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OBU RAP Topic 8

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OBU RAP Topic 8

Analysis and evaluation of the business and financial performance of an organisation over a three year period.

“A key to a successful RAP is the  improved knowledge on the various models used in evaluation of the financial and business performance (ratio analysis, SWOT, Porter Five Forces, PESTEL, etc.) and their application to selected organization for a specific period of time (i.e. the last three years) by considering all the micro and macro level factors under the guidance of a highly qualified mentor”

Overview

OBU RAP topic 8 is based on the analytical assessment of the business and financial performance of the selected organization over a period of three years.

“Analysis” is a careful study of something to learn about its parts, what they do, and how they are related to each other while “Evaluation” is the making of a judgment about the amount, number, or value of something.

While preparing the RAP on this topic, the student needs to conduct financial and business analysis of the selected organization. The financial analysis is the process of understanding the risk and profitability of an organization by analyzing the reported financial information through different accounting tools and techniques. The business analysis is a practice of permitting a change in the organizational context, by defining the needs and recommending solutions that enable the delivery of value to the shareholders.

OBU RAP topic 8 is the most popular topic for the students because they can easily apply the models and all the learnt knowledge during the studying ACCA. Furthermore, to prepare for this topic, the students do not need to use primary sources of information (as the access to primary sources of information is very difficult for the majority of students), and the entire project can be completed by using reliable secondary sources of information. According to the OBU prescribed guidelines, the use of a primary source of information is not vital for topic 8.

Below are some key points that the student needs to have in mind while preparing for their RAP:

  • According to the OBU prescribed requirements, the students who want to work on OBU RAP topic 8 or topic 15 need to select an organization in these three sectors:Automobiles & Parts, Media and Industrial Transportation. Below are the definitions of these sectors:

4010 Automobiles & Parts (3350 in older version)

4010020 Automobiles (3353 in older version) – Makers of motorcycles and passenger vehicles, including cars, sport utility vehicles (SUVs) and light trucks. Excludes makers of heavy trucks, which are classified under Commercial Vehicles & Trucks, and makers of recreational vehicles (RVs and ATVs), which are classified under Recreational Products.

40101025 Auto parts (3355 in older version) – Manufacturers and distributors of new and replacement parts for motorcycles and automobiles, such as engines, carburetors and batteries. Excludes producers of tires, which are classified under Tires. 40101015

Tires (3357 in older version) – Manufacturers, distributors and retreaders of automobile, truck and motorcycle tires

4030 Media (5500 in older version)

40301010 and 40301035 Broadcasting & Entertainment (5553 in older version) – Producers, operators and broadcasters of radio, television, music and filmed entertainment. Excludes movie theatres, which are classified under Recreational Services. 40301020 Media agencies (5555 in older version) – Companies providing advertising, public relations and marketing services. Includes billboard providers and telemarketers. 40301030 Publishing (5557 in older version) – Publishers of information via printed or electronic media.

502060 Industrial Transportation (2770 in older version)

50206010 Trucking (2779 in older version) – Companies that provide commercial trucking services. Excludes road and tunnel operators, which are classified under Transportation Services, and vehicle rental and taxi companies, which are classified under Travel & Tourism.

50206020 Railroads* (2775 in the older version) – Providers of industrial railway transportation and railway lines. Excludes passenger railway companies, which are classified under Travel & Tourism. (Topic 8 or 15 * see note below).
50206025 Railroad equipment (2753 in the older version)
50206030 Marine Transportation (2773 in the older version) – Providers of on-water transportation for commercial markets, such as container shipping. Excludes ports, which are classified under Transportation Services, and shipbuilders, which are classified under Commercial Vehicles & Trucks.

50206040 Delivery Services – Operators of mail and package delivery services for commercial and consumer use. Includes courier and logistic services primarily involving air transportation.

