week 1

Discussions
To participate in the following discussions, go to this week's Discussion link in the left navigation.

    Contents of a Annual Report

    Discuss the following scenario: Staff members from the marketing department of your firm are doing a splendid job selling products to customers. Many of the customers are so pleased that they are also buying shares in the company’s stock, which means that they receive a copy of the firm’s annual report. Unfortunately, questions sometimes arise that the marketing staff members are woefully inadequate at answering. Technical questions about the firm’s financial condition and performance are referred to the chief financial officer, but the director of marketing has asked you to write a memo in which you explain the key elements in an annual report so that marketing representatives are better prepared to respond to questions of a more general nature.

    For your initial post, write a clear concise memo (no more than 250 words) that describes the contents of an annual report so marketing personnel can understand the basic requirements of an annual report. Reference this week’s readings and lecture to help organize and explain your thoughts. In addition, answer the following questions:

        Do you think all marketing staff members should be equipped to speak with the public about the firm’s financial matters?
        What are some of the benefits of improving employee financial literacy?

    Respond to at least two of your classmates’ posts.

    Financial Statement Analysis

    The financial statement analysis is due in Week Six. This week, you will select a company that you will do the analysis of. Write at least a 200-word summary in which you identify the firm you have selected, summarize why you selected it, and explain the items a financial analyst might find useful within its annual report.

    Additionally, read the Forbes article,“12 Lessons from Warby Parker's Annual Report,” and explain which of these 12 lessons may apply to your company selection.

    Respond to at least two of your classmates’ posts.












week 2



Discussions
To participate in the following discussions, go to this week's Discussion link in the left navigation.

    The Balance Sheet

    Referencing this week’s readings and lecture, what information is provided in the balance sheet? What is a common-sized balance sheet and how do you create one? For your final project company, does anything stand out on the balance sheet?

    Respond to at least two of your classmates’ posts.
    Understanding the Notes to the Balance Sheet

    Your friend, Liz, loves to shop at Target and is now interested in investing in the company. Tom, another friend, has told her that Target’s debt structure is risky with obligations of nearly 74% of total assets. Liz sees that debt on the balance sheet is 65% of total assets and is confused by Tom’s comment. Write an explanation to Liz discussing the debt structure of Target and why Tom thinks Target is risky. Be sure to explain clearly what information appears on financial statements, as well as what information does not appear directly on the financial statements. Use the information below in your discussion.

    At fiscal year-end February 2, 2008, Target Corporation had the following assets and liabilities on its balance sheet (in millions):

    Current liabilities 	$11,782
    Long-term debt 	15,126
    Other liabilities 	2,345
    Total assets 	44,560

    Target reported the following information on leases in the notes to the financial statements:
    Total rent expense was $165 million in 2007, $158 million in 2006, and $154 million in 2005, including percentage rent expense of $5 million in 2007, 2006, and 2005. Most long-term leases include one or more options to renew, with renewal terms that can extend the lease term to more than 50 years. Certain leases also include options to purchase the leased property.

    Future minimum lease payments required under non-cancellable lease agreements existing at February 2, 2008, were:

    Future Minimum Lease Payments (in Millions) 	Operating Leases 	Capital Leases
    2008 	$ 239 	$ 12
    2009 	187 	16
    2010 	173 	16
    2011 	129 	16
    2010 	123 	17
    After 2010 	2, 843 	155
    Total future minimum lease payments 	$3694 (a) 	$232
    Less: Interest (b) 	
    	(105)
    Present value of minimum capital lease payments 	
    	$127 (c)

    a) Total contractual lease payments include $1,721 million related to options to extend lease terms that are reasonably assured of being exercised, and also include $98 million of legally binding minimum lease payments for stores that will open in 2008 or later.
    (b) Calculated using the interest rate at inception of each lease.
    (c) Includes current portion of $4 million.

    Respond to at least two of your classmates’ posts.











    week 3




    Discussions
    To participate in the following discussions, go to this week's Discussion link in the left navigation.

        Income Statement

        Referencing this week’s readings and lecture, address the following:

            What are the two causes of an increasing or decreasing sales number?
            Discuss all the reasons that might explain an increase or decrease in gross profit.

