Get Summer 2014 Right First Time with tutor2u Exam Coaching & Revision Workshops
Poundland, the fast-growing discount retailer where everything is for sale at £1, looks like it might float its shares on the stock market in the near future.
Poundland is currently 75% owned by venture capital firm Warberg Pincus with the remaining shares split between over 100 Poundland management and employees. The latest income statement published by Poundland makes for impressive reading.read more...»
There is nothing that better epitomises the concept of being entrepreneurial than trading - buying and selling - hopefully profitably!
That's the idea behind The Trading Game - an interactive teaching and learning resource that tutor2u have developed to support OCR's new qualification in entrepreneurship - Being Entrepreneurial.read more...»
Some of you will be starting a new business course soon, and looking at the concept of a limited company.
Stated simply, a company is a type of business in which ownership is split between shareholders. The more shares you own, the larger your cut of the profits the company makes. When a company makes profits, managers have to decide: should those earnings be retained (ploughed back into the business) or paid out to the shareholders as a dividend?read more...»
There is profit to be made in the diet and fitness industry. But, do the risks outweigh the rewards for franchisees looking to run local classes?
This article in the Daily Mail will not make pleasant reading for the Rosemary Conley Diet & Fitness franchise, particularly if they are looking to recruit new franchisees. We should always question the validity of the data included in the article and perhaps the motives for publishing it. Nevertheless, for business students it contains some very useful insights into the risks involved in investing in a franchise.read more...»
Harriet Green's strategy for Thomas Cook looks like it might become a classic case study in how to achieve a successful turnaround for a business with a strong brand and customer base but a weak balance sheet (gearing too high).
Before Green could get the balance sheet right through a refinancing, she had to get the business right first. She needed to change the organisational structure and improve profitability and medium-term cash flow through a strategy of retrenchment. This has been a painful process but it made it much easier when Thomas Cook approached the stock market to raise new share capital (equity) and reduce the amount of debt.
This short interview with Harriet Green is packed full with great A2 business studies materials as she explains the basics of her turnaround strategy.read more...»
Setting up a business is hard enough. Setting it up in this economic climate is nearly impossible. So entrepreneurs are having to seek out some imaginative solution. With banks seemingly reluctant to lend to new and smaller businesses, start ups are having to be more imaginative in how they raise cash to get going. This Channel 4 news report looks at the growth of unregulated peer to peer lending such as Zopa, Rate Setter, Funding Circle and KickStarter.
The UK’s peer-to-peer lending market remains small in the context of total commercial bank lending but it has trebled in size in just three years. According to a new report from the Open Data Institute, "lenders have been attracted by the relatively high rate of returns available by lending in this market, given the current low yield in bank and other conventional debt instruments."
The textbook section on finance is sometimes a bit far from the mark when describing how firms (especially the biggest) raise finance in reality. Several years have passed since the ‘Credit Crunch’ of 2007/08 and big problems remain. Business lending has now been falling steadily for four years, and is 20% lower than in 2009.read more...»
This new revision quiz on Breakeven Basics is designed for GCSE & equivalent courses.
One of the strengths and a key component in the Co-Op Bank's USP after recent banking problems - sub-prime lending, collapse of Northern Rock and LIBOR rate fixing, was its emphasis of ethical banking.
This revision quiz looks at the basics of stock management and its role in lean production.
Seeking a way to make costs, revenue and profits interesting for my business students and get them digging deep into the reality of cost control, revenue generation I developed the "Shocker or Cracker?" activity.
This requires students to conduct independent research within the classroom using their own electronic devices (laptop, tablet or samrtphone) and helps to generate a healthy sense of competition.
There has been increasing debate about the merits of adopting a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policy within schools and colleges so I thought I'd give it a go...read more...»
Whenever you are investigating a firm’s accounts – perhaps using ratio analysis – you quickly realise that the answers you’re generating only really make sense when you compare them against something, like last year’s figures, or those of a rival.
