 20X0 Word count: 6,496
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Introduction Project objectives and research questions Research approach Information gathering Sources used and reasons Methods used to collect information Limitations of information gathering Ethical issues and their resolution Accounting and Business Techniques used Ratio analysis and its limitations SWOT analysis and its limitations Analysis Company overview and strategy SWOT analysis of the company Strengths Weaknesses Opportunities Threats SWOT in a nutshell Ratio analysis Sales Profitability ratios Liquidity ratios Efficiency ratios Gearing ratios Investor ratios Conclusion Appendix 1: References list Appendix 2: Ratios definitions Appendix 3: Ratios calculations and spreadsheet 11 12 13 14 15 17 1 2 3
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The topic that I have chosen for this Research and Analysis Project (RAP) is topic number 8: “The business and financial performance of an organisation over a three year period”. Having to choose this topic among others was a challenge as each of the 20 topics provided by the Oxford Brookes University is not only very interesting but also presents a massive scope for research and analysis. In my opinion the analysis of business and financial performance of a company is one of the most important aspects of the modern day accounting profession and therefore, I decided to opt for this topic (which is the topic number 8). Also, by analysing the performance of a real company, I had the opportunity to apply my theoretical knowledge, which I learned through ACCA exams, into a practical scenario. Moreover, I feel that by applying the acquired skills to a real world scenario will broaden my knowledge of various financial analysis techniques. After settling for topic 8, I had to make an equally important decision about my choice of company on which to base my RAP. After a day of research I was convinced that Marks & Spencer Plc (M&S) would indeed be a much better company for me to analyse by taking account of the ease in accessibility of various information available for the company. Though taking everything into perspective, i.e. the availability of information, the scale of operations of the company, its impact on the socioeconomic dynamics of a country, choosing M&S indeed came as a natural choice. I have worked for M&S, although in a limited scope, and have admired the company both as an employee and as a customer. But in order to effectively analyse the business and financial information of any company one needs to have access to its financial as well as non-financial data. Since M&S is a large company, which is listed in various stock markets with operations in many countries, there would not be any dearth of information available. M&S annual reports are readily available over the websites and various other press releases and news items are easily available too. Another reason for choosing to write on this company was due to magnitude of its operations and it is highly regarded in the retail industry.
PROJECT OBJECTIVES AND RESEARCH QUESTIONS
The primary objective of this research report is to present a thorough analysis of the business of M&S Plc and its performance over a three year period from the point of view of an investor. The period under consideration is the three financial years from 2nd April 2007 to 28th March 2009. This will mainly be accomplished by employing a detailed ratio analysis on the financial data available for a three year period. Only focusing on the financial aspects will not provide a comprehensive analysis of its...