OBU RAP Topic 7 – Research an organization that has undergone a major change. Analyse and evaluate whether the change has had a positive impact on business and financial performance



Organisations undergo major changes when they decide to change their structure, strategies, culture, policies, technology, or even their core values to improve their performance and business growth. The most common changes happening around the companies recently relate to technology upgrades and digital transformations.

Changes are particularly important for every organisation if they want to stay relevant in their industry. Companies need to stay on top of their game and grow their businesses.

A major change could be

  • Business combinations
  • Restructuring
  • Development of a significant new market or sector
  • Digital transformation
  • Expansion of the company to new regions
  • Increasing market share
  • Launching new campaigns
  • Solving all the problems faced by the internal management
  • Since every company is unique the reasons to incorporate organisational changes can be endless.

Change is essential for organisations to survive, and companies cannot compete without it. In this rapidly changing environment, companies that fail to adapt often fail. Making changes to the company makes it more competitive and prone to growth. It also becomes a great place to work for the employees.

Restructuring or reorganization could be a significant change that companies make to their financial and operational structures to achieve greater efficiency and profit or to adapt to the changing market.

The business combination is another major transaction that means that an acquirer takes control of one or more businesses. It often has incredibly positive impacts on the business and financial performance of the company as it means that the company now has a larger market share, which puts the competitors in a weaker position as the company now holds a dominant market share.

Many companies have turned out to be extremely successful after implementing changes to their organizational structures. Detailed research on these changes and how they proved to be positive for the business and financial performance of the company must be carried out to write on this topic.  This topic requires a great deal of research and dedication from the student.

Key features/requirements

The major requirements of this topic are as follows. 

  • Identification of an organization that has gone through major changes in its structure or policies.
  • Identification of the major changes that have been enacted in the selected organization
  • Assessing the financial and business aspects of the selected organization
  • Evaluating the positive impact of the enacted changes on the business and financial performance of the selected organization
  • Creating a link between the changes made and the positive results shown by the business and financial aspects of the organization

Key success factors

Following are the main factors that need to be considered to ensure a successful RAP submission

  • Selecting an organization that has undergone major changes
  • Identification of major changes made in the selected organization
  • Justifying the fact that the changes you considered are major
  • Consideration of the business and financial performance before the major changes
  • Consideration of the business and financial performance after the major changes
  • Access to the internally generated information
  • Permission from the management to use the internally generated information
  • In-depth knowledge of all the changes whether it is restructuring, entering into a new market or a business combination
  • In-depth knowledge of the reasons for these changes that were necessary for the company
  • Demonstrating a clear understanding of the industry and its competitive peers
  • Adequate application of the selected goals and objectives that were set at the beginning of the RAP in the proper sections of RAP
  • The implementation of the correct research methodology to get good results on all the selected goals and objectives that were put in place at the beginning of the RAP
  • Keeping the discussion logical by keeping all the objectives in mind
  • Using reliable and appropriate sources for data gathering
  • Properly referencing the information gathered according to the Harvard referencing style as told by the OBU.
  • Usage of suitable business models to study different aspects of employee behaviour and its reasons
  • A comparison to another organisation or the industry sector average

Accounting and business models for topic 7

Here is a list of models that can be used

  • SWOT: SWOT model can be used to study the before and after changes in the company’s performance. It is a situational analysis or assessment that helps us to study the factors like strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats that are related to the company under consideration
  • RATIO ANALYSIS: It is a quantitative method of gaining insight into a company’s operational efficiency, profitability, solvency or liquidity by studying its financial statements. The types of ratio analysis include profitability ratios, liquidity ratios, solvency ratios, turnover ratios and earnings ratios. Any of the ratios can be used to analyse the financial position of the company over some time. It is essential that pre and post change ratios are studied.
  • Business process change (BPC): Business process change is the modification to the way the business operations are carried out in the company. It is done to achieve a competitive advantage in performance through changes in the relationships between management, information, technology, organizational structure and people. It is a strategy-driven step to ensure that the business innovates according to the current needs. It ensures that profitability is improved with reduced costs and more efficient performance. The 4 core steps for changed business leadership are planning, initiating, implementing and stabilizing.
  • Stakeholder analysis: It involves several tools that are used to study the needs and expectations of all the key stakeholders such as shareholders, government, suppliers and consumers. Before a change is implemented, the interest of all the stakeholders is considered using this analysis technique.

