The COMA Global Business Challenge Is designed to give a taste of the boardroom and of business. You are cast In the role of a consultant reporting to a board of a fictitious company. You are presented with some background Information on the company and its industry in the form of ‘case study material. ‘ You can do whatever you want with this in terms of analysis and discussion. Then, as a consultant, you will be presented with some details behind a variety of current issues facing the company. This is called the ‘scenario’.
These issues may or may not have been mentioned in the case study material. Your role is to produce a report to the board that priorities these current issues, discusses and advises upon them. Wednesday and Thursday Groups: Each group Is to prepare the answer for the Issue specified below. These will be presented In class on the assigned day. I will give you some time In class to look at this but I am expecting (hoping! ) that you will do some work before class as well. Prepare: Fault In new flying spaceship toy (Problem and Ethical Issue) Group 1 : Bosky Tests Nikkei Aids Group 2 :
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Prepare: Launch of new range of toys for 9-11 age group (Evaluation) Group 3: Puma Boeing Monika Scrabbles Group 4: Prepare: Near-shoring proposal in Volcanic Hounded Apple Group 5: Group 6: Sony Coca Cola Late delivery of Christmas product (Problem and Ethical Issue) Group 7: Prepare: Volkswagen Samsung Group 8: Ford Walt Disney Assignment for 12th and 13th March, 2014 Issues facing the Business There are two types of business issue that could appear in the scenario -a problem and a proposal. The approach normally taken for each Is different and suggestions are shown here: A Problem:
Explain the Impact of the problem The objective here Is to focus the management In terms of what Is Important In the issue in order to galvanism them into action. Consider any financial (backed up by reputation impacts. You should back up your points with real world examples where possible. Discuss potential solutions to the problems You should identify either two or three potential solutions and express your opinion on them. Provide an analysis of each of the potential solutions such that the reader can make a decision whether or not to go with them.
This section is therefore, a brief assessment of the alternatives and not a set of recommendations. Recommendations All reports need an output. Outputs take the form of the consultant expressing an opinion on the steps the business should now take. Hence you need to make recommendations. The style of recommendations will differ for problems and proposals: Problems: Select from your alternative solutions the one (or two) that you feel the business should follow. You should then expand on the solution(s) to provide a detailed justified action plan.
Consider who, where, when, how and what in your recommendations. You may feel that in some cases actions should be split between short-term and long-term needs. This is fine. A Proposal: Background to the proposal Explain the theoretical background to the proposal. Again you are trying to focus the managers’ attention on what the proposal attempts to achieve. They should then be in the right mind set to read your assessment of the proposal and hence make an informed decision. Discussion of the proposal You need to assess the proposal made.
Remember it is for the board to decide what the most appropriate course of action is to be. It is your Job (in this section) to iscuss the proposal so that management understands all the factors it needs to consider. There are options here as regards approach: For strategic proposals (new products or new markets for example) you can assess the market’s suitability, the acceptability and feasibility. Suitability is a market assessment I. E. Is the market appropriate for this organization. Acceptability is the stakeholders’ return and risk assessment, which tends to focus on shareholders as the principle stakeholder.
Other stakeholders (if important) could also be considered. Feasibility considers whether the business has the resources to undertake the reports. For an Operational proposal you can simply discuss the factors surrounding the decision or even detail the advantages and disadvantages of it. Operational proposals include for example a proposal on the finance arrangements of the business or a new bonus scheme suggestion. Recommendations proposals: Proposals You must with Justification: Accept the proposal or reject it as it stands.
A third option is to suggest amendments to the proposal as stated If you accept then you should detail any significant proposal then you should state why and indicate what you recommend the business would do as an alternative. You can of course reject on the grounds a better deal might be possible but you must say what that might be. Note: in all cases recommendations should: Be specific, achievable, actionable, commercially realistic, and strategically sound. Be decisive -tell management what to do. Do not set management objectives (e. G. “ensure that you improve your controls”) but tell them how, what, where and why!
Do not merely say that management ought to ‘investigate’ – that is your Job and this report is the result of that investigation – theories if you have to. Ethical issues You need to demonstrate you understand important ethical issues facing the business. Your report should: Explain the ethical dilemma. Be careful to restrict yourself to the ethical issues and not get drawn in to other related business issues. For example it may enhance your reputation or improve sales to behave ethically, but these are business advantages of ethical behavior.
Businesses should behave ethically regardless of business consequences. Ethical issues concern amongst others such things as: confidentiality duty of care conflicts of interest, honesty, objectivity,freedom from bias COMA issue ethical guidance and this can be found on the COMA global website. ;Give advice on how to resolve the ethical issue. As with all recommendations, be specific and forthright. Sitting on the fence will come across poorly. You should address at least two ethical issues fully. The distinction between a business issue and an ethical issue is important.
A business issue is one that directly affects revenue, costs or profit both now or in the immediate future. It is one that is significant and where there is a clear and present ink between it and the financial performance of the business. An ethical issue is one that presents a moral dilemma to the management. They have a choice of action and so normally an ethical dilemma is not one that is governed by tight legislation. Common ethical issues surround a duty of care to a stakeholder, confidentiality, conflict of interest, unfairness, lack of objectivity and so on.
Procrastination of the main issues facing the business: we will deal with this in class Any consultant will add value by taking the issues facing the business and dealing with the most important ones first. This is a key skill off management accountant. Issues that might be financially significant, strategically important or simply urgent could all rank as items that must be dealt with soon. You are expected to decide for yourself what you think the important aspects are in the scenario and write about them in the report in the order of importance.
A procrastination section in the report can be used to Justify your order if you wish. The layout for which could be as follows: What is the issue? Ranking -why is this issue more important than your next choice? Create the need for management action or decision e. . ‘thus management must decide whether to accept the proposal or not’ or ‘thus management will need to develop a course of action to reassure stakeholder concerns. ‘ There is no need for this section to be very long as it merely Justifies the order in your report Case study Review 5th and 6th March: you have already undertaken this analysis this week.
Below is a summary of what you have undertaken. The main idea behind the case study material is to ensure that the consultant understands the business upon which he is advising (this is no less than would be necessary in a real tuition). Accordingly, you should begin by reading and analyzing this case study material. Analysis can take many forms and provided here is some brief guidance on areas to consider and approaches you could take: What – so what analysis: note down the key facts from each section of the case study material (this is the ‘what’), then consider the implications of that fact (the ‘so what’. For example suppose you were told that the business did not have a marketing director (the ‘what’. ) The implication here is that the business may not grow to its full potential and may miss UT on potential opportunities that arise (this is the ‘so what’. ) SOOT analysis: the strengths weaknesses opportunities and threats of a business. This tool is probably essential in most business analyses (and certainly for this exercise. ) Strategic analysis: there are many technical tools open to accountants that can be used to understand the strategic position of a business.
Details of these tools can be found on the internet or any strategic management text book. Commonly, if you are concerned about: the market growth potential – do a PEST analysis the competitiveness in the market – o a Porter’s 5 Forces analysis the current strategic approach – do a Porter’s generic strategy analysis the potential strategic development – do an Insofar growth vector matrix the position and power of the key stakeholders – what the key drivers of the revenue and profit are – identify the critical success factors The objective here is to understand what the business is doing so that you can better advise them.
Equally, reference to these tools is useful in a report to support an argument or suggestion being made. 1 ; Financial analysis: a company’s finances need to be understood as it helps you give better advice. For example there would be little point suggesting expansion too business if it had no cash and little prospect of borrowing any. 2 Financial analysis is best performed in sections; looking at profitability, liquidity and risk position.