• Class Number 1377
  • Term Code 2920
  • Class Info
  • Unit Value 6 units
  • Mode of Delivery In Person
    • EmPr Keith Houghton
    • EmPr Keith Houghton
  • Class Dates
  • Class Start Date 30/01/2019
  • Class End Date 12/03/2019
  • Census Date 08/02/2019
  • Last Date to Enrol 06/02/2019
SELT Survey Results

The course provides a user perspective on the role of financial reporting and analysis of organisations in a public sector context and budgeting with such organizations.  Through a series of seminars, case studies and exercises, you will acquire confidence in using the concepts and vocabulary of accounting and finance and an ability to analyse organisational performance and resource allocation.  You will become familiar with the format and use of financial statements and the role of accounting in making decisions.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:

On completion of the course, students will be able:
1.     To have an understanding of the terminology and concepts in financial reporting and budgeting of both public and private sector entities;
2.     To effectively review and evaluate financial information provided in published financial statements;
3.     To explain the methods of certain accounting policy choices;
4.     To be able to distinguish between relevant and irrelevant information in key financial decision-making;
5.     To understand the fundamentals of nature of costs within entities;
6.     To understand the basics of an entity's budgeting process and budget outcomes

Research-Led Teaching

The classes draw on research by Emeritus Professor Houghton and others. References will be provided both the class materials and in the classes.

Required Resources

Textbook Fraser L.M. and A. Ormiston, Understanding Financial Statements 11th Ed Pearson Education Inc., 2016 (note - editions 9 or 10 are also acceptable) (available online)


Session 1

Readings: F&O Chapter 1 and “Definitions of Terms”

Class Exercises

Session 2

Class Exercises

Session 3

Readings: Australia Post Annual Report 2018 and F&O Chapter 2.

Class Exercises

Session 4

 Readings: F&O Chapter 3 Class Exercises

Session 5

Readings: F&O Chapter 4. Class Exercises

Session 6

Readings: Houghton and Jubb, The Market for Financial Report Audits.

Class Exercises

Session 7

Readings: F&O Chapter 5 and Australia Post Annual Report 2018

Session 8

Class Exercise: Prediction of Corporate Failure

Session 9

Readings:  “Cost Behaviour and Cost Volume Profit” Class Exercises

Session 10

Readings:  “Budgets, Budgetary Planning and Control"

Class Exercises

Staff Feedback

Students will be given feedback in the following forms in this course:
  • Written comments
  • Verbal comments
  • Feedback to the whole class, to groups, to individuals, focus groups

Student Feedback

ANU is committed to the demonstration of educational excellence and regularly seeks feedback from students. Students are encouraged to offer feedback directly to their Course Convener or through their College and Course representatives (if applicable). The feedback given in these surveys is anonymous and provides the Colleges, University Education Committee and Academic Board with opportunities to recognise excellent teaching, and opportunities for improvement. The Surveys and Evaluation website provides more information on student surveys at ANU and reports on the feedback provided on ANU courses.

Class Schedule

Week/Session Summary of Activities Assessment
1 Day 1: Morning Introduction; What are the objectives of the course? Review of what is expected of students in the course. What is the role of financial information, including both budgets and financial statements, in the operation of public sector entities? Creation of syndicate groups.
2 Day 2: Moring and Afternoon Transactions as the basis of the construction of financial statements. Reporting the accounting position of an entity and the performance of that entity. The development of accounting standards – both for private and public entities. Why do some government entities use the cash (not accrual) basis of accounting? What governs and guides the production of financial statements? Class exercises.
3 Day 2: Morning and Afternoon The statement of financial position (balance sheet): characteristics of this statement, information conveyed in this statement, accounting policy choice, types of assets and liabilities. Case studies. Class exercises.
4 Day 3: Morning Statement of financial performance (income or profit and loss statement): concept of profitability, revenue recognition cost allocation, accounting income policy choice, and opportunistic behaviour in income determination. Case studies.
5 Day 3: Afternoon Statement of cash flow: distinction between cash and profit flows, calculation of cash flows - direct and indirect methods the importance of the cash basis in accounting for public sector entities. Case studies.
6 Day 3: Afternoon Auditing: What is the role of an auditor in reviewing financial reports. the Audit Opinion: the audit “expectations gap”? Why have audits auditor independence and competence the “value proposition” for auditors Quiz 1 End of Day 3 (February 8th) This is a short quiz on topics covered in the first week Feedback is provided at the commencement of the next class.
7 Day 4: Morning and Afternoon Introduction to Financial Analysis Analysis of financial statements: Financial ratios and their interpretation: profitability, liquidity, leverage, asset management, market ratios
8 Day 4: Afternoon Financial analysis: financial ratios and their interpretation. Case studies.
9 Day 5: Morning The nature and behaviour of costs and the implications for managers of operating entities. Definitions and concepts of costs
10 Day 5: Afternoon Budgeting and the management and control of cost. Quiz 2 End of Day 5 (February 12th) This is a short quiz covering topics in the second week. Feedback is given via email within 3 days.

