Gain a foundation in the financial management of a business.
- Train to work in Financial Management.
- Learn to make your own business more profitable.
- Understand how businesses operate, how they plan and how they are financed.
- Expand your understanding of finance and operations to improve your career prospects or become a better manager.
Course Duration: Approximately 600 of self paced studies.
ACS offer you flexibility, support and unlimited tutor access:
- Flexibility - you can start the course at any time and progress at a pace that suits you.
- Support - this isn't just about the course, we provide new students with an orientation video which will inform you of all sorts of services to support your study.
- Unlimited tutor access - you can contact our tutors by telephone or email. They are there to support and guide you in your studies. The support is available for the whole time you are studying.
The Certificate in Applied Finance comprises 6 modules, as follows. Please click on the module title for further details on each.
- Financial Management BBS104
- Bookkeeping Foundations BBS203
- Bookkeeping Applications BBS203
- Operations Management VBS201
- Business Planning BBS302
- Professional Practice for Consultants BBS301
Looking Forward: Planning For Growth
Just as an individual may plan their career path through study, qualifications and employment, so a business needs a formal plan in place in order to secure success for the future. Plans, objectives and strategies will be both inward and outward facing. For example, it is all very well to have a plan to manufacture a product, but you need to determine a direction and as well as having objectives and strategies in place you also need to ensure that you are able to produce the item in a profitable and reliable manner in order to meet market demands.
To survive, businesses cannot stand still. They need to grow and develop. How this is achieved is equally as important as achieving it at all. In the Business Planning module we look at defining the growth strategies available to a business and the necessity of this in the business plan.
Growth is essential to the well-being of a business. Growth means expansion. Although it means increased expenses, it should create increased revenue and therefore, increased profits. This may not always be the case if growth is not planned or executed properly.
Growth can be either deliberate and well planned, or explosive and unplanned. Growth can also be deadly for some businesses if they are not prepared or organized. The company may expand and not have the manpower or space to incorporate the expansion. This can lead to broken contracts, faulty materials, or bad press for the business.
For businesses that experience ‘runaway’ growth, although initially successful, without the proper strategies in place, there is a potential for serious complications. That is why in planning for growth it is best to have routes or maps for all possible outcomes in the future. If the company is prepared and have alternate and diverse measures in place for expansion and growth, the company can be saved not only headaches, but also can be used as an insurance policy for a better future outcome.
Although growth is often a key corporate objective, it does not come without its pitfalls. There are three main problems linked to growth, especially when it is unplanned or rapid:
- Financial – especially the effects upon cash flow and gearing. If this is planned sufficiently by completing cash flow forecasts as accurately as possible it can be eliminated.
- Managerial – notably problems of coordination and control. Again, with planned staffing increases and delegation of roles and responsibilities this can be avoided.
- Operational – especially the difficulty of boosting supply in line with demand. Think back the previous lesson on operational planning. An accurate operational plan which is put into place prior to the organised growth can combat this difficulty.
The problems arise as a result of various internal and external causes of growth. The internal ones (such as a change in objectives) should at least be planned for. External causes of growth may be unexpected, though. This makes them far harder to manage. The following table sets out some possible internal and external causes of growth.
- New growth objectives set by management
- Decision to open up new markets or diversifying products/services
- Reorganisation of company can make increased output possible
- Rising consumer demand / the product becomes fashionable
- Economic boom benefits a luxury product
- Closure / fire / strike hits competitor, boosting your sales
- New law favours your product e.g. new safety law boosts sales of children’s car seats
Obviously, the internal growth causes can, and should, be planned. The external causes cannot be planned as such, but can be forecasted following market research. For example, seasonal trends can be predicted, as can economic booms. Acknowledging past trends in the economy can be beneficial. The predictions made may not always be correct, but if you plan for any eventuality you will be able to manage it better.
Planned growth is the best option. This way, strategies are in place to cope with the expansion at all levels. Not only should there be internal strategies, but all levels of the business should be attended to and strategies should be in place for those specific areas as well.
When making your business plan it is good to identify the different ways in which your business might seek growth – such as internal growth which was mentioned earlier, strategic alliance such as subcontracting or cooperative agreements, merger or takeover of another company, or licensing your business. These are just a few examples and there are others and it is important that your company look at all possible pathways.
So ... looking forward, what is your plan for your own career or business?
... What next?
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