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I was waiting for my ACCA result as I have decided to undertake the research and analysis project (RAP) to Oxford Brookes University for BSc (Hons) in Applied Accounting. I read 'BSc (Hons) in Applied Accounting and Research and Analysis Project information pack' very carefully. Information pack helps me to give a overall structure of my research project. Oxford Brookes University strongly recommends that I should choose one of the twenty approved project topic areas as the basis for my RAP. I chose my topic form the list, which is 'The business and financial performance of an organisation over a three year period'.
In my ACCA studies, I have learnt how to evaluate the business and financial performance of an organisation. Especially when I studied, Financial Reporting, Financial Management, Corporate Reporting, Advance Financial management and Business Analysis I have learnt the knowledge about the organisation's performance measurement and I enjoyed with those area of the syllabus. Now I have a great chance to implement my knowledge and gain practical experience. That is why I have chosen this topic.
1.2 The reason for choosing the organisation
I have started my research at an exciting and difficult time for the energy industry and the planet as a whole. There are crisis in the global economy and global warming due to climate change has asked tough questions of everyone. Now we are passing such a time where there is a high growth in energy demand on the other hand there is a complex challenges over environment created by climate change.
BP plc; operate in oil, natural gas and alternative fuel industry and served worldwide. BP plc is the 3rd largest energy company and the 4th largest company in the world measure by revenues. As BP plc is, a giant organisation so there is a great opportunity for me to learn a vast area of the business and financial performance. After the recent event 'oil spillage over the Gulf of Mexico' BP drew attention across the nations. Along with the attention of others, I myself pay my attention with BP for my research project.
1.3 Aim and the objectives of the research project
The core objective of my research project is to evaluate the business and financial performance of BP plc over the last three years (2007 - 2009) period. For this purpose, I am going to analyse financial and non-financial information. These include:
How BP improves its financial performance; e.g. improving revenue, effectively cost saving and improve overall profit.
How BP improves its business performance, e.g. strategic planning, expand business, gain competitive advantage.
How effectively BP uses its resources e.g. human resources, cash and cash equivalent and other non-human resources.
How effectively BP deals with its stakeholders other than shareholders e.g. customers, out-source contractors, competitors, environment, wildlife, and next generation.
1.4 The overall framework of the research approach
Already I have chosen my project topic and the organisation to prepare my research report. I have carefully separated my project topic in to two parts. Now I will clarify the two parts as follows:
First part: The financial performance of BP plc. To evaluate the financial performance I will carefully consider all the necessary ratios with appropriate interpretation.
For this purpose, I will calculate the Profitability ratios, Efficiency ratios Liquidity ratios, Debt and Gearing ratios and Investors ratios. After that I will compare these results with those of previous year, industry average, competitor and with the budget.
Second part: The business performance of BP plc. To evaluate the business performance I will carefully consider some business models e.g. SWOT analysis, PESTEL and Porter's five forces model.
SWOT analysis can be used to find out the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of BP plc.
Strengths and weaknesses relate to internal factors e.g. resources and capabilities: what is the BP plc good at? What is it poor at? Where are resources in short supply? Where are resources excellent?
Opportunities and strengths relate to external factors: what will the effect on the BP plc be of economic changes? Can the BP plc make use of new technologies? Are new entrants likely to enter the market place? Can a powerful customer dictate terms?
The PESTEL model looks at the macro-environment using the following headings Political, Economic, Social, Technological, Ecological/ Environmental, and Legal. Overall, the model should allow BP to assess the growth prospects for the industry within which BP operates.
For my research and analysis project on BP plc, I will use secondary data in most cases. To gather necessary data and knowledge I took the help of BP's published financial statements over the last three years BP's Annual reports, BP channel on You tube, books, newspapers, magazines, internet publication, government publication, corporate articles, library and various websites.