OXFORD BROOKES UNIVERSITY
Skills and Learning Statement
in fulfilment of the requirements for the award of the
BSc (Honours) in Applied Accounting
By : Liu PeihanACCA Student
Registration Number : 2520996
Date of submission
: 20 May 2014
Word Count: 1,958
TOC \o "1-3" \h \z \u Part 1. Guidance and Inspiration from Meeting with My Mentor PAGEREF _Toc388362657 \h 1Preparation PAGEREF _Toc388362658 \h 1First Meeting PAGEREF _Toc388362659 \h 1Second Meeting PAGEREF _Toc388362660 \h 2Third Meeting PAGEREF _Toc388362661 \h 2Part 2. The research questions PAGEREF _Toc388362662 \h 4Part 3. The Interpersonal and Communication skills PAGEREF _Toc388362663 \h 6Part 4. Enhance and Extend Accountancy Studies PAGEREF _Toc388362664 \h 8References PAGEREF _Toc388362665 \h 10 Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Part 4 Total
Word count 583 372 485 518 1,958
Part 1: Meetings with My MentorPreparationBefore the first meeting with my mentor, I conducted some research on my chosen topic (Topic 8: analysis of the business and financial performance of an organisation over a three year period). Through the past few years’ academic learning, I acquired substantial knowledge on how to read and analyse the financial and business performances of businesses, I felt the importance of this project being a good opportunity for me to apply my knowledge into practice. I chose StarHub Ltd and its subsidiaries (StarHub) as my research subject because the services in info-communication has extensive use in our life and are fundamental and indispensable tools for communicating globally. The process of researching is also a learning process and assessment on myself. First MeetingThe first meeting was on 10 March 2014, in a quite lecturer room selected by my mentor. I learnt the importance and techniques required to carry out this research and analysis project (RAP). With the outline that I have prepared and list of questions, the meeting was efficient and effective. I managed to have a clear understanding and direction to commence the process. I noted the importance of a good environment for meeting; uninterrupted and conducive.
I noted that references are ital. to a good project and must be included specifically in the work to substantial my research and appropriate use of other authors’ intellectual property. I realised that references are not used purely to avoid plagiarism but also allows me to appreciate efforts of other researchers towards my project. Besides, citations provides a way to make my writing more persuasiveCITATION UNS13 \l 2052 (Comstock, 2013). Second MeetingThe second meeting was on 20 April 2014 and it was brief. From the meeting and short review by my mentor on my progress, I noted the need for flow of explanation, clarity of analysis and care towards the use of words in illustration a situation. Not being familiar with the use of powerpoint, I was able to learnt some basic skills from my mentor so that I can prepare the slides for the final meeting. Despite the framework of my RAP being prepared, several confusions arose during the course of research. I realised the constant need to pay more attention to the requirements and how I should arrange my report in order to look coherent. I consulted my mentor for advice on report writing and essential presentation skills. I searched for guidance from libraries and internet. The process enabled me to refine my skills and improve on the report. Third MeetingThe third meeting was held on 5 May 2014 where I briefed my mentor my final position of my project. I have completed in accordance with the information pack and ready to present my research. The presentation was made to my mentor and other candidates in an appropriately arranged room so that there will not be any interruption by noises. Everyone was asked to switch off their mobile phones so that the presentations can be made effectively. Having practised several times with my friends, I had confident that I would be able to present well. However, when I stood in the front of the audience, my nervousness set in. I remembered the advice from my mentor and focused on delivering my presentation. I was glad that I did managed to put up and clearly explained my case. I was also able to answer the questions asked because I had done preparatory work in anticipation of the questions.
Part 2:The ResearchWith the outline prepared for the project, it was easier to organise the structure of my project, hence facilitate the facts finding process to follow. The process requires a comprehensive analysis of both the financial and business performances of an organisation. Despite efforts, I was only able to obtain published information from the annual reports and home page of StarHub and its competitors. During analysis, I was unable to find detailed information to provide a more in-depth analysis. This was because of the confidentiality of information that is not made available publicly. Information obtained from the internet sources may not be fully reliable. I noted the importance of obtaining information from several sources to confirm the reliability of the information. Other than the use of key financial ratios calculated to interpret financial performance, business analysis models such as ‘Strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats’, Porter’s 5 forces and Benchmarking were applied to evaluate the business performance. I realised that it was extremely challenging to conduct these analysis. Factors identified can fall into different categories and depending on time period and market economy, can affect the organisation differently. The business strategies of the competitor differ from StarHub and thus making straight forward comparisons not fully possible. To better understand the performances of StarHub, I began searching into the overall environment of the telecommunication field. There are several aspects that should be considered, such as timing, government policy, economic conditions and even culture.
