Students should select one of the topics from the list below (or an alternate topic preapproved by the instructor. The essay is due in the individual’s Assignments Folder as indicated in the Course Guide/Schedule.
The essay should demonstrate a student’s ability to integrate and synthesize course concepts with selected readings to communicate his/her understanding of financial management concepts their application in organizations. The essay should also demonstrate a student’s ability to communicate as a manager. This includes proper writing style, organization, grammar, and spelling, as well as integration of course-related material. The writing style must follow the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association , 5 th edition. Citations for online sources should include the online address (URL) and access date as well as the citation for the specific reference.
Research for the paper may be conducted online using the UMUC online library as the primary source. Do not use abstracts, use full-text articles. Publications that may be relevant for the topics listed below include: Strategic Finance, The Journal of Business Finance and Accounting, CFO Magazine, Nonprofit World, Harvard Business Review, or other accounting and financial journals.
The paper should:
- Be based on your reading and research relevant to the topic.
- Be 5 to 6 double-spaced pages, plus appendices, exhibits, and references.
- Include a one-page Executive Summary immediately following the title page that includes a statement of the major issue(s) and your conclusions and specific recommendations. The content of an Executive Summary is similar to an abstract.
- Properly cite reference sources: these may include course material, information from magazines, journals, and online sources. All reference sources must have a publication date within the last three years. Students who wish to use an older source publication should contact the instructor with the request and reason.
Essay Topic List
- Ratio and Financial Statement Analysis – Your essay should critically analyze the benefits and limitations of ratio analysis, explaining what factors impact the meaningfulness of such measures and what new practices or theories may be emerging regarding the application of ratio and financial statement analysis. Emphasize practical applications and real-world use of ratios synthesizing your readings in published research or survey articles (Relevant Text Material: Parrino – Chapters 3 & 4).
- Capital Budgeting, Net Present Value, and other Decision Tools – Write an essay that analyzes the pros and cons of the commonly used measures ( NPV, IRR, PI, MIRR, DPB) and come to a conclusion based on the literature that you surveyed as to which methods are theoretically correct and those popular. Emphasize real-world practices of capital budgeting methods, including project approval processes. Synthesize the discussions in published research or survey articles (Text Material: Parrino – Chapter 10).
- Financial Management in Multinational Organizations – Write an essay that describes how multinational organizations use the financial management practices, for example use of debt, dividend policy, managerial ownership, corporate governance, etc. Topics in (1) and (2) above can be included, but the essay and references should focus on international differences and practices in corporations/organizations outside U.S.
- Financial Management in Nonprofit Organizations – Discuss financial management in nonprofit organizations and write an essay that compares and contrasts the application of financial management techniques in nonprofit and for-profit organizations. Sources of funds, use of debt, performance evaluation (efficiency in use of contributions and meeting the organization’s objectives), governance mechanisms in non-profits, etc. would be good topics/issues for discussion in the essay.
- Supply Chain Management (SCM) and Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Systems – Write an essay comparing the traditional management systems to the above two systems – in terms of differences in approaches, achieving efficiencies, cost savings, and firm profitability. Include in your essay the findings from different studies that have analyzed/examined alternative approaches to SCM and CRM (Text Material: Jiambalvo – Chapter 1).
- Cost Allocations & Activity Based Costing (ABC) – Describe the cost allocation and ABC approaches in for-profit firms (corporations) and the different ways of implementation in real-world business enterprises. Analyze ABC’s potential strengths and weaknesses within a company. Include a discussion of steps needed to ensure a successful implementation of ABC, the associated costs & benefits, efficiency gains, profitability implications, etc. (Text Material: Jiambalvo – Chapter 6).
- Costing & Pricing Decisions – Write an essay on the practice of cost allocations (particularly joint costs, sunk costs, and opportunity costs) and pricing decisions (e.g., cost-plus pricing, target costing, and activity-based pricing) in corporations. Include in your discussion the major differences in those various approaches and their appropriateness in the context of the nature of costs, industry differences, competitiveness, etc. Also relate the implications for firm’s profitability (Text Material: Jiambalvo – Chapters 7 & 8).