        Respond to at least two of your classmates’ posts.
        Analyzing an Income Statement

        Income statements are presented in the table below for the Elf Corporation for the years ending December 31, 2010, 2009, and 2008. Write a one-paragraph analysis of Elf Corporation’s profit performance for the period. Create a common-sized income statement for the three years. What conclusions can you draw from the different parts of the statement? What are the causes and effects of Elf's performance for those three years?

        Elf Corporation Income Statements for the Years Ending December 31

    (in millions) 	2010 	2009 	2008
    Sales 	$700 	$650 	$550
    Cost of goods sold 	350 	325 	275
    Gross profit 	350 	325 	275
    Operating Expenses: 	
    	
    	
    Administrative 	100 	100 	100
    Advertising and marketing 	50 	75 	75
    Operating profit 	$200 	$150 	$100
    Interest expense 	70 	50 	30
    Earnings before tax 	$130 	$100 	$ 70
    Tax expense (50%) 	65 	50 	35
    Net income 	$ 65 	$ 50 	$ 35
    Respond to at least two of your classmates’ posts












    week 4


    Discussions
    To participate in the following discussions, go to this week's Discussion link in the left navigation.

        The Statement of Cash Flows

        Referencing this week’s readings and lecture, describe the following terms as they relate to the statement of cash flows: cash, operating activities, investing activities, and financing activities. What can creditors, investors, and other users glean from an analysis of the statement of cash flows?

        Respond to at least two of your classmates’ posts.
        Analyzing the Statement of Cash Flows

        Using the table below, explain the difference between net income and cash flow from operating activities for Techno in 2009 and analyze their cash flows for 2008 and 2009.

    (in thousands) 	2009 	2008
    Net income 	$ 316,354 	$ 242,329
    Noncash charges (credits) to income 	
    	
    Depreciation and amortization 	68,156 	62,591
    Deferred taxes 	15,394 	22,814

    	$ 399,904 	$ 327,734
    Cash Provided (Used) by Operating Assets and Liabilities: 	
    	
    Receivables 	(288,174) 	(49,704)
    Inventories 	(159,419) 	(145,554)
    Other current assets 	(1,470) 	3,832
    Accounts payable, accrued liabilities 	73,684 	41,079
    Total Cash Provided by Operations 	$ 24,525 	$ 177,387
    Investment activities 	
    	
    Additions to plant and equipment 	(94,1760) 	(93,136)
    Other investment activities 	14,408 	(34,771)
    Net investment activities 	($ 79,768) 	($ 127,907)
    Financing activities 	
    	
    Purchases of treasury stock 	(45,854) 	(39,267)
    Dividends paid 	(49,290) 	(22,523)
    Net changes in short-term borrowing 	125,248 	45,067
    Additions to long-term borrowings 	135,249 	4,610
    Repayments of long-term borrowings 	
    	(250,564)
    Net financing activities 	$ 165,353 	($ 262,677)
    Increase (decrease) in cash 	$ 110,110 	($ 213,197)
    Beginning cash balance 	78,114 	291,311
    Ending cash balance 	$ 188,224 	$ 78,114

        Respond to at least two of your classmates’ posts.










week 5


Discussions
To participate in the following discussions, go to this week's Discussion link in the left navigation.

    The Quality of Financial Information

    Referencing this week’s readings and lecture, describe the quality issues related to reporting revenue. What is the importance of understanding various inventory valuation methods in determining the quality of reported profits?

    Respond to at least two of your classmates’ posts.
    Conflicts with GAAP

    Even though firms follow the accounting rules (GAAP) when presenting their financial statements, it is still possible for conflicts of interest to exist between what management wants investors and creditors to see and the economic reality of transactions. Explain how this can occur.

    Respond to at least two of your classmates’ posts.





Discussions
To participate in the following discussions, go to this week's Discussion link in the left navigation.

    Financial Ratios

    Referencing this week’s readings and lecture, what are the limitations of financial ratios? Classify your answer into at least the following categories: liquidity ratios, activity ratios, leverage ratios, and profitability ratios.

    Respond to at least two of your classmates' posts.
    Financial Analysis

    R.E.C. Inc.’s staff of accountants finished preparing the financial statements for 2010 and will meet next week with the company’s CEO as well as the Director of Investor Relations and representatives from the marketing and art departments to design the current year’s annual report. Write a paragraph in which you present the main idea(s) you think the company should present to shareholders in the annual report. Why do you think those ideas should be included? 

















week 1

Assignment
To complete the following assignment, go to this week's Assignment link in the left navigation.

