module specification

MN6068 - Financial Decision Making for Managers (2021/22)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2021/22
Module title Financial Decision Making for Managers
Module level Honours (06)
Credit rating for module 15
School Guildhall School of Business and Law
Total study hours 150
15 hours Assessment Preparation / Delivery
90 hours Guided independent study
45 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Seen Examination 20%   Case study based in-class test
Coursework 80%   Individual piece of work (individual project of 2,000 words)
Running in 2021/22
Period Campus Day Time Module Leader
Autumn semester North Monday Afternoon
Autumn semester North Monday Morning

Module summary

Financial decision-making is important for any and every business. This natural mental process needs to be informed to select a course of action from several alternative options. One of the most essential elements that help to facilitate the implementation of the business strategy in an organisation is Finance. The financial manager of an organisation plays a central role in making decisions on optimum utilisation of financial resources and assess the implications for shareholders and other stakeholders, and the need for effective corporate governance. Therefore, managers require critical understanding of key financial management issues, performance indicators and methodologies relating to financial management frameworks. Managers use these tools when they are faced with making financial decisions in the business environment. This module provides students with knowledge about financial decision-making approaches and control systems businesses use to make managerial decisions.

The module also provides the knowledge and skills necessary to evaluate the impact of financial decisions. It enables learners of today, who are managers of tomorrow, to participate in decision making processes concerning the utilisation of finances in investment, financial and risk management, and the delivery of value for money in achieving the objectives of the business. Although managers are not always required to perform detailed financial analysis, they need to have a clear understanding of how the process of financial management and decision-making work to ascertain that decisions are properly made and implemented and that apposite risk management system are in place.
The module focuses on fundamentals of financial management, the need for accounting and finance, financial governance, making capital investment decisions, balancing risk and return, tools of financial analysis, interpretations and planning, reading financial reports, cost challenges in decision making, working capital management, sources of finance, cost-volume-profit analysis and its use in managerial decisions and planning. 

Financial aspects of music and media organisations are as uniquely context-driven as are all other aspects of those specific sectors of technology-driven arts and communications. Frequently part of international conglomerates owned by technology firms, or significantly influenced by them where led by small businesses and entrepreneurs, music and media organisations are subject to kinds of volatility and risk surpassing the unstable patterns of taste, often unpredictable cultural change and audience loyalty. Therefore, it is essential that students critically appraise managerial decision-making processes which include the estimation of cultural and creative assets ranging from catalogue to people and skills.

Context-dependent and subject-specialist financial management issues, performance indicators tend to be best understood when exploring the notion of ‘what makes a successful organisation, its project(s) and output(s) in music and media’. It is thus unsurprising that research is often done in these fields based on an ontology of ‘what constitutes success in music and media’; Professionals and researchers alike grapple with such questions in order to create, define and utilise the ultimate yet everchanging yardsticks of performance indicators for music, media and related sectors.

Just a cursory examination of cases shows so: Such are the well-known examples of strategic implications of investments e.g. Apple Music as opposed to Spotify; the delayed album releases and their impact on major label profit expectations (Coldplay and EMI, 2004); different cost-structures that ISPs applied to Netflix when in its infancy, due to its [correctly] perceived disruptive potential to television production and cable services, and film production and distribution alike; and many more. Also, the inherent convergence capabilities of music, media and related sectors in brand partnerships, complex revenue streams etc.

Seminars dedicated to music and media students will encompass all such contextualisation, aiming to place the comprehension of key financial matters in management as a subject of wide-ranging, general, universal and global relevance within its informed industry context.


