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of info, limitations regarding vetting of numbers, full due diligence may be required, disclaimer. 2) Executive summary – Needs to stand as an independent document. Must include conclusions and recommendations and discuss key financial issues. Put key numbers in, discuss key findings. Analysis – Understanding of key components – financial state, opportunities and problems brought to notice in requirement, succinct summary of business situation with detailing of business needs, highlight major risks. Analysis – Integration of numerical analysis – discuss key numbers, cross-reference and discuss quality of numbers. Judgement – Prioritisation of issues – logical order of points, highlight which are the more crucial issues, highlight business weaknesses. Judgement – Strategic balance – could continue as is or implement new strategy. Cost of options vs increased profitability. Highlight how options complement\conflict with each other. Need for finance vs cost\control. Conclusions – Weighting of conclusions – Conclusion on numbers. Consequences of failure to act. Clearly state feasibility of options. Impact of options on profitability. Conclusions – Weighting of recommendations – Rank recommendations by order of priority and pointing strategic way forward. Key to passing-> 1) Familiarisation – bring in facts from advance info, impact info and your own reading when commenting on issues. Your own reading MUST bring in industry statistics and commentary which have direct relevance to the case but aren’t in the study material. Use the Economist website if you’re a subscriber since they tend to run up-to-date articles on all business issues, written clearly and with zero jargon. Any new developments which have arisen between the release of the advance info and the exam are very useful as they show the examiner you’ve been doing some homework. 2) Analysis - Express professional scepticism over the numbers you’re presented with esp. if they’re internally generated. Critically review plans, quality of forecasts and their impact on wider stakeholders. Get as much mileage as you can from the financial info given. You’re primarily assessed on how well you
understand what they imply about the current and proposed future of the business and then how you use your analysis to support your (appropriately weighted and assessed) recommendations. 3) Judgement – The No 1 difference between passing and failing. You must appreciate that there are two sides to every argument and discuss and weigh the pros and cons of each proposal and recommendation. 4) Conclusions – Clearly set out your preferred options, giving reasons why. Ensure you have backed these up with numerical analysis. In no circumstances whatsoever should your analysis say one thing, but your recommendation another. That will annoy your client\superior in the real world and give you a failing mark here. ENSURE YOUR EXECUTIVE SUMMARY HAS YOUR CONCLUSIONS AT THE VERY LEAST. Exam technique – The first and most important you need to do is make sure you understand what the requirement is asking. THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT. Once you’ve got that clear, you may as well dive in and get cracking with at least part of the requirement since you’re more than likely to have prepared some stuff beforehand that can simply be copied into your script. After that, read the requirement again and get started with the financial analysis you need to do. After that, keep referring back to the executive summary framework, bear in mind TWO SIDES TO EVERY ARGUMENT and start constructing the rest of the case. In order to save time, I found it useful to do a section and then do its’ executive summary piece immediately afterwards. This will play hell with your page numbers but it is much easier to do it piece by piece with each section fresh in your mind rather than do the whole summary right at the end and forget half of it. Plus if you run out of time, you’ll at least have a mostly complete ES instead of a non-existent one. Another useful timesaver is writing an index on the front page for the advance info and the Exercise Answer books from FTC so you don’t waste time looking during the exam. If you get confused at any stage, take a deep breath and go through the requirement, your plan and the work you’ve done so far. You’re meant to produce a script about 20 pages in length for which four hours is more than enough time. You’re not going to fail because you didn’t write enough, you’ll fail because you didn’t answer the question set.