The Essay

Essay Topics/Individual Research Paper: Select one of the following topics

1. Ratio and Financial Statement Analysis – Your essay should critically analyze the benefits and limitations of ratio analysis, explaining what factors impact the meaningfulness of such measures and what new practices or theories may be emerging regarding the application of ratio and financial statement analysis. Emphasize practical applications and real-world use of ratios synthesizing your readings in published research or survey articles.

2. Challenges faced by Financial Managers in a Changing Economic Environment

Your essay should critically asses the challenges faced by financial managers due to changes in the macroeconomic environment and how these impact businesses operations. Emphasize how there are consequences related to changes in strategies and priorities and in the way the departments adjust.

3. Financial Management Practices and Their Impact on Organizational Performance: 

Your essay should critically asses the relationship between organizational performance and financial management practices. These include capital structure decision, investment appraisal techniques, dividend policy, working capital management and financial performance assessment.

* Be 5 to 6 double-spaced pages, not including the title page, executive summary, appendices, exhibits, and references.

Include a one-page Executive Summary immediately following the title page that includes a statement of the major issue(s) and your conclusions and specific recommendations. The content of an Executive Summary is similar to an abstract. 
Properly cite reference sources: these may include course material, information from magazines, journals, and online sources. All reference sources must have a publication date within the last fifteen years. Do not use an older source publication! 

This includes proper writing style, organization, grammar, and spelling, as well as integration of course-related material. The writing style must follow the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association , 6th edition. Citations for online sources should include the online address (URL) and access date as well as the citation for the specific reference. 

Research for the paper may be conducted online using the UMUC online library as the primary source. Do not use abstracts, use full-text articles. Publications that may be relevant for the topics listed below include: Strategic Finance, The Journal of Business Finance and Accounting, CFO Magazine, Nonprofit World, Harvard Business Review, or other accounting and financial journals.

It is important as managers that we be able to communicate our ideas both verbally and in writing. In this course we’ll practice writing about accounting and finance topics that we cover in this course and that we might likely be called to report upon in real-life. We’ll draw inspiration from library research and the article readings in class.

It is important in both academic and business environments that we write with clarity, employ good grammar, and properly attribute ideas drawn from research. To assist you in this writing task, I’d like you to use the following tools.

1) Essay Tips document within Session 1. 

2) Word – Spelling and Grammar Check: Microsoft Office can check your spelling and grammar. Here is the Microsoft Office support page to learn how to use the spelling and grammar check in Microsoft Word.

3) Avoid the use of passive voice – Most of us rely extensively on the passive voice in our writing. Doing so often raises issues of ‘voice’ in our writing and confuses the reader. If Word issues a passive voice error during a spelling and grammar review of your work, try re-writing the sentence with someone performing the action. To learn more about how to avoid using the passive voice, visit