• Fundamentals of financial decision-making: introduction to the module, financial variables for decision-making, accounting conventions and the need for accounting and finance for managers, roles of financial function, objectives of financial decision-making, planning and control. LO1

• Balancing risk and expected return: identifying and managing financial risk, main forms of financial risk, methods for hedging financial risk, including futures options, forward rate agreements, swaps and money market hedges, confidence on expected return, risk appraisal methods including sensitivity analysis, scenario analysis, expected NPV, event tree diagrams. LO3

• Arithmetic of finance for decision-making: analysing, interpreting and reporting financial results/statements, contribution margin analysis, financial ratio analysis including profitability, efficiency, liquidity, gearing and investment performance. LO3

• Cost-volume-profit: CVP assumptions, the manner in which fixed and variable costs interact, the use of these concepts for FDM, basic operational elements such as sales volume and price, production volume and costs, multiple breakeven points, profitability and breakeven analysis, contribution margin, margin of safety. LO2

• Making capital investment decisions: issues in investment appraisal such as cash flow estimation, relevant costs and benefits, impact of taxation and the problem of inflation. LO2

• Cost of capital and capital structure decision: basic principles of Capital Asset Pricing Model, cost of loan capital, gearing and its effect on risk and returns to shareholders, factors influencing the level of gearing in practice, budgeting. LO3

• Issues in managing working capital and short/long term financing: nature and purpose of working capital, analysis and interpretation of working capital ratio, working capital policies, sources of short and long-term financing. LO2

• Financial governance: corporate governance and the agency problem, the UK Corporate Governance Code. LO1

The complexity of all three Learning Outcomes is well-suited to the subjects encompassing music and media business management.

There are significant decisions to be made by various types of managers in accounting and finance for music and media, various forms of financial function unique to those sectors, as well as specialist objectives of financial decision-making, planning and control. LO1

Moreover, case studies of significance exist in the fields of financial governance/corporate governance in music/media/entertainment. Music and media strategies have been long affected by financial decision-making. LO1

These range from corporate decisions that are connected to technological cycles and innovation which sometimes goes wrong to the delicacy of valuation of music, media and entertainment portfolios where value of catalogue or artistic investment is subject to unstable matters of audience behaviour, taste and trend. LO2

Risk analysis is therefore a very important aspect of music, media and allied sectors as these fields are admittedly risk-ridden by definition. Leaders and analysts alike refer to that in reports and treatises concerning music and media. Examples relating to the above: technology, impact of innovation and scientific ‘revolutions’, and investment decisions made in relation to those clearly point at that. The advent of the internet had shown thus very clearly, as did the transitory business solutions that came with the uptake of streaming. LO3

Royalty computations covered in some seminars will also indicate how financial decisions made by managers are deeply context-dependent. Similarly, the vital impact of crowdfunding, the character of which suits music and media entrepreneurs, artists and creators quite uniquely to those sectors. LO2

The opportunities and challenges of Blockchain in music and media financial practice ranging from collective agreements on rights exploitation to individual business models tailored to creators and organisations. More recently, leading global organisations have issued reports on the impact of covid on music, media and entertainment industries, once more highlighting the importance of risk assessment. Patterns of change will also be explored in seminars consulting a number of key texts and cases spanning over decades. LO3

Balance of independent study and scheduled teaching activity

The module is delivered in a weekly 2 hours Interactive Lecture/Seminar, and 1-hour tutorial/activity session, part of which may encompass the use of computers to analyse financial statements. The lecture session is designed in an interactive manner to effectively help the learning process and engage students through a collaborative two-way-process. The interactive approach stimulates motivation and interest in the subject area.

As the module content focuses on financial decision making, students are given the opportunity, using own cognitive ability, to take part in the decision making process, while learning a broad context of knowledge in the process. This approach is aimed at creating a context in which their aspiration and ability to work most effectively to achieve deep understanding.

In the interactive lecture session, students are given more opportunities to stimulate their motivation and develop the understanding of the weekly topics. In the tutorial/activity session, they are given guidance to think carefully and critically when analysing and expressing their thoughts. Their learning process is monitored continuously using valid assessment schemes. They are provided and are able to access company data such as financial statements and reports so they read, discuss and analyse financial positions, performances and future prospects to recommend possible improvement options from management perspective. This process enhances their critical and analytical thinking ability, which develops their problem-solving skills.

