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Ratio and Financial Statement Analysis – Your essay should critically analyze the benefits and limitations of ratio analysis

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.
As managers, it is important 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:  In Microsoft Office 2003, Word, under Tools, Options, Spelling and Grammar, make sure Spelling and Grammar are checked.  This feature checks for split infinitives and 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 https://www.unc.edu/depts/wcweb/handouts/passivevoice.html.
This is a research paper, so I suggest that your outline should follow an article-type format.
State your paper’s purpose. The purpose will give you a solid guide as to what you are discussing in the paper and let the reader know as well. The purpose will most likely take you a while to figure out, so do not panic. Again, read journals to see how they state their purpose statement. Once you have written the body of your paper, check and make sure that you have stayed focused on the paper’s purpose- else revise the statement of purpose!
Next, draft an abstract, much like you would see in a journal article at the start of the paper. This lets me know what to expect. You will state your purpose upfront in the abstract and again in the body of the document. I suggest reviewing some abstracts from journals to see what they include in their abstracts.
A typical paper will have the following sections:
Background/Introduction,
Review of research,
Methods used. In the Methods Used section, you would described the methods that the articles you reviewed used. Did they use large databases to gather their data or did they do individual surveys? You can just do a quick synopsis and say something along the lines of: “Jones, Moxley and Anderson used retrospective analysis of hospital databases and included x, y and z variables. Smith, Wesson and Crisco used survey data collected via telephone calls and collected a, b and c variables.”
Results, and finally,
Conclusions/discussion. The conclusion/discussion should answer the “so-what” part of the research. Why does this topic matter and why is it important to health care?
Let me know if you have trouble finding references. I can’t stress enough the importance of the conclusions and discussion portion of your paper! Really spend a lot of time here and demonstrate your critical thinking skills. Also, you may wish to do headers to guide the reader and those should be in bold.
Again, let me know if you have any questions!
Follow the Assignment Instructions:
-Make sure you address all criteria listed in the instructions for the essay as itemized in the syllabus. Before you begin writing your paper, have a clear plan for addressing all assignment criteria. After you complete the assignment, check your work to ensure you are in compliance.
-Refer to the Grading Rubric for the assignment.
-Avoid late penalties.
Critical Thinking:
-Do not regurgitate information. This is not critical thinking! Take what you have read and use it to support your ideas and arguments. I.e. synthesize the information.
-Develop an outline or a structure for your paper before you begin to write. What is the conclusion that you want the reader to take away from reading your paper? What evidence do you need to present to support that conclusion?
-Use your own words! Using direct quotes does not show your ability to understand and synthesize information. Direct quotes should be used sparingly and only when loss of meaning would occur if the statement was paraphrased.
– It goes without saying, do not plagiarize! It is your responsibility to know what plagiarism is. Your paper will be checked for matches to published work or papers submitted by other students. Provide citations for your sources in the text of the discussion/paper and provide a reference list at the end of the discussion/paper. Even when you paraphrase content in your own words, you must still cite a source.