Tutorial Registration

The classes are a mixture of lectures, case studies and syndicate group work. No tutorial registration is required

Assessment Summary

Assessment task Value Due Date Return of assessment Learning Outcomes
Assignment 1 (Individual) 40 % 18/02/2019 18/03/2019 4,5
Assignment 2 (Group) 50 % 03/03/2019 03/05/2019 1,2,3
Quiz 1 5 % 08/02/2019 11/02/2019 1,3
Quiz 2 5 % 12/02/2019 15/02/2019 5,6

* If the Due Date and Return of Assessment date are blank, see the Assessment Tab for specific Assessment Task details


ANU has educational policies, procedures and guidelines, which are designed to ensure that staff and students are aware of the University’s academic standards, and implement them. Students are expected to have read the Academic Misconduct Rule before the commencement of their course. Other key policies and guidelines include:

Assessment Requirements

The ANU is using Turnitin to enhance student citation and referencing techniques, and to assess assignment submissions as a component of the University's approach to managing Academic Integrity. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the ANU Online website Students may choose not to submit assessment items through Turnitin. In this instance you will be required to submit, alongside the assessment item itself, hard copies of all references included in the assessment item.

Moderation of Assessment

Marks that are allocated during Semester are to be considered provisional until formalised by the College examiners meeting at the end of each Semester. If appropriate, some moderation of marks might be applied prior to final results being released.

Assessment Task 1

Value: 40 %
Due Date: 18/02/2019
Return of Assessment: 18/03/2019
Learning Outcomes: 4,5

Assignment 1 (Individual)

Due Feb 18th at 11:55pm  INDIVIDUAL ASSIGNMENT

Commence this assignment after you have completed Week 2 of classes 

Assignment One:

The first assignment is to be completed individually. It is described in detail in a separate handout. The final submitted and may not contain material from other sources other than that that is appropriately referenced. The assignment relates to advice on an important public sector policy choice.

Due date: February 18th 2019 at 11.55pm

(40 marks)


Assessment Task 2

Value: 50 %
Due Date: 03/03/2019
Return of Assessment: 03/05/2019
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3

Assignment 2 (Group)

Due March 3th at 11:55pm Group Assignment 2 Summer 2019

Assessment of the Performance of Australia Post

The second assignment is to be completed in syndicate groups. It is described in detail in a separate handout. The final submitted work must be your own original work and may not contain material from other sources other than that that is appropriately referenced. This assignment is in the form of the analysis of a public sector’s entity’s financial statements with a view to giving comparative advice on the position and performance of that organization.

This assignment is to be undertaken in syndicate groups.

The assignment is worth 50 marks out of the 100% of the total course assessment..

Assessment Task 3

Value: 5 %
Due Date: 08/02/2019
Return of Assessment: 11/02/2019
Learning Outcomes: 1,3

Quiz 1

End of Day 3 (February 8th)

This is a short quiz on topics covered in the first week Feedback is provided at the commencement of the next class.

Assessment Task 4

Value: 5 %
Due Date: 12/02/2019
Return of Assessment: 15/02/2019
Learning Outcomes: 5,6

Quiz 2

End of Day 5 (February 12th)

This is a short quiz covering topics in the second week. Feedback is given via email within 3 days.