My students are looking at a case study (OCR F297) in which a firm is making a return on capital of approximately 11%. We were wondering if that was a ‘good’ return or not. I’ve come across an article that directly answers that question, and raises some other points that offer a revealing insight into the health of Britain’s businesses.read more...»
Some interesting finance news here, since Apple don’t plan to spend their famous cash mountain on a conventional purchase. Instead, they plan to raise dividends and buy back their own shares. Why?read more...»
A classic example here of how earning a low contribution per unit can lead to big problems for a business if it does not sell high-enough volumes - particularly when fixed costs are high.
Nintendo's new "next-generation" console retails in the key US market for a selling price of $299. However, the (variable) cost of the components used and assembly are pretty close to the selling price, which leaves little if any scope for Nintendo to make a contribution on each console unit sold. Don't forget, it also needs to allow its retail and other distributors to earn a satisfactory margin too.
Of course Nintendo can recoup much of the cost back through lucrative royalty payments from games-developers who are licenced to develop for the new console.
But the big problem for Nintendo would be if the Wii U fails to sell in large quantities. The early indications of consumer demand do not look good...
This excellent short video from CNN takes a look at the variable costs of making the Wii U.read more...»
Many AS Business candidates are asked about this question, and perhaps one of the most helpful ways of looking at this topic is seeing what happens when things go wrong. The latest headache was a short disruption only this week at RBS, and is covered by the BBC and The Guardian.read more...»
Sony has sold part of its heritage and culture as part of Kazou Hirai's dramatic turnaround strategy with the sale and leaseback of one of its main buildings in Tokyo for 111.1 billion yen (£794m)
According to Sony's official press release regarding the property sale:
"Sony is transforming its business portfolio and reorganizing its assets in an effort to strengthen its corporate structure. This sale was conducted as a part of this reorganization."
This isn't the first time that Sony has opted for the use of sale and leaseback as a way of raising finance. in January 2013 Sony raised $1.1bn from the sale and leaseback of its corporate headquarters in New York.
The asset sales are designed to generate cash and repay Sony's high debts, which in turn are part of a major restructuring programme introduced by Hirai. He came into the job in Spring 2012 stating that "Sony must change: Sony will change".
Could businesses rediscover an enthusiasm for mergers, which was largely lost after the last merger bubble burst in the run up to the financial
crisis of 2008?
According to The Economist, some of the right conditions are in place. Interest rates remain very low, and most mergers are built on the back of borrowed money. At the same time (to the surprise of many) a lot of firms are sitting on vast cash reserves. Perhaps all that is needed now is the appetite for risk that is probably behind many of these bold moves, at least in the past.read more...»
This is a useful short video from the BBC which illustrates the process of business angel investing.
There is a strong flow of entrepreneurs who attempt to raise capital by pitching their companies to so-called angel investors. So what are the investors looking for before they part with their cash? And how helpful is the process for the entrepreneurs themselves?read more...»
Many seasoned industry observers believe that RIM's survival hopes rest on the recent launch of the Z10 - the new Blackberry smartphone designed to compete directly with the iPhone 5 and Samsung's range.
RIM needs the new phone to generate some pretty significant profits and a key part of that will be achieving a strong gross profit margin in a highly competitive, price-sensitive market.
In this video, the basic manufacturing unit costs of the Z10 have been analysed and compared with the iPhone 5. What are the results?read more...»
A key part of effective cash flow management is having the right people managing the cash!
In this video, Innocent Drinks co-founder, Adam Balon speaks at a recent business seminar on their experience of managing the cash flows from customers (retailers) in the early days of Innocent. Innocent Drinks got into some serious cash flow problems arising from poor financial control over working capital management. The key learning point - make sure that the people involved in financial management are of high quality.read more...»
I've been on this topic before, since every year we're updated with a 'rich list' of European football clubs, and I often ask my students what this means. Everybody understands how financial success and success on the pitch are often (but not always) very closely linked, so it's a question worth asking.read more...»