Sources of Information:
Consider the quality of the source.
-While readily available internet sources to help clarify concepts, these are not scholarly sources. We all know that Wikipedia should not be used as a reference. Many other internet sources are no better.
-If you are using internet sources outside of the University Library, look for peer reviewed articles from open access journals. For example, the content of both Strategic Finance and CFO magazines are practitioner-oriented and are not peer reviewed.
-Google Scholar can be a great resource to help you identify relevant content for your paper, and enable you to review the abstract before retrieving the full article from the UMUC library. There are also some reputable .org websites (e.g., the Institute of Management Accountants-IMAnet.org) and .gov websites like IRS.gov.
– Use the online university library to find scholarly journal articles.
-Even if a source appears to be scholarly, use a critical eye when reviewing the content. Consider if adequate data supports the authors claim. Ask yourself if proper methodology was used in the study.
Writing Tips:
-Provide structure to your papers by including an introduction, using topic headers throughout the paper, and including a conclusion at the end. Both the introduction and the conclusion should provide information about key concepts that are discussed in the paper.  In the introduction, these concepts should be presented in the way they will appear in the paper.
-Use proper paragraph structure. Do not use standalone sentences in a paper. A paragraph is three to eight sentences in length. The first sentence should provide an introduction or overview to the content of the paragraph. Never begin with a general word, like “it”, “they”, etc. Instead use the full term. There should be a logical flow to the content in the paragraph. The paragraph should end with a concluding or transitional sentence.
-In papers, avoid use of 1st, 2nd, and 3rd person. This means:
*1st Person: Do not refer to yourself. Do not use “I” or “me”. For example, instead of writing something like “I researched the topic of healthcare policy …” You would write, “The topic of this paper is healthcare policy …”
*2nd Person: Do not use a conversational tone. Do not use “we”, “you”, etc. You are not having a conversation with your audience, you are writing a formal research paper.
*3rd Person:  Do not refer to yourself in 3rd person to get around not being able to use 1stperson. Do not use “the author” or “the researcher” when referring to yourself. Simply do not refer to yourself.
****The exception to using 3rd person:  The exception occurs in the rare cases where you do need to refer to yourself. For example, you may be asked to talk about a personal experience. If this is the case, you should refer to yourself in 3rd person.
*Use a formal tone. Avoid contractions. E.g. Use “cannot” instead of “can’t”. Or use “do not” instead of “don’t”. Especially avoid it’s (the contraction for “it is”). “Its” when used as a possessive adjective, without an apostrophe, is not a contraction.
-Check for grammatical errors.
*Avoid sentence fragments and run on sentences. All sentence must have a verb.
*Ensure noun and pronoun agreement. Singular nouns need to be matched with singular pronouns. Plural nouns need to be matched with plural pronouns. Our speech is often informal. We may say something like “The student took the test, but they didn’t finish it on time.” The correct way to say or write this statement is “The student took the test, but he did not finish it on time.” Data are plural. Datum is singular.
If you do not know the gender of the subject, then the correct written form of the pronoun would be “he or she”.
Refer to the chapters in the APA 6th Edition Publications Manual for both mechanics and for information about writing clearly and concisely.
APA 6th Edition Format
Follow APA 6th Edition format!
– The Purdue Owl website (URL below) is an additional resource for APA style and format.
-Pay special attention to the title page, headings throughout the paper, in-text citations, use of acronyms, and the reference page!
*Use headings and subheadings in your paper to designate portions of the paper and central concepts.
*Reference internet sources correctly.
*Pay attention to the nuances of font style, capitalization, and punctuation when referencing and citing in text.
*When you use an acronym, write out the words during the first use and then provide the acronym in parentheses to follow. Only use the acronym after the acronym has been introduced.
*If you use direct quotes, APA requires that the page number be included in the in-text citation (but not in the reference table).

Please keep this information in mind as you work on your essay. Following this guide will improve performance on the assignment! And remember to include an executive summary.

HYPERLINK “https://learn.umuc.edu/content/enforced/223023-000175-01-2175-GO1-9033/APA_example.pdf?_&d2lSessionVal=QlcFB5bP3wzuyoOaa64W5JuAT” \t “_blank” APA Example
HYPERLINK “https://learn.umuc.edu/content/enforced/223023-000175-01-2175-GO1-9033/APA%20Citations%20in%20Text.pdf?_&d2lSessionVal=QlcFB5bP3wzuyoOaa64W5JuAT” \t “_blank” APA Citations in Text
HYPERLINK “https://learn.umuc.edu/content/enforced/223023-000175-01-2175-GO1-9033/APA%20Example%20from%20Purdue%20Owl.pdf?_&d2lSessionVal=QlcFB5bP3wzuyoOaa64W5JuAT” \t “_blank” APA Example from Purdue Owl

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