Credit points




Teaching organisation

150 hours over a twelve-week semester or equivalent study period

Unit rationale, description and aim

Financial decision-making skills is a knowledge set that is essential, not only for finance professionals, but also for employees at any level. Everybody needs some basic finance knowledge for decisions involving borrowing money, making investments, comparing alternative financing alternatives, etc. This unit is designed to develop students' understanding of the finance function and help them make more informed financial management decisions using real-life business finance practices.

This unit provides students with an opportunity to develop an understanding of concepts, techniques, and practices that are needed to make financial decisions in a competitive business environment. Students will gain knowledge of the major issues in business finance and the models and theories that have been developed to help us understand how the financial world works. The focus of the unit is on common investment and financing decisions and related financial concepts such as the time-value of money and valuation of different types of securities. The nature of investment decisions will be addressed, including topics such as capital budgeting, portfolio theory and the capital asset pricing model. Having considered how businesses invest their funds, students will learn how those funds are financed and their costs, including the cost of capital, capital structure decisions, dividend policy and current assets management.

The unit aims to equip students with theoretical and practical knowledge about contemporary financial management practices and tools utilized to make financial management decisions. Another notable aim of the unit is to develop an understanding of the role of the finance function including the role of environmental, social and governance (ESG) practices on financing decisions.

Learning outcomes

Learning Outcome NumberLearning Outcome Description
LO1examine the various sources of financing to an organisation, including bank financing, bonds, equity, and treasury markets
LO2apply capital budgeting techniques demonstrating autonomous and group work skills.
LO3estimate the cost of capital and analyse the trade-offs between debt and equity in the capital structure.
LO4identify financial and non-financial (i.e., ESG) risks and apply risk management techniques to manage those risks in an organisation
LO5evaluate how organisations make investment and distribution decisions.


Topics will include: 

  • introduction to finance and financial management 
  • environment, social and governance (ESG) practices and financial decisions
  • time value of money
  • cash flows and capital budgeting
  • dealing with uncertainty in decision making: Sensitivity and Scenario Analysis
  • bond and share valuation
  • risk and return trade-off and Capital Asset Pricing Model
  • income, asset-based, and market valuation approaches
  • capital and debt markets 
  • capital structure
  • cost of capital 
  • dividend policy 

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

ACU’s teaching policy focuses on learning outcomes for students. Our teaching aims to engage students as active participants in the learning process while acknowledging that all learning must involve a complex interplay of active and receptive processes, constructing meaning for oneself, and learning from others. ACU promotes and facilitates learning that is autonomous and self-motivated, is characterised by the individual taking satisfaction in the mastering of content and skills and is critical, looking beneath the surface level of information for the meaning and significance of what is being studied.

The schedule of the workshop is designed in such a way that students can achieve intended learning outcomes sequentially. Teaching and learning activities will apply the experiential learning model, which encourages students to apply higher-order thinking. The unit ensures that learning activities involve real-world scenarios that in turn assist with ‘real-world’ preparedness. The unit also uses a scaffolding technique that builds a student’s skills and prepares them for the next phase of the learning process. 

This unit is structured with required upfront preparation before workshops, and most students report that they spend an average of one hour preparing before the workshop and one or more hours after the workshop practicing and revising what was covered. The online learning platforms used in this unit provide multiple forms of preparatory and practice opportunities for students to prepare and revise. It is up to individual students to ensure that the out of the class study is adequate for the optimal learning outcomes and successes.

Mode of delivery: This unit is offered in different modes to cater to the learning needs and preferences of a range of participants and maximise effective participation for isolated and/or marginalised groups. 

Attendance Mode

In a weekly attendance mode, students will require face-to-face attendance in specific physical location/s. Students will have face-to-face interactions with lecturer(s) to further their achievement of the learning outcomes. The online learning platforms used in this unit provide multiple forms of preparatory and practice opportunities for students to prepare and revise.

Blended Mode

In a blended mode, students will require intermittent face-to-face attendance determined by the School. Students will have face-to-face interactions with lecturer(s) to further their achievement of the learning outcomes. This unit is structured with required upfront preparation before workshops. The online learning platforms used in this unit provide multiple forms of preparatory and practice opportunities for students to prepare and revise.

Online Mode

In an Online mode, students are given the opportunity to attend facilitated synchronous online seminar classes with other students and participate in the construction and synthesis of knowledge, while developing their knowledge. Students are required to participate in a series of online interactive workshops which include activities, knowledge checks, discussion and interactive sessions. This approach allows flexibility for students and facilitates learning and participation for students with a preference for virtual learning.

ACU Online

This unit uses an active learning approach to support students in the exploration of knowledge essential to the discipline. Students are provided with choice and variety in how they learn. Students are encouraged to contribute to asynchronous weekly discussions. Active learning opportunities provide students with opportunities to practice and apply their learning in situations similar to their future professions. Activities encourage students to bring their own examples to demonstrate understanding, application and engage constructively with their peers. Students receive regular and timely feedback on their learning, which includes information on their progress.

Assessment strategy and rationale

Assessments are used primarily to foster learning. ACU adopts a constructivist approach to learning that seeks alignment between the fundamental purpose of each unit, the learning outcomes, teaching and learning strategy, assessment and the learning environment. In order to pass this unit, students must demonstrate competence in all learning outcomes and are required to achieve an overall score of at least 50%. Using constructive alignment, the assessment tasks are designed for students to demonstrate their achievement of each learning outcome. The overview of the assessment table is provided below under different delivery modes.

Overview of assessments

Attendance and Blended Mode:

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning Outcomes

Assessment Task 1: Individual presentation

This assessment task consists of an in-class presentation and a submission of the PowerPoint slides using Turnitin. This task requires students to demonstrate their spoken communication skills to share their knowledge and skills of evaluating investment projects.

Submission Type: Individual

Assessment Method: In-person presentation

Artefact: Oral presentation and written PowerPoint submission



Assessment Task 2: Open Book Exam

This task requires students to undertake an invigilated examination. Students will be provided an article or case study ahead of time with questions on the day.

Submission Type: Individual

Assessment Method: Invigilated examination

Artefact: Written response



Assessment Task 3: Final Assessment

This task requires students to demonstrate their knowledge of the topics covered in the unit and to ascertain whether students have achieved the intended learning outcomes satisfactorily.

Submission Type: Individual

Assessment Method: Analytical Report

Artefact: Submitted paper



Representative texts and references

Brealey, R, Myers, S & Marcus, A 2019, EBook Fundamentals of corporate finance, 10th edn, McGraw-Hill Australia, Sydney. 

Hartman, L, DesJardins, JR & MacDonald, C 2017 , Business ethics: decision making for personal integrity and social responsibility, 4thrd edn, McGraw-Hill.

Parrino, R, Kidwell, DS, Au Yong, HH, Dempsey, M, Morkel-Kingsbury, Ekanayake, S, James, J & Murray, J 2019, Fundamentals of corporate finance, Australasian 3rd edn, John Wiley & Sons Australia, Milton. (ISBN: 978-0-730-35517-5)

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