You might have read that blog entry a recently where we tried to make the case for a business cutting the amounts paid to shareholders in dividends in order to conserve cash and/or invest in projects.
Well it looks like Stephen Elop must read the Business Studies blog (thanks Stephen) because that's exactly what he and the Nokia board have just decided to do!read more...»
An accrual is an amount used in an accounting period which will not be paid for until the next accounting period.
In final accounts accrued expenses are: -
- added to the expense (from trial balance) before listing in the Income Statement
- shown as a current liability in the balance sheet
This ensures the Income Statement records costs incurred for the year instead of amounts paid. The expense is adjusted to relate to the period covered by the Income Statement. The balance sheet shows a liability for the amount due but unpaid.read more...»
These are my top 20 definitions for you to revise based upon the exam papers of the last few years. Each definition is usually worth 2 or possibly 3 marks.
Exam Tip: Remember to apply your knowledge to questions & quote figures, details from the questions or give examples to fully demonstrate your knowledge.read more...»
Balance Sheets are a key financial statement and learning the layout of these is a key to success in A Level Accounting. They are a snapshot at a point in time. However there is no way you can expect people to remember the layout is there?? Well, - there is and it involves Alchemy (magic).
Assets – things a business owns
– Liabilities things a business owes
= Capital – the owners investment
When you make yourself a sandwich you have bread on the top and bottom to hold the filling in. Being an Accountant I’m a bit odd so I recommend a Current Sandwich! (or a ‘Butty’ to those Tutor2u northerners!)
Students of Accounting regularly struggle with Income Statements layouts and its vital this is overcome by you as these are fundamental to your success in Units 1, 2 & 3. These can easily be worth 15-25% of the paper. Here are the key components broken down and explained: -read more...»
Shareholders can be hard to manage and difficult to please.
On the one hand, a firm owes a debt of gratitude to shareholders for putting their money where their mouth is and backing the business with their cash.
However, shareholders – like all investors – look for a return on their shareholding. The return comes in two ways: (1) a dividend paid (in cash) out of retained profits and (2) an increase in the value of the shares (a “capital gain”).
For many quoted companies, the shareholder dividend is a permanent feature of doing business with investors. A dividend is typically paid twice each year: an interim (usually smaller) dividend paid after 6 months of the financial year; followed by a final dividend once the full results for the year are worked out.
The payment of dividends enables you (and investors) to calculate a key shareholder ratio: the dividend yield.
Dividend yield is simply the annual dividend paid divided by the average share price over the period covered. This gives a good indication of the percentage return on investment that a shareholder gains just from the dividend each year.
So, for example, an annual dividend payment of £0.50 per share for shares that were priced on average at £10.00 each would be a dividend yield of 5%.
So far, so good. But can you see a potential problem from the point of view of management?read more...»
Bank reconciliation is where you check that your bank statement (the banks version of your bank account) matches your own cash book (your version of the bank account). Its good practice to do so because: -
- · We can correct errors we make in our cash book
- · We can notify the bank of errors they may have made
- · We can update the cash book with items we have missed
- · We can identify out of date cheques and cancel them in the cash book
- · We can identify dishonoured cheques and update the cash book accordingly
- · We can use it as a deterrent to fraud by comparing our version to the banks independent version
People often switch off when you start talking about double entry book keeping. The real problem is people look at their bank statements and, aside from the pain of having £0.26 sat in there, it’s written from the banks perspective. This means many people think the debit and credit are to be written that way. It’s a fundamental skill needed to do well in many of the accounting units.
Key point to remember
- Double entry means that you do two entries (shock!) – in separate accounts
- Every Account has two sides – a debit side and credit side
- Debit means to receive. The receiving account gets the debit in its account
- Credit means to give. The giving account gets the credit entry in its account
My first Tutor2u blog will, like most of the others (sadly there will be more!), focus on certain parts of Accounting. There will be regular mention of ‘easy marks’. These are the ones which turn a C grade to a B grade and so on. It’s a theme I use to make sure my students maximise their marks.
