The Business Professional

This guide is intended to provide you with the key information you need in order to be successful in the module. It informs you of what you should expect from the module and provides details of module content, assessment and reading.

At the start of Term 1 you will be introduced to the word Accounting Dissertation. Some students will have a range of options to choose from, whilst others will be required to follow a particular option in line with professional body requirements. Your Project Leader will provide you with full details.

Each business project option may be described as an example of applied research. In particular, each is designed to prepare you for employment through the application of business and accounting theories and research to management practice. Your work over this academic year will include the following:

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The Individual Dissertation is based on a research question or hypothesis chosen by the student (and agreed by the module leader/supervisor). Your dissertation is a 5000 words investigation into accounting or related business issues and a 1000 words reflection report on the skills you gained in undertaking the project. It should have a strategic element – i.e. the research should be applied rather than theoretical. It can be based on either secondary or primary data.

The Directed Project is a project organized and directed by the project leader in your subject area. It is a 5000 words investigation into accounting or related business issues, and a 1000 words reflection on skills developed in undertaking the project. It is usually based on an accounting or finance problem, unless otherwise agreed by the Module Leader or your supervisor.

In undertaking a project, you will also be required to write a 1000 words reflection on how you have developed in your professional employability skills. This will focus on your vocational specialism but also your commercial awareness, problem-solving and analytical skills, planning and organisation skills, meeting deadlines, research and information literacy skills, use of IT, academic writing skills and accounting career skills.

The team wishes you to have an enjoyable experience on this module. We need to ensure that the content of the module is interesting, substantial, and relevant to the Frame a project topic that takes due account of students’ resources, capabilities, and interests

Dissertation structure

You should follow the structure below:

The Title of the project: This should reflect the specific focus of the project.

Student number(s): your NAME(S) must NOT appear in the project.

Course name and year of submission.

Executive summary: maximum 300 words (not included in the words count) – a summary of the project aim, approach, and results.

Table of Content Page

This page lists the main parts of the project together with their page numbers.

Introduction  In this section you will frame your research topic. You will set out the main reasons why your chosen topic is worth researching and what you hope to achieve. How will your research focus make a contribution to the business context (i.e., a company’s goals) and the existing literature? This should be followed by the main research question/project aim. This will be in the form of 3 SMART objectives to narrow the focus. This should be followed by a brief description of what the upcoming chapters will be about, your research approach and your key conclusion.

Literature review You should critically review the literature relevant to the objectives of the project.  This will involve a concern for both seminal and contemporary literature, with alternative perspectives outlined and arguments discussed.

Research Methods (Chapter 3 – 900 words) – Here, you will discuss the research methods used. This will involve a discussion of qualitative or quantitative research, sampling, reliability and validity, analysis of data and limitations of the research method used. Secondary research may be used such as company reports, company web sites, and newspaper and journal articles.  It is important that you comment on the validity and reliability of such data. It is also important that ethical issues in researching and managing your project are also considered.

The Findings / Discussion (Chapter 4 -2100 words). Here, you will present your key findings. If you are doing quantitative analysis, you will present and analyse your statistics. You may also include graphs, charts, and tables to support your arguments. Each graph, chart and table must be numbered and clearly titled. Each should be about half a page and be clear for the reader to see. If you are doing qualitative analysis, extracts from the interviews you conducted should be presented (these should be in italics and in “speech marks”) to highlight the themes that will be evident from the interviews.

When writing up you must ‘synthesize’ the above findings. This requires you to critically analyse them with reference to the existing literature and in relation to your project aim and objectives. The key to achieving success is to ensure that you contextualise your discussion with reference to the literature that supports your arguments.

This chapter will include recommendations in terms of managerial implications based on your research findings.

Referenced publications are listed in the bibliography alphabetically by author’s surname using the Harvard System.

Diagrams, figures, and graphs which are too large for the text should be provided in this section.


Your work should be word processed in accordance with the following:

  • Font style, Arial, font size 12
  • 1.5 line spacing.
  • The page orientation should be ‘portrait’
  • Margins on both sides of the page should be no less than 2.5 cm
  • Your name should not appear on the script.
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