>> Financial Management
In finance each student is required to complete a paper that demonstrates effective communication skills, research competence, and technology fluency. The paper should demonstrate the ability to clearly communicate ideas about financial management in a professional manner and tone. School online library as a primary source, as well as industry and trade references. The paper should be created using word processing and other software programs to exhibit the student's ability to prepare technology-enhanced documents and/or presentations.
Effective communication includes appropriate writing style, organization, grammar, and spelling, as well as the ability to integrate course-related material and research. The paper should link concepts studied in the course to real-world organizations and the environments in which they operate. Research competency is evidenced by the student's ability to formulate a viable thesis or relevant research topic, select scholarly references and resources, and using sources in an ethical way to support of refute research. Technological fluency is apparent in the uses of technology in academic studies and in understanding its application in work and everyday life.
The paper should select an article from either the ABI/INFORM, Business Source Premier databases or other good sources identified in this syllabus. Your topic should cover one of the following seven subjects that have been identified as issues that have significant impact on the financial decisions of managers and that are covered in varying depth in FIN 610.
• Business Performance Management/Corporate Performance Management
• Corporate Governance & Ethics
• Disclosure and Financial Reporting
• Globalization & International Finance
• Risk Management
• The Use of Technology in Finance (I choose this)
• Value-Based Management
The paper should be 8-10 double-spaced pages and consist of the following: Introduction/summary, analysis/critical evaluation and conclusions. In addition to the primary article selected, the student needs to perform additional research to support the analysis/critical evaluation portion of the paper. At least three sources should be included in the references of your paper.
In terms of content, the paper should do the following:
1. Clearly state the issues being addressed.
For example, the student could address the recent changes in corporate governance driven by Sarbanes-Oxley legislation and new regulations promulgated by the SEC, NYSE, etc. What is the intended impact on corporate behavior and ethics and what are the prospects for success?
A paper on the use of technology in finance could explore the impact of changes in information technology and the financial impact of such changes on the structure of industries and in the ways companies compete, demonstrate how the organization's financial success is now being or will be affected in the future by the issues, e.g., costs, access to capital, revenues, risks.
2. Evaluate the position(s) taken in the article. Are there particular strengths or weaknesses in the accompanying arguments?
3. What is your assessment, given the views in the article and other research conducted? Conclusions need to be supported by solid analysis and logical reasoning.
Paper Format Guidelines
• The paper should be between 8-10 pages, plus any appendices, exhibits, and references, and prepared using word processing software.
• Appendices, exhibits, graphs, and other references may take the form of spreadsheet and/ or PowerPoint inserts that demonstrate an understanding of technology tools used in financial management and demonstrate student use of technology enhanced presentations.
• Properly cited reference sources are required. These may include course material, information from magazines, journals, and online sources. All reference sources must have a publication date no earlier than 2009. Contact the instructor for permission to use sources published prior to 2009. Note: When using online references, abstracts should not be used. Use full-text articles. The pdf version typically prints out in the same format (e.g., exact page numbers) as the article appeared in the journal.
• The paper will be graded for writing style, organization, grammar, and spelling, as well as for analysis and content. The writing style must follow the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, 6th edition. Citations for online sources should include the online address (URL) and access date as well as the citation for the specific reference. See the Student Writing Resources Page for further guidelines about form and policies.
• Post your paper in the public forum for "Completed Short Papers" by the end of week 9 (or 10 for the spring semester). In addition, the author should facilitate the threaded discussion of their paper by classmates and the instructor.
• Each student is responsible for posting substantive comments to the papers of at least three classmates. This will be counted towards the course participation grade. Failure to make the required postings will result in deductions to the participation grade.
• Late papers will be penalized five points for each day after the due date.
Information on Data Sources (if needed)
Research for the paper can be--and is strongly recommended--to be conducted online using the UMUC online library as your primary source. When you download from online library, do not use abstracts, but use full-text articles: the pdf version typically prints out in the same format (e.g., exact page numbers) as the article appeared in the journal. You may find relevant and useful information for your paper from the following UMUC library sources.
Business and Company Resource Center:
Industry rankings, financial data, and investment reports including company profiles, products and brand information, investment reports, statistics, company financial overviews, financial ratios, and business events and trends. Some sources from 1985 to the present.
Business and Industry:
Business, finance, strategy, planning, marketing, and international business journal articles from 1994 to the present.
This is an excellent database for research on company and industry information. In it you will find data about United States and international companies, including history, business, property, subsidiaries, officers, directors, long-term debt, bond ratings, capital stock, income statement, balance sheet, statements of cash flow, exchange and ticker symbol, ratios, annual stock price ranges, stock splits, dividend payment history and more. You'll also retrieve Edgar filings dating back to 1993 and updated daily as well as industry reports on selected industries. A short tutorial is at http://polaris.umuc.edu/~solson/mergent/Mergent_Excel.htm that you may want to share with faculty and students if that is the type of information they need.
In addition to the above library data sources, you may also find useful financial information from the following Internet Web sources. You may have to register for them (although they are free). In no order of priority:
• Yahoo: http://finance.yahoo.com;
• Reuters (Yahoo will refer you here): http://www.reuters.com;
• Edgar (SEC source of 10-K and other required financial reports; this is my saved "Favorite"): http://www.sec.gov/cgi-bin/srch-edgar; (EDGAR stands for Electronic Data Gathering and Retrieval)
• Hoovers (general company information): http://www.hoovers.com;
• Bloomberg (a good source of interest rate data): http://bloomberg.com/markets/rates/index.htm ;
• Moody's (bond ratings): http://www.moodys.com;
• Standard and Poors (bond ratings): http://www2.standardandpoors.com;
• New York Stock Exchange: http://www.nyse.com/;
• Bondpage (bond information): www.bondpage.com;
• Federal Reserve (interest rates): http://www.federalreserve.gov/releases/h15/update/;
• Bond Marketing Association (trade group) site: http://www.investingbonds.com