This blog is on arguably one of the easiest part of the AS Accounting syllabus. Yet it’s one which students get wrong continually. Source documents are a continual source of frustration to me that students don’t pick up these relatively easy marks.
The need to stay 100% in context when writing BUSS3 answers is well appreciated by A grade students. As we've said many times, good application opens the door to good analysis and pushes student answers up to the highest levels of evaluation.
Nowhere is this more important than in the use of investment appraisal. This is because investment appraisal is all about making forecasts about the future. Those forecasts absolutely have to take account of the nature of the case study firm and the market in which it operates. Investment appraisal calculations also have to make use of data based on assumptions usually made by the case study management. The A* answer for a BUSS3 answer that makes use of investment appraisal evidence should therefore make best use of the opportunity to question the assumptions made by management and the reliability of the forecast data used.read more...»
What is the right level of gearing for a firm? Read many outdated business studies textbooks and they probably warn that gearing is too high if it is over 50% and that such “high gearing” is a warning sign of potential financial problems for a firm.
Well, possibly. But I’ve come across many firms in my business past that have thrived with levels of gearing much higher than 100%. In fact, when you look at most venture capital-backed takeovers or management buy-outs you’ll find that most of the funding used to finance the business is debt. Many well-established multinationals operate with gearing well above 50% and investors hardly bat an eyelid?
So how can high gearing be good for a business?read more...»
This revision presentation looks at the key concepts of business costs. What are the main types of business cost and how can they be categorised? Why is the distinction between variable and fixed costs so important? Why do new businesses often find it hard to estimate the costs of the business - particularly in the startup business plan?read more...»
Every startup should consider the likely future cash flows of the enterprise in the first few weeks and months of trading. This revision presentation takes students through the basics of the cash flow forecast.read more...»
A brief introduction here to two key ratios that focus on the returns that shareholders earn from their investment - dividend per share and dividend yield.
In this revision presentation we look at liquidity ratios - which assess whether a business has sufficient cash or equivalent current assets to be able to pay its debts as they fall due.
This introductory revision presentation guides students through the concept of basic investment appraisal. It examines the nature of capital investment spending and then outlines three common approaches to investment appraisal: payback period, net present value and accounting rate of return. Some key evaluative points relating to investment appraisal are also discussed.
This revision presentation for business students provides an overview of the finance-raising options for an established business. It covers concepts such as share issues, sale and leaseback, trade credit and venture capital.
In this revision presentation, we provide an overview of financial efficiency rations - which assess how effectively a business is managing its assets.
This revision presentation helps guide students through the calculation and interpretation of three key profitability ratios: gross profit margin; operating profit margin and return on capital employed (ROCE)read more...»
The basic structure and content of a balance sheet is explained in the revision presentation below.
You may also find this revision note on the balance sheet helpful.
Once you've worked through the revision materials on balance sheet basics, have a go at this revision quiz to test your knowledge and understanding.read more...»
The revision presentation below outlines the basic structure of the income statement and also explains the meaning of “profit quality”.
You may also find this revision note on the income statement useful.
Once you have worked through the revision note and presentation, try this revision quiz on income statements.read more...»
Here’s an amusing one to add to Business Studies end of term competitions. I covered the topic last year and asked which Hollywood celebrities gave the lowest return on the investment studios made in them. In other words, for every $ that the star was paid for appearing in a movie, how much did the film make at the box office? Who is the most ‘overpaid’? Have a few guesses before you look at the list….read more...»
They survive - but only just. They have debts and relatively high gearing, but with the support of creditors and low interest rates these businesses are just about able to service their debts. They are barely profitable and not growing, but they trade on, and on.
Who are they? Zombie businesses. And one view is that zombie businesses are a significant factor in holding back economic growth in the UK.