Students receive in-house materials, which includes weekly lecture/seminar notes in the form of PPT presentations, and scenario-based activities. They are expected to complete set tasks in seminars (in part), tutorial sessions and some of the tasks may be left for the students to complete them outside the formal contact hours.

The tutorial sessions are blended into the weekly tasks so students are using computer facilities (mainly for Excel package) to analyse financial statements and word processing to write their critical analysis in the form of a report. As this is a practice-oriented module, online and blended learning approaches are sought to facilitate communication, engagement in group work activities, independent learning and discussions.

Music and media specific tasks and activities shall include the analysis of company accounts and industry reports found on Statista, Mintel, Music Business Worldwide, Media Week, MusicAlly and any and all other relevant sources collated by the seminar tutor and/or identified by students in specific, subject-allocated tasks. These may also be used in relation to and preparation for both formative and summative assessment (please see below for more detail).

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module, students will be able to:

LO1: Demonstrate conceptual understanding of the fundamental financial theories relevant to financial decision making and governance,

LO2: Understand, critically analyse and evaluate using various analytical tools to facilitate strategic decision making, 

LO3: Evaluate elements of risk, return and value strategic operational financial decisions.

Assessment strategy

The assessment strategy for this module is implemented through formative and summative approaches. The assessment is developed in line with the module learning outcomes and to provide feedback to students on a regular basis. The students’ performance will also provide valuable feedback to, continuously; improve the content and delivery of the module.

Formative assessments

This assessment strategy takes place during the interactive lecture, seminar and tutorial/activity sessions. It is implemented in the form of activities on preliminary financial analysis, evaluating company performance and identify problems, in-class discussions, weekly questions, short reflective writings and Q&A sessions. The outcome of the formative assessment provides immediate feedback to improve teaching and learning simultaneously. This approach also greatly help leaners to self-assess their own learning progress and knowledge retention. As part of the formative assessment, students are asked to utilise financial evaluation criteria to appraise their own or a pear’s work through writing or group discussion. 

Summative assessments

As this is a standardised formal assessment, it is developed with the goals to meet the module learning objectives. This assessment strategy is organised in a progressive manner. Students are undertaking a form of secondary research on a selected company/business.

The assessment is conducted through in-class test (case study based, CSB), and individually-completed project of 2,000 words:

• In-class CSB test (1.5 hour)                           20% weighting
• Individual coursework (project)                      80% weighting

The in-class CSB test assesses the students’ progress after the first seven weeks of learning. It provides valuable feedback and feedforward to allow both staff and students to identify learning gaps along the way, monitor teaching and learning progress and assess improvement options (if necessary) and find ways to close the gaps. The individual piece of coursework requires the application of financial analysis tools to evaluate company/business financial position and suggest possible improvement options in the form of a project task.

Music and media specific assessment: Both formative and summative

This will include the guided and task-driven analysis (formative), as well as detailed preparation/formative feedback/feedforward-driven (summative) assessment-related activities.

These shall consist of: analysis of key business decisions made including but not limited to: 1) raising capital by both traditional means and crowdfunding; 2) quarterly and annual reports pertaining to key companies selected by tutors and students alike, depending on the type and purpose of assessment-related activity; 3) royalty computation formulae, procedures and practices for music, media and other creator-driven content assets; 4) risk-related analysis including insurance of public music and media events; 5) traditional accountancy/financial activities, formulae, procedures and practices for music, media and other creator-driven content assets; 6) case studies, with special attention to cautionary tales such as the well-covered reported threats to, or demise of major labels/corporations in music and media in specific relation to managerial decision making, strategic short-sightedness or the impact of the lack of understanding of organisational cultures related to takeovers and corporate policies.

Such contextualisation has proven key to providing insight into the functioning of all creative industries, in this case music, media and related sectors. The pragmatism of assessment will therefore be emphasised through such activities in class and in class preparation, allowing students to understand both the purpose and format of assessment in its direct relation to their career goals and employability outcomes.

Specific assessment items for Music & Media students
Case studies (20%) for in-class test will be chosen with care and designed where required to 1) correspond clearly with the Module LOs; and 2) to be fully context-driven enabling both learning and student motivation.