These models can be used effectively to study the pre and post-effects of the changes made in the company and how the company positively improved its business and financial operations by applying these changes.

Major benefits of choosing topic 7

Students need to know all the benefits that will be gained by the research to stay motivated. Some of the benefits are as follows

  • Students will get to know about the key changes that can drive the success of the company
  • Students will learn about the relevant companies and the industry of the selected company
  • The insight will be gained regarding all the business models used to study change
  • Students will learn about the restructuring and business combinations in the selected companies
  • A detailed study regarding the company’s operational and financial performance of the employees will equip the students for their professional careers
  • Students can apply their theoretical knowledge to real-world situations.
  • A critical analysis of the company’s business and financial performance will help to sharpen the required skills needed by an accountant
  • It will help the students acquire business acumen

Possible limitations faced by the students while researching topic 7

The main aim of conducting research is to set up new facts or confirm the outcomes of the previous research. It enables us to gain new knowledge regarding the subject. However, while preparing for OBU thesis research students face many problems.

Some of the key limitations are as follows

General Limitations

  • Research method: Students need to have a clear understanding of the research methods. Mainly the research methods are not relevant or reliable as students are not trained in different methodologies. Simply replicating the knowledge available online or from different sources is not wise. There is a lack of basic knowledge regarding the correct methods of research.
  • Overlapping information: overlapping information is often obtained as a result of excessive research through different sources. Each source has its own story to tell. Students often get confused regarding the facts and statements

Access to management: Students may not be able to get authorization to talk to the higher management and also some information may not be provided due to confidentiality issues.

  • Interaction between the subject company and student: The management of the company may not have enough time to share with the students.
  • Time constraints: It is without a doubt that students need to complete their RAP before the deadline hits. The collection of primary data must be started early on so a quality RAP can be ensured.
  • Data collection process: The different ways of collecting data presents a strong limitation. If a student conducts an interview person to person or if he does it over the phone, both can have different effects on the interview. Hence, this data limitation must be reflected upon

Specific Limitations

  • Permission letter from management: It is possible that the management may not provide the permission letter for primary data collection to the student as companies are not fond of sharing their internal information.

Suitable organisation for topic 7

The most suitable organisation is the one in which primary data collection is possible. It is very crucial to the successful RAP submission of this topic. It is not possible to write on this topic without extensive primary research. Selecting a company which is established enough so that its performance and financial position to be studied over some time is necessary. To make a high-quality RAP, it is essential that students choose a company whose operations are easily understood by the student, and he can make connections between diverse topics.

The following factors should be kept in mind while choosing a company for RAP:

  • The general interest of the student in the company
  • The amount of information available for the company
  • Access to the internal management of the company
  • Access to reliable secondary sources of information
  • Familiarity with the industry sector associated with the company

The most appropriate organisation for topic 7 would be the ones that have successfully implemented changes to produce better results. To get more information about the companies that have implemented changes and how they did it, click on the link below


Suggested approach for topic 7

Before starting your research, you should understand the assignment. The guidelines mentioned in the information pack should be read. The word count and length should be looked upon. What kind of sources are required by the topic, primary or secondary? This topic requires the use of internally generated or primary information. Secondary information could be used. The style of citation ‘Harvard referencing’ should be understood by the students. All the other requirements and directions made by the OBU must be complied with. After choosing this topic, a proper mind map must be made from the start, so the student conducts all the required tasks in a proper and timely manner. All the major requirements and aspects of the topic should be considered thoroughly so that a strategy can be devised to meet those requirements. A research methodology and all reliable websites and authentic sources should be noted down. The style of referencing must be kept in mind while researching this topic to pass the OBU RAP. A comparison organisation might be helpful for topic 7.