50206060 Transportation Services – Companies providing services to the Industrial Transportation sector, including companies that manage airports, train depots, roads, bridges, tunnels, ports, and providers of logistic services to shippers of goods. Includes companies that provide aircraft and vehicle maintenance services.

* if you are considering topic 8 or 15 please be aware that this sub-sector may be difficult as much infrastructure is publicly owned. There may not be sufficient information to support your analysis, or the accounts may be very complex.

 

  • The students should select an organization for which they have sufficient information and be aware of the different parameters of the sector in which the selected organization is involved. Without proper knowledge on the sector and organization at the beginning of the project, the analysis and evaluation may not be focused on the correct aspects, meaning that the RAP may be focused on unimportant matters. The basic understanding of the overall operations of the selected organization and its associated sector is essential in getting good grades for a RAP prepared under topic 8.
  • Logical discussion and proper interlink on all the ratio analysis along with providing internal and external factors and micro and macro level factors.
  • When discussing a certain trend of a ratio, the student needs to consider and discuss the various internal and external factors alongside the micro and macro level factors that in turn impact on the movement of the specific ratios in the given time frame. The internal reasons for the movement of the different ratios of the selected organization are usually in the annual reports (reports to shareholders section, key achievement sections, financial performance section, chairman/MD review section, etc.) of the company along with online articles and in newspapers related to the selected organization. On the other hand, the external reasons for movement of the different ratios of the selected organization are from the sector reports (in which your selected organization operates) over the online sources (especially websites related to business activity or the economy of a certain country) and articles related to the associated sectors over the online journals, magazines, etc.
  • The parallel discussion of the performance of the competition in relation to your selected organization rather than at the end of each ratio as a continuous discussion of the both selected and competition company will enable the reader of your report to effectively analyze the scale of your work.
  • Keep a good balance with the information gathered from various sources (annual reports, newspapers, online sources, books, etc) so that the marker can clearly see that you have been very resourceful in your research as this is an essential factor in passing your RAP with good grades. Another important factor is the proper presentation of the gathered information in an effective manner.
  • You will have to utilize one or maybe two business models you can describe each important aspect of the selected model in an effective manner, but also have in mind the overall prescribed word count in part 3 of the RAP (i.e. 4,500 words).
  • Provide proper graphs so the reader of your RAP can easily understand the company’s performance without the need to read the text of the RAP. This is an aspect called IT skills and this is very important in order to pass the RAP under OBU RAP topic 8 with good grades.
  • There are, of course, many other factors in successful passing of the RAP under topic 8 with good grades and  student engage highly qualified mentor for the preparation of RAP to get regular and appropriate advice on the various technical aspects of the topic that will, in turn, enable him/her to get good grades.

Key features / requirements

  • An analytical assessment of the financial performance of the selected organization in the specific period (last three years);
  • An analytical assessment of the business performance of the selected organization in the specific period (last three years);
  • Appropriate discussion of the financial and business performance of the selected organization through the examination of the internal and external factors along with the micro and macro level factors; and
  • Providing a proper conclusion based on the performed research and analysis by keeping all the important aspects in consideration.

Key Success Factors

  • Fair knowledge on the broader categories of all the ratios;
  • Excellent knowledge and proper application of the selected accounting and business models;
  • Proper interlink between the important aspects of the selected accounting and business models through the provision of practical examples;
  • Continuous comparison of the selected organization with its competition throughout the whole discussion in the RAP;
  • Correct application of the proposed goals and objectives (that were set at the beginning or the RAP) in the appropriate sections of the RAP;
  • Correct answers to all the research questions (that were set at the beginning of the RAP) in the appropriate sections of the RAP;
  • Implementing the proper research methodology to get good results on all the proposed goals and objectives (that were set at the beginning or the RAP); and
  • Ensure proper flow of information during the discussion by keeping up all the requirements of the topic.
  • Give a logical conclusion of the whole work process at the end of the Research Report by having all the requirements of the topic in consideration.