Individual coursework projects (80%) will be agreed with the tutor in advance, with special care for the relevance, currency and the meeting of Module Los being assessed. Students will be advised in seminars and tutorials how to specifically apply their learning in such assessment and how to specifically research and compose their reports so as to attain the highest possible match with each learning outcome.


Essential (Core) textbooks:

Atrill, P. (2017). Financial Management for Decision Makers (8th ed). Pearson Education. ISBN-13: 978-1292134338.

Seal, W. (2011). Management Accounting for Business Decisions (1st ed.). London: McGraw Hill. ISBN-13: 978-0077126728.

Recommended (Other) textbooks:

ICSA (2016). Financial Decision Making (2nd ed.). ICSA publishing Ltd. ISBN-13: 978-1860726811

Foerster, S. (2014). Financial Management: Concepts and Applications, Global Edition. Pearson. ISBN-13: 978-1292077833

Chadwick, L. (2002). Essential Finance & Accounting for Managers (1st ed.). Financial Times/ Prentice Hall..  ISBN-13: 978-0273646488

Drury, C. (2016). Management Accounting for Business, (5th ed.). London. Cengage Learning. ISBN-13: 978-1408093818.

Director, S. (2012). Financial Analysis for HR Managers: Tools for Linking HR Strategy to Business Strategy (1st ed.). Pearson FT Press. ISBN-13: 978-0133925425.

Journals: for the latest journal articles, please visit the library catalogue  

• Materials will be available on module Weblearn:
• LMU library catalogue for Journal articles – through popular e-resources: 
• Use MetCat to search inside e-resource collections for ebooks and ejournals
• FAME UK companies – access through library catalogue popular e-resources, with your login details:
• Current business and financial reports and latest business news:
o MiNTEL Academic (though library catalogue with your login details,
o Financial Times:

Electronic Databases:
• FAME UK companies (as above)
• Office for National Statistics (ONS):
• Bank of England SI Database:
• European Banking Federation (for facts and figures):
Harvard referencing style guide (London Metropolitan University):