Academic Integrity

Academic integrity is a core part of our culture as a community of scholars. At its heart, academic integrity is about behaving ethically. This means that all members of the community commit to honest and responsible scholarly practice and to upholding these values with respect and fairness. The Australian National University commits to embedding the values of academic integrity in our teaching and learning. We ensure that all members of our community understand how to engage in academic work in ways that are consistent with, and actively support academic integrity. The ANU expects staff and students to uphold high standards of academic integrity and act ethically and honestly, to ensure the quality and value of the qualification that you will graduate with. The University has policies and procedures in place to promote academic integrity and manage academic misconduct. Visit the following Academic honesty & plagiarism website for more information about academic integrity and what the ANU considers academic misconduct. The ANU offers a number of services to assist students with their assignments, examinations, and other learning activities. The Academic Skills and Learning Centre offers a number of workshops and seminars that you may find useful for your studies.

Online Submission

The ANU uses Turnitin to enhance student citation and referencing techniques, and to assess assignment submissions as a component of the University's approach to managing Academic Integrity. While the use of Turnitin is not mandatory, the ANU highly recommends Turnitin is used by both teaching staff and students. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the ANU Online website.

Hardcopy Submission

For some forms of assessment (hand written assignments, art works, laboratory notes, etc.) hard copy submission is appropriate when approved by the Associate Dean (Education). Hard copy submissions must utilise the Assignment Cover Sheet. Please keep a copy of tasks completed for your records.

Late Submission

Late submission of assessment tasks without an extension are penalised at the rate of 5% of the possible marks available per working day or part thereof. Late submission of assessment tasks is not accepted after 10 working days after the due date, or on or after the date specified in the course outline for the return of the assessment item. Late submission is not accepted for take-home examinations.

Referencing Requirements

Accepted academic practice for referencing sources that you use in presentations can be found via the links on the Wattle site, under the file named “ANU and College Policies, Program Information, Student Support Services and Assessment”. Alternatively, you can seek help through the Students Learning Development website.

Extensions and Penalties

Extensions and late submission of assessment pieces are covered by the Student Assessment (Coursework) Policy and Procedure The Course Convener may grant extensions for assessment pieces that are not examinations or take-home examinations. If you need an extension, you must request an extension in writing on or before the due date. If you have documented and appropriate medical evidence that demonstrates you were not able to request an extension on or before the due date, you may be able to request it after the due date.

Privacy Notice

The ANU has made a number of third party, online, databases available for students to use. Use of each online database is conditional on student end users first agreeing to the database licensor’s terms of service and/or privacy policy. Students should read these carefully. In some cases student end users will be required to register an account with the database licensor and submit personal information, including their: first name; last name; ANU email address; and other information. In cases where student end users are asked to submit ‘content’ to a database, such as an assignment or short answers, the database licensor may only use the student’s ‘content’ in accordance with the terms of service — including any (copyright) licence the student grants to the database licensor. Any personal information or content a student submits may be stored by the licensor, potentially offshore, and will be used to process the database service in accordance with the licensors terms of service and/or privacy policy. If any student chooses not to agree to the database licensor’s terms of service or privacy policy, the student will not be able to access and use the database. In these circumstances students should contact their lecturer to enquire about alternative arrangements that are available.

Distribution of grades policy

Academic Quality Assurance Committee monitors the performance of students, including attrition, further study and employment rates and grade distribution, and College reports on quality assurance processes for assessment activities, including alignment with national and international disciplinary and interdisciplinary standards, as well as qualification type learning outcomes. Since first semester 1994, ANU uses a grading scale for all courses. This grading scale is used by all academic areas of the University.

Support for students

The University offers students support through several different services. You may contact the services listed below directly or seek advice from your Course Convener, Student Administrators, or your College and Course representatives (if applicable).
EmPr Keith Houghton

Research Interests

Financial analysis, productivity, governance and accountability

EmPr Keith Houghton

EmPr Keith Houghton
6125 7716

Research Interests

EmPr Keith Houghton

Responsible Officer: Registrar, Student Administration / Page Contact: Website Administrator / Frequently Asked Questions