Major benefits for choosing this topic

  • The student can implement the knowledge of this topic in practical, real life conditions;
  • The student will get familiar with the proper application of the various accounting and business models; and
  • The various techniques learned by this topic will undoubtedly help the student in their professional life.

Possible limitations faced by the student under this topic

  • The student may be ignored by the management of the selected organization, and not be provided with the necessary information due to different factors like confidentiality issue, unavailability of authorized personnel etc. Overall, this topic can easily complete without using primary sources of information;
  • The student can face lack of quality information on this topic and may lack ideas for improving the progress of the project (due to improper research approach); and
  • The student may face confusion by the gathered research material (verbal or documented) that is provided by primary sources with the material derived from other research done according to the requirements of this topic.

Suitable organisation under this topic

The most suitable organization where the student can properly undertake OBU RAP topic 8 is the one where the student has appropriate access to secondary sources of information. The selection of the proper organization is essential as the student needs to have a better understanding of the sector of operation of the selected organization. Upon the knowledge of the selected organization and its sector of operation, the student can interconnect the different aspects of the general operation of the selected organization with the prescribed requirements of this topic that will, in turn, help them obtain good grades on their RAP.

The student needs to address the following aspects during the selection of proper organization for their RAP.

  • The OBU prescribed requirements in choosing an organization in these sectors: Mining, Health Care Providers and Electronic & Electrical Equipment;
  • The student’s interest in relation to the general business of the organization;
  • Access to information from reliable secondary sources (primary sources are not significant in topic 8);
  • Comprehension of the general operations of the organization;
  • Comprehension of the associated sector of the selected organization; and
  • The basic understanding of the requirements of the selected topic and the proper application in the proposed organization at the beginning of the preparation of the RAP.

Suggested approach for this topic

If the student chooses OBU RAP topic 8, a proper plan must be set from the beginning so the student can conduct all the necessary tasks in a proper manner. The student needs to have an in-depth understanding of the major requirements of this topic and needs to analytically evaluate the obligatory required aspect by establishing a detailed strategy of operation. The student needs to assess the processes of action that they will follow in order to meet all the necessary requirements, this is possible by a thorough planning in the beginning of the RAP.

The student needs to prepare the overall contents of their RAP under topic 8 so that they flow in a logical sense, and cover all the tasks that the student needs to adhere to. The prepared contents will enable the student to stay on the proper track from the beginning of the project, and also the student can estimate the time factors of planned versus actual time necessary for completing the various tasks required for the proper completion of the RAP.

After finalizing the overall content for the RAP under topic 8, the student needs to start gathering the proper information per the requirements of the topic. The student needs to evaluate all the gathered information in an analytical manner through consultation with their Project Mentor. The feedback from the Project Mentor on the key areas of the RAP is essential in the proper completion of the RAP, so the student needs to regularly share their thoughts with their Mentor in order to get the proper guidance in a timely manner.

To sum up, there is no 100% guaranteed approach for topic 8. There is the broad level approach described above, but the detailed approach under topic 8 varies greatly on the students’ perception of the requirements of the topic along with the available information on the selected organization. Whichever approach you choose to follow, you need to keep getting guidance from your Project Mentor at every step of the way so you will meet all the prescribed information of this topic and get good grades on your RAP.

Availability of Information

The student needs to complete their RAP based on the information provided straight from the management of the selected organization (the primary sources of information) along with various other relevant secondary sources of information (online sources, newspapers, journals, books, etc). For topic 8, the availability of primary sources of information is not essential, as this topic can be completed without getting direct information from the selected organization. The student needs to be sure that he has access to enough information on the selected organization from reliable secondary sources, and will not be facing major issues in obtaining this information.

The student needs to carefully consider selecting this topic for their RAP, as all the requirements of this topic are only met if the student has access to enough relevant information on the selected organization. If there are any issues in providing the required information during the preparatory stage of the RAP, the student should consider choosing a different topic, as the improper information can lead to low-quality RAP and low grades or even failure of the RAP.

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