Despite the limitations and constraints of information, I was able to obtain a good analysis into several aspects of StarHub’s financial and business performances over the past years. I was able to make preliminary findings of the current opportunities and threats and consider how StarHub may improve its competiveness in the market. Despite having set the research objectives, I noted that an extensive and accurate research and analysis can only be conducted if there are full information of the subject matter and the organisation. The management’s strategies, their focus and directions must be considered. Time is also an important factor as information gathering process can be time-consuming especially where primary data are required. Knowledge learnt from books and lectures are only basic skills which cannot be easily put. Part 3:The Interpersonal and Communication skillsInterpersonal skills are the skills used by people for interaction with one another. In the business domain, the term generally refers to the ability of employees and management to communicate in getting the job done. Interpersonal skills include everything from communication and listening skills to attitude and deportment. Good interpersonal skills are a prerequisite for many positions in an organisation CITATION Def14 \l 2052 (Eliis, 2009). The way of communication can be various such as sending messages or e-mail and talking face-to-face. I arranged my meetings with my mentor by send both messages and e-mails at least a few days in advance. A proper meeting room was arranged after confirmation of the meeting by my mentor. Preparatory work for the meeting was not the only critical factor for meetings. Communications via an interactive process with proper listening skills when another person is speaking is vital CITATION Def14 \l 1033 (Eliis, 2009). Speaking is a part of interpersonal skills. I was encouraged to be not afraid to speak in the presence of others. I learnt that communication could be non-verbal in the form of eye- contact and body language. It is just as powerful as what the words usedCITATION Anx14 \l 2052 (Harmer & Arnold, 1978). Proper questioning skill is essential in gaining more information; without which interpersonal communications can failCITATION Ski141 \l 2052 (Syer & Connolly., 1996). When I encountered difficulties in the course of research, I sort the opinion of my classmates and my mentor. I used open questions in seeking for detailed answers such as “What do you think about this issues?” Closed questions were used in obtaining a simple confirmation such as “Do you agree with me?”
The use of open questions could develop an open conversation and seek for more details and opinions from others while closed question was useful to seek the confirmation and conclude a point or a discussion CITATION Ski141 \l 1033 (Syer & Connolly., 1996)Listening skills are an important part of communication skills and I always enjoyed the great benefit of listening others’ advices. Even if I had different ideas, I still listened respectfully with eyes contact and sending feedback in the form of smiles, head nods etc. Different ideas helped open my eyesight and sometimes they can be an inspiration. Conversation is a two-way street. To make conversation delightful, I remembered not to talk too little, or too much and ask questions about to othersCITATION Anx14 \l 2052 (Harmer & Arnold, 1978). Different people have different aspects concerning one matter. Their ideas provided me different approaches to one particular problem. The process of us slowly making the matter clear is far more interesting than directly consulting the others for answer with the use of communication skills. As far as I am concerned, communication is all about listen and talk. I should absorb the kind suggestions from others and pick the suitable ones to follow. Do not be afraid to express your opinion. Knowledge can be accumulated when a communicated. Part 4: Enhance and Extend Accountancy StudiesPreparing for the RAP has tremendously improved my accountancy studies in several ways. It has tested me to turn theoretical knowledge into practice and to evaluate my understanding of the knowledge. The modelling part is the most difficult. I have to go through a lot of books to learn. There are various way to build a model concerning with different conditions and data provided. Therefore models constructed were based on fine analysis. A good sense is also needed when it comes to pick the most appropriate one out of many alternatives. And masses of practices make good sense. So I have to read more and practice more to apply my knowledge into practice. When it comes to models, it requires us to be acquainted with all sorts of knowledge, such as different kinds of ratios, taking all the probable risks into consideration and background analysis. The project requires me to review my knowledge learned in previous textbooks such as Association of Chartered Certified Accountants（ACCA）F7 and P3 Business Analysis, of which some of the contents I have already forgotten. But it is a good way to remind me to remember the old knowledge well in case it will be needed some day. The project has also benefited me regarding my skills of making graphs and charts. Both are such useful tools when it comes to analysis. It provides me a direct way to reflect the changing performance of the organisation and can show me the data explicitly if I want to check. Besides, when my work is presented to people who are not familiar with the certain field, I would like to express my results to be easily understood. Therefore it is important to include graphs and charts in the project. As for the interpersonal and communication skills, I have learned how to make better presentations and how to appropriately communicate with others. Communicating with my mentor really makes my work a lot easier. Besides, this project has made me realise what weakness I have. From the process, I know that I should enhance my skills in several fields. I should always be well prepared for every uncertainty in the future. That means I should keep what I’ve learned in the past semesters in mind clearly so that I will not have to learn it again in case needed. The topic I chose has broadened my knowledge scope and provides me the desire to learn more. From the preparation work to the final model, it really makes me possess good discipline of doing things coherently. Although I worked hard, I enjoyed the process very much. Doing things that I am passionate about is exciting. And it is what I need to do if I want to be a successful accountant. It is a good opportunity for me to both review the knowledge I have learned and gain new knowledge through extensive reading when I am working on the project. It is a refreshing experience and improves me to go further in my chosen field and always be passionate. References BIBLIOGRAPHY Comstock, G., 2013. Research ethics : a philosophical guide to the responsible conduct of research. Cambridge ; New York: Cambridge University Press. Eliis, R., 2009. Communication skills : stepladders to success for the professional. 2nd ed. Bristol, UK : Chicago, USA : Intellect. Harmer, J. & Arnold, J., 1978. Advanced speaking skills. Harlow, Essex: Longmanx. Syer, J. & Connolly., C., 1996. How teamwork works : the dynamics of effective team development. London ; New York : McGraw-Hill .