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Product code:-Project-Management-AW280



Overview:  This group assignment is designed to apply financial accounting course concepts to a real world situation.  Your assignment is to prepare a comparative analysis of 3 company’s financial health for the past 2 years.  Based on your analysis, you are to recommend which company to invest $100,000 in.

Groups:  I will assign you to groups of 4.

Selecting Companies:  Choose three publicly traded (on the NYSE or the NASDAQ) companies in the same industry that have inventory and cost of sales - in other words a retailer, wholesaler or manufacturer. Don’t choose companies used extensively in the text as examples, e.g., Proctor & Gamble, Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, or companies that have experienced major events such as a bankruptcy.  You are responsible for determining that the companies all file GAAP 10-K annual reports with the SEC. 

Sign up under eCollege Course Home, so that the companies are not duplicated. Requests will be honored in the order received. If you need to change your companies, please let me know.


Materials for your analysis.

  1. Textbook. Some ratios are listed at the end of the chapter. Self-study of chapter appendices relating to ratios is required.
  2. Each company’s 2 most recent audited annual financial statements (“10-K”)[1].  The F/S includes financial schedules (e.g., Balance Sheet) and disclosure notes.  The 10-K also includes the Management Discussion & Analysis (“MD&A”) which you will need to read parts of.   You also need to review 8-K’s from this date back to the first 10-K.   (Few 8-K’s will be of interest, but there may be some major announcements in them like bankruptcies, sale of the company, firing of auditor, required restatements, replacements of senior management.). 
  3. Available industry and company financial data and other information. This is very helpful for getting background company information and understanding changes in the financials. Your best sources are sites like Yahoo Finance or Morningstar, and legitimate news media such as Forbes or the Wall Street Journal.
    • Sources such as Wikipedia and Investopediaare not primary sources nor are they subject to editorial scrutiny and may not be used.  You will lose points if you do.  If in doubt about a source, check with me.

Required Analyses (further details below)

  1. Qualitative analysis of industry and company
  2. Quantitative analyses:
    1. Intra company (common-sized) analyses
    2. Intercompany (common-sized) analyses
    3. Ratio analyses
  3. Interpretive analyses of above
  4. Investment decision


  1. Analysis in the form of a PowerPoint report

Submit one copy per group of hard copy and electronic versions of:

  1. PowerPoint presentation containing your Financial Statement Analysis (you will not make a presentation, but this is not a “paper”).  Your group member’s names must be on the cover page. Do not use the PPT “notes” feature.
    1. Hard copy - no binders or folders please
    2. Electronic copy – use dedicated DropBox
      1. The name of your electronic submission file must include both:
        1. “FS Analysis”
        2. Last names of each group member

    B. Appendix containing Excel file with all your ratio calculations (unless embedded in your PPT file).  Make sure I can access formulas and numbers.

    C. Appendix containing audited financial statements for each company (not the entire 10-K)

II.  Team Member Evaluation Form

Submit a team member evaluation form electronically - one per person - to the dedicated Drop box within 48 hours of the project due date.  Negative evaluations may affect your grade. See below.


Grading and Rubric.  See the syllabus.  I will be looking for your demonstrated ability to critically analyze the company, integrate secondary material and demonstrate original thought.  I will be looking for ratio interpretation rather than comments like “the ratio is increasing.”   Ratio interpretation involves telling the audience both what the ratio means, and whether the results and trends are positive, negative or neutral in a particular instance.


Generally all team members will receive the team grade.  Exception:  Although I expect groups to work through inevitable conflicts, I reserve the right to authorize a team to remove you or lower your individual grade if there is sufficient evidence of a lack of contribution.  I will however be far less sympathetic if you don’t have a charter and/or bring issues to me at the last minute

Late projects will incur a 10%/day penalty except in case of extenuating circumstances cleared with me in advance.


Project Components You will need to perform the following analyses:



  1. Introduction(1 slide[2]) Introduce the purpose of the analysis.  Also state your recommendation with 1-2 key reasons so the reader can see if your analyses support your recommendation. Finally, give a brief overview of the presentation structure.


  1. Overview
    1. Industry (One per project, 1-2 slides)
  1. Briefly describe the industryoverall. Include topics such as:
    1. Largest companies within the industry
    2. Geographic presence in the industry (local, U.S. only, multinational, or global)?
    3. Economic factors – how does the overall economy affect industry?  Overall health of the industry.


  1. Business strategy for each company (1-2 slides per company)
  1. Brief historical perspective on each company including overall recent financial performance (e.g., “in trouble,” flat, steady growth, rapid growth).
  2. Key elements of each company’s strategy? In other words, on what basis do they compete (e.g., innovation, product quality, distribution channels, low cost, specific target markets)?
  3. Financial outlook for each company for the next 1-5 years?  This should be based on your analyses and secondary research.