Reuters have uncovered some interesting figures relating to Starbuck's UK operation - is it making a profit or not?read more...»
This energetic revision activity covers knowledge but also removes students from their comfort zones and improves fitness. Warning: clasrooms may not be big enough and please remember health and safety.
Most businesses aim to grow - but not all succeed - and many are forced to reduce the scale and scope of their business activities as a deliberate act of strategy. This is known as “retrenchment” and A2 students should have an understanding of some examples of retrenchment in action. Which firms / brands were involved? What happened? And why? Here are some suggestions that students could add to their notes:read more...»
This worksheet will hopefully get students thinking about which source of finance is suitable to specific situationsread more...»
I love this kind of analysis. It's really done to help inform the investment community who like to get under the skin of the financial performance of public businesses - and there is no bigger business than Apple. But what wonderful material for us business teachers and students too!read more...»
These flashcards cover all the key sources of finance listed in Edexcel's specification, and include a brief explanation of each one. Ideal for revision or classroom activities.read more...»
Regular readers of the Business Studies blog will have noted the many examples of retrenchment which have arisen in recent years. Students who'd like an introduction to the concept of retrenchment might also find this revision presentation handy.
It pays to look out for examples of retrenchment in the business news because the stories themselves usually provide examples of wider strategic issues being faced by the firms involved. Take these three recent examples I picked up from the news in the last 7 days...read more...»
A key issue facing businesses teachers is how to introduce students to various types of profit e.g. gross, net, operating, before tax and retained. Until now, I’ve focused on gross net and retained. However, advice just issued by the OCR means a change of tack, from September 2012.
The just published OCR Guidance on Accounting Elements is essential reading for OCR centres. It clarifies how profit and loss accounts (now termed statements of competence of income or income statements), and balance sheets (or statements of financial position) are now laid out.
The document also contains OCR advice on ratios, with a commentary on interpretation particularly helpful.
The banks still refuse to lend. Venture capital (by and large) won’t touch startup finance with a bargepole. So should startups look to source the finance they need from complete strangers? The answer for many might now be yes - through crowdfunding.
Crowdfunding is a fast-growing approach to raising finance for business startups. This BBC article and video provides a great example of crowdfunding in action and also some data on the rise of crowdfunding in the UK.read more...»
Hello there, my name is Barry Bungle from Bungles Business Advisory Service.read more...»
This popular CPD course from the tutor2u team looks at how we can make the teaching and learning of finance fun! There are still a few places left on the next available course - which is in London on Monday 24 September 2012.read more...»
What a shambles! But what a fantastic case study for business teachers and students for years to come!
One year ago, LOCOG proudly endorsed a short video from G4S which trumpeted their role as the security provider for the 2012 London Olympics. The video is shown further below.
One year on, and just days before the Games begin, G4S has admitted that it is unable to meet the requirements of the contract and the Armed Forces have been required to stand in to provide the desired level of security. You couldn’t make it up.read more...»
A simply fascinating piece of analysis by the respected Asymco website here which breaks down the costs of each individual element of what goes into an iPhone. Has there ever been a better example of added value to show students - though they may be somewhat surprised by how much contribution is made on each iPhone shipped!read more...»
It is a statistic that is widely supported by research and is also likely to be used by 000’s of students as they write about the likely success or failure of a takeover or merger:
“70% + of takeovers and mergers destroy value…”
In other words – most takeovers and mergers fail. But is this the only way to measure success or failure?read more...»
As a follow up from the recent blog entry on sources of finance in the internet age comes the story of “Pebble” - a watch that connects to the iphone. Their quest for finance on kickstarter.com was successful beyond their wildest dreams! This is a great example of the use of “crowd-sourcing” as a means of raising finance.read more...»
We’ve seen that competitiveness is about advantages that enable a business to outperform its competitors. But, can competitiveness be measured and, if so, how?read more...»