    10-K Ford Motor Company

    Review Ford Motor Company's Form 10-K for 2012. Explain the purpose of a company’s 10-K and how it interprets the firm’s financial strength. Write a description of three important items, including their significance to stakeholders, that you learned from reading Ford Motors Company’s 10-K for 2012.

    Your paper must be two to three pages in length (not including the title and reference pages) and formatted according to APA style as outlined in the Ashford Writing Center. It must include citations and references for the text and at least two scholarly sources from the Ashford University Library.

    Carefully review the Grading Rubricfor the criteria that will be used to evaluate your assignment.












    week 2


    Assignment
    To complete the following assignment, go to this week's Assignment link in the left navigation.

        Balance Sheet - Ford Motor Company

        In a two- to three-page paper (not including the title and reference pages), explain the purpose of a balance sheet and how it reflects the firm’s financial status. Analyze Ford Motor Company’s balance sheet from its 2012 Annual Report.

        Your paper must be formatted according to APA style as outlined in the Ashford Writing Center, and it must include citations and references for the text and at least two scholarly sources from the Ashford University Library.

        Carefully review the Grading Rubricfor the criteria that will be used to evaluate your assignment.







    Assignment
    To complete the following assignment, go to this week's Assignment link in the left navigation.

        Income Statement - Ford Motor Company

        In a two- to three-page paper (excluding the title and reference pages), explain the purpose of an income statement and how it reflects the firm’s financial status. Include important points that an analyst would use in assessing the financial condition of the company. Also, analyze Ford Motor Company’s income statement from its 2012 Annual Report.

        Your paper must be formatted according to APA style as outlined in the Ashford Writing Center, and it must include citations and references for the text and at least two scholarly sources from the Ashford University Library.

        Carefully review the Grading Rubricfor the criteria that will be used to evaluate your assignment.









week 4

Assignment
To complete the following assignment, go to this week's Assignment link in the left navigation.

    Cash Flow Statement - Ford Motor Company

    In a two- to three-page paper (not including the title and reference pages), explain the purpose of a cash flow statement and how it reflects the firm’s financial status. Include important points that an analyst would use in assessing the financial condition of the company. Also, analyze Ford Motor Company’s cash flow from its 2012 Annual Report.
    Your paper must be formatted according to APA style as outlined in the Ashford Writing Center, and it must include citations and references for the text and at least two scholarly sources from the Ashford University Library.

    Carefully review the Grading Rubricfor the criteria that will be used to evaluate your assignment.








    week 5






    Assignment
    To complete the following assignment, go to this week's Assignment link in the left navigation.
    Auditing

    Auditors have come into a department as part of a company-wide audit prior to issuing an audit opinion for the company’s financial reports. In a one- to two- page paper (not including the title and reference pages), explain what the staff should expect the auditors to do. Be sure to include the requirements of the Sarbanes Oxley Act in your explanation.

    Your paper must be formatted according to APA style as outlined in the Ashford Writing Center, and it must include citations and references for the text and at least two scholarly sources from the Ashford University Library.

    Carefully review the Grading Rubricfor the criteria that will be used to evaluate your assignment.













week 6 fina


Prepare an 8- to 10-page fundamental financial analysis (excluding appendices, title page, abstract, and references page) that will cover each of the following broad areas based on your chosen company's financial statements:

    Provide a background of the firm, industry, economy, and outlook for the future
    Analyze the short term liquidity of the firm
    Analyze the operating efficiency of the firm
    Analyze the capital structure of the firm
    Analyze the profitability of the firm
    Conclude with recommendations for the future analysis of the company (trend analysis)

Writing the Final Paper
The paper:

    Must be 8 to 10 double-spaced pages in length (not including the title and reference pages) and formatted according to APA style as outlined in the Ashford Writing Center.
    Must include a title page that includes:
        Title of paper
        Student’s name
        Course name and number
        Instructor’s name
        Date submitted
    Must begin with an introductory paragraph that has a succinct thesis statement.
    Must address the topic of the paper with critical thought.
    Must end with a conclusion that reaffirms your thesis.
    Must use at least three scholarly sources from the Ashford University Library, in addition to the text.
    Must document all sources in APA style as outlined in the Ashford Writing Center.
    Must include a separate reference page that is formatted according to APA style as outlined in the Ashford Writing Center.

Carefully review the Grading Rubricfor the criteria that will be used to evaluate your assignment.