Music- and media-specific texts
(additional seminar reading list consisting of peer reviewed papers and *books):
Baker, W. E., & Faulkner, R. R. (1991). Role as resource in the Hollywood film industry. American journal of sociology, 97(2), 279-309.
Bennett, T. (2020). Towards ‘Embedded Non-creative Work’? Administration, digitisation and the recorded music industry. International Journal of Cultural Policy, 26(2), 223-238.
Budzinski, O., & Kuchinke, B. A. (2018). The modern industrial organization theory of media markets and competition policy implications. Ilmenau Economics Discussion Papers, (115).
Budzinski, O., & Lindstädt, N. (2018). The new media economics of video-on-demand markets: Lessons for competition policy. Ilmenau Economics Discussion Papers, 24(116).
Chanda, R., & Zaorski, S. (2013). Social media usage in the financial services industry: Toward a business-driven compliance approach. Journal of Taxation & Regulation of Financial Institutions, 26(5).
Chiou, J. S., Huang, C. Y., & Lee, H. H. (2005). The antecedents of music piracy attitudes and intentions. Journal of Business Ethics, 57(2), 161-174.
*Compaine, B. M., & Gomery, D. (2000). Who owns the media?: competition and concentration in the mass media industry. Routledge.
Daidj, N. (2020). The Recorded Music Industry: In Time of Change. In Sustainable Business: Concepts, Methodologies, Tools, and Applications (pp. 1573-1593). IGI Global.
*De Vany, A. (2003). Hollywood economics: How extreme uncertainty shapes the film industry. Routledge.
Gamble, J. R., Brennan, M., & McAdam, R. (2017). A rewarding experience? Exploring how crowdfunding is affecting music industry business models. Journal of business research, 70, 25-36.
Gheorghe, P. N. M., Ţigănoaia, B., & Niculescu, A. (2017, October). Blockchain and smart contracts in the music industry–streaming vs. downloading. In International Conference on Management and Industrial Engineering (No. 8, pp. 215-228). Niculescu Publishing House.
Gomery, D. (2004). The economics of Hollywood: Money and media. Media Economics, 193.
Hall, S (2020) This is how COVID-19 is affecting the music industry, World Economic Forum. 18 April 2020. [online] Available at:
Hesmondhalgh, D. (1997). Post-punk's attempt to democratise the music industry: the success and failure of Rough Trade. Popular Music, 16(3), 255-274.
Hracs, Brian. (2011). Restructuring and Risk in the Digital Music Industry.
Kerr, T. N. (1999). Bowie bonding in the music biz: Will music royalty securitization be the key to the gold for music industry participants. UCLA Ent. L. Rev., 7, 367.
Lewis, G. J., Graham, G., & Hardaker, G. (2005). Evaluating the impact of the internet on barriers to entry in the music industry. Supply chain management: An international journal.
Marshall, L. (2013). The structural functions of stardom in the recording industry. Popular music and society, 36(5), 578-596.
Martínez-Cañas, R., Ruiz-Palomino, P., & del Pozo-Rubio, R. (2012). Crowdfunding and social networks in the music industry: Implications for entrepreneurship. International Business & Economics Research Journal (IBER), 11(13), 1471-1476.
MBW (2016) A quick guide how money works in today’s high-risk music business. Music Business Worldwide. 28 February 2016 [online] Available at:
McDonald, A. (2006). Through the Looking Glass: Runaway Productions and Hollywood Economics. U. Pa. J. Lab. & Emp. L., 9, 879.
Morawetz, N., Hardy, J., Haslam, C., & Randle, K. (2007). Finance, policy and industrial dynamics—the rise of co‐productions in the film industry. Industry and Innovation, 14(4), 421-443.
Murschetz, P. C., Omidi, A., Oliver, J. J., Saraji, M. K., & Javed, S. (2020). Dynamic capabilities in media management research. A literature review. Journal of Strategy and Management.
Myrthianos, V., Vendrell-Herrero, F., Parry, G., & Bustinza, O. (2020). Firm profitability during the servitization process in the music industry. Strategic Change: Briefings in Entrepreneurial Finance, 23(5-6).
Peterson, R. A., & Berger, D. G. (1971). Entrepreneurship in organizations: Evidence from the popular music industry. Administrative science quarterly, 97-106.
Picard, R. G. (2004). Environmental and market changes driving strategic planning in media firms. Strategic responses to media market changes, 1-17.
Prey, R., Esteve Del Valle, M., & Zwerwer, L. (2020). Platform pop: disentangling Spotify’s intermediary role in the music industry. Information, Communication & Society, 1-19.
Shrivastava, S & Downs, K (2020) How streaming is changing the music industry: As COVID-19 halts live events, music streaming platforms innovate. Deloitte. 10 June 2020. [online] Available at:
Stöhr, A., & Budzinski, O. (2020). Happily ever after?: Vertical and horizontal mergers in the US media industry. World Competition, 43(1).
UK Music (2019) Music by Numbers. [online] Available at:
Vaccaro, V. L., & Cohn, D. Y. (2004). The evolution of business models and marketing strategies in the music industry. International journal on media management, 6(1-2), 46-58.
van der Hoeven, A., & Hitters, E. (2020). Challenges for the future of live music. The Future of Live Music, 34.
*Vogel, H. L. (2020). Entertainment industry economics: A guide for financial analysis. Cambridge University Press.
Wikström, P. (2009). The adaptive behavior of music firms: a music industry feedback model. Journal of Media Business Studies, 6(2), 67-96.
Wikström, P. (2020). The music industry: Music in the cloud. John Wiley & Sons.
Williamson, J., & Cloonan, M. (2007). Rethinking the music industry. Popular music, 26(2), 305-322.
Younkin, P., & Kashkooli, K. (2020). Stay True to Your Roots? Category Distance, Hierarchy, and the Performance of New Entrants in the Music Industry. Organization Science, 31(3), 604-627.

Online databases

Music Business Worldwide