  1. Quantitative financial ratio calculations and analysis/interpretation (2-4 slides per company)


  1. Calculations:  For each company for the last 2 reported years, compute the 17 ratios for each of the following categories (see Appendix 5A of text(self-study) and the end of relevant chapters).  Categories are:


  1. Liquidity
  2. Activity
  3. Profitability
  4. Coverage


  1. Analyze and interpret the ratio results.  You should:
  • Define each the ratio and explain what the ratio tells the user. It also includes interpreting what the ratio value and changes imply about the company’s financial health (e.g., is it a sign of improvement, or backward direction, or essentially no change).[3]
  • Compare the companies, and highlighting differences that might be indicators of their relative financial health.  I suggest including a summary comparison slide.
  • Compare key ratios to industry averages, as available. Depending on your industry there may few but Yahoo will have investor-related ratios.  (Do not purchase any reports/information.)



  1. INVESTMENT Recommendation (1 slide)
    1. Decide which company you would invest in among the three and justify your decision based on your analysis. Draw on your quantitative and qualitative analyses.  Do not include new insights and information.



  1. Summary and conclusion(1 slide) – Recap your project including your recommendation and why
  1. References– In the body of the report, provide a reference each time you include non-original information. If you copy exact words from a source, use quotes.  The references section includes a complete list of references in APA format .Include source citations using APA style.  See “Resources” under Course Home in eCollege.  Do not simply provide a URL.  Make sure you understand the concepts related to plagiarism as this is a violation of the University’s  Academic Honesty policy.



  1. Exhibits/Tables
    1. Use an end-of-presentation section to present tables containing detailed tables. You can also embed you ratio calculations here if you want.



  1. References
    1. Make sure you properly reference all your sources using APA guidelines. Include a citation for the F/S. APA guidelines are easy to find by Googling.  Purdue’s OWL site is a good source.



Planning the Project and Dividing Up the Work.Parts of the project build on others. Plan your work sequentially and communicate findings with your group frequently so they can integrate your information into their section(s).  For example, effective analysis of the F/S requires some initial understanding of the industry and company so it may not be efficient to divide up the work so that everyone works in parallel.  Otherwise your presentation may be disjointed and possibly inconsistent.



Team Charter

The first group activity is to create a TEAM CHARTER that provides operating ground rules, norms and expectations.  (See eCollege for some ideas.)

You should create a charter because then you have something to fall back on if a group member isn’t contributing.   When people approach me with group issues the first thing I ask is what your charter says. Groups with the most problems seem to lack a charter.  The charter should specifies things such as:

  1. Team roles and activities
  2. Team meetings (when, how long, format, etc.)
  3. Expectations about communication methods and acceptable response-time
  4. Expectations about meeting agreed-upon-deadlines
  5. Any other items you wish to include such as what you consider to be unacceptable performance of duties.

While we all have other obligations, team members are expected to abide by the charter.  See grading information below.


PowerPoint Presentation Partial Checklist

Presentations vary but all share certain characteristics.  Groups often lose more points on omissions and presentation format, than analysis.  However, animation or other advanced features don’t improve scores.  Here is apartial review checklist.





  1. All required sections are included


  1. All appropriate ratios are included


  1. Main idea of tables and graphs is explained.  Otherwise exclude.






  1. All secondary material in body presentation is properly referenced (including SEC filings) using APA style guide


  1. Quotes used whenever exact words are copied


  1. Complete listing of references using APA style guide




Format – “look and feel”


  1. Numbers formatted consistently – at most use 2 decimal places if appropriate.


  1. “Bullet points” are used to create an outline format using concise wording. Large blocks of text are broken up for easy reading.  White space is used appropriately.  This is a presentation, not a paper.


  1. Consistent reasonably-sized font and layout used throughout the presentation.  Make sure it doesn’t look like different people prepared different sections. 


  1. Don’t include in the body of the presentation large tables with extraneous information.  Extract what is relevant for the body of presentation and place large tables at end.




Tables and graphs


  1. Lengthy calculations and complex details are presented at the end (possibly in appendices).


  1. Use tables and graphs appropriately, including titles and references. If you don’t discuss them, don’t include them.


  1. Table and graphs titled and if from another source, referenced 


  1. Review for spelling, grammatical, mechanical, andpunctuation errors
















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This Presentation will provide a framework for an annual report analysis project. The project is concerned with on three companies including Google, Yahoo, and AOL.

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