In Part 1- (Research objectives and overall research approach), Students need to make a table of contents and a title page mentioning the ACCA reg number and the selected topic. Part 1 mostly contains the introduction and the objectives of the RAP. The objectives should be consistent with the research of the project. Your objective is to find major changes so the overall approach must be related to finding changes and studying impacts.  Your personal aims and goals are not required to be a part of this section. The reasons for selecting the topic must be jotted down. The organisation which is suitable for topic 7 and why that organisation was deemed appropriate for the topic.  The aims and objectives of the project should be explained in a number of points. Research questions are written in detail, and it targets the specific areas that need to be researched. Usually, there are 3 or 4 research questions. Consideration of all these points is important in part 1. These instructions may be followed to move strongly ahead.

Part 2- (Information gathering/accounting and business techniques) is a very crucial section as all your understanding of the business and accountancy models is analyzed here. A quality explanation of the used models or any other frameworks and analysis of all their possible limitations must be performed. The most structured way of representing section 2 is by first mentioning the sources of information that were used to acquire the data for research on topic 7. Topic 7 relates to the major changes that took place in any company so both internal and external information can be used. Students are advised to select only those resources that they can understand easily. Main sources can be the consolidated financial statements in case of business combinations, transaction documents, restructuring plans, new market trends etc. Limitations of these sources such as limited access must be discussed.  Next, you would list down all the business and accountancy models and their possible limitations. SWOT model and PESTEL are the most appropriate for this topic. Business process change and stakeholder analysis are the most suitable models for studying changes in this topic. To find out more about the selection of respective models for topic 7, kindly refer to section ‘Accounting and business models for topic 7’ above.  Word count is to be prioritized which is 1800-2000 words.

In part 3, there is a further evaluation, analysis, and conclusion. It should contain a description of the results obtained and all the limitations. Further research with examples and comparisons between the two companies is done. It is the most critical section, and most students fail in it if they are not in the hands of an experienced mentor. An analysis with the help of conclusions drawn from the applications of models is done. The impacts of restructuring, business combination, and new sectors are discussed clearly. whether the company’s market share increased by acquiring a subsidiary, if the new markets brought extra revenues, or the restructuring plan proved to be beneficial for strategic goals. Moreover, the financial analysis must also be done in detail. Ratios pre and post-change must be calculated and presented with the help of graphs. The trend analysis over three years can be performed.  4500 words must be written to ensure a detailed analysis.

Every student takes his approach regarding the given topic, and this is only an extremely broad version of what can be done. The detailed approach depends on the student’s perception of the topic and the sources of information being used.

Suggested approach for SLS

The meetings with the mentor must be planned at the start of the RAP and a track of those meetings must be kept in a diary as it will help later on to write the SLS. All new knowledge gained must be included in your SLS. The time required to conduct effective research needs to be calculated at the start and a timetable should be kept in place. Religiously following the requirements and keeping track of the time is necessary to pass the RAP. Two questions required by the OBU in SLS should be answered well. Any deviation in answers will not be tolerated. you should not get into the description of meetings and rather write about your learning process. Consultation with the mentor is a must. If any issue arises it can be solved by discussing it with your project guide.  It comprises 1800 to 2000 words.

Sources of information

There are two types of sources that can be used, primary and secondary.

Primary sources are the data that you collect on your own and it is considered first-hand. This can be done by conducting interviews, surveys or having participants fill in questionnaires. Students can collect primary data for this topic like the details of the business combination, restructuring plans etc.

Secondary information on the other hand refers to already available and published information. Using it to your own advantage by checking the authenticity of these sources can be very beneficial for the RAP.  All other sources of information such as online websites, journals, and articles are considered secondary sources of information. For using a secondary source, the reliability must be checked and then the information should be put in the RAP. This topic can be carried out well only with the help of secondary information. Information in the RAP must be through a relevant source and its content should also be relevant to the topic. The sources of information play a crucial role in producing a good RAP that is based on facts and figures. If reliable sources are not found, then a student must consider choosing a different topic for which information is more easily available.

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