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FIT5159 IT for financial decisions - Semester 2, 2012

This unit provides students with an understanding of the development and use of IT tools and techniques for modelling and decision support in the field of finance. The unit is designed to give students a broad understanding of the financial subsystems confronting business enterprises. The main focus, besides the traditional modelling of finance decision making process using spreadsheet tools, will be IT tools and related techniques that can aid in the analysis and interpretation of real financial problems confronting an enterprise. This unit will look at business related financial issues in the context of specific case studies.

Mode of Delivery

Caulfield (Evening)

Contact Hours

2 hrs lectures/wk, 2 hrs laboratory/wk


Students will be expected to spend a total of 12 hours per week during semester on this unit as follows:

For on-campus students:

  • Lectures: 2 hours per week
  • Tutorials/Lab Sessions: 2 hours per week per tutorial
  • and up to an additional 8 hours in some weeks for completing lab and project work, private study and revision.

Unit Relationships




FIT9004 or FIT9017 or CSE9000 or BUS9520
Basic descriptive and inferential statistics, some financial accounting and basic business finance knowledge.

Chief Examiner

Campus Lecturer


Poh Lim



Poh Lim

Academic Overview


At the completion of this unit students will:
  • understand the core foundations of finance, as appropriate to key financial analysis and decision making;
  • understand the core technologies that support financial analysis and decision making;
  • understand quantitative techniques supporting financial analysis and decision making;
  • be able to apply the technologies and techniques studied to solving financial issues;
  • be able to analyse financial solution requirements and select appropriate technical and quantitative decision aids;
  • be able to interpret outputs from quantitative and technology based finance tools to aid in decision making.

Graduate Attributes

Monash prepares its graduates to be:
  1. responsible and effective global citizens who:
    1. engage in an internationalised world
    2. exhibit cross-cultural competence
    3. demonstrate ethical values
  2. critical and creative scholars who:
    1. produce innovative solutions to problems
    2. apply research skills to a range of challenges
    3. communicate perceptively and effectively

Assessment Summary

Examination (3 hours): 60%; In-semester assessment: 40%

Assessment Task Value Due Date
Assignment 1 - Assessment of financial health with spreadsheet tool 15% Friday 31 August 2012 midnight
Assignment 2 - Finanical Investment Analysis using AHP based Expert Choice 11.5 software 20% Friday 12 October 2012 midnight
Tutorial Participation 5% Weekly (starting Week 2)
Examination 1 60 % To be advised

Teaching Approach

Lecture and tutorials or problem classes
This teaching and learning approach provides facilitated learning, practical exploration and peer learning.


Our feedback to You

Types of feedback you can expect to receive in this unit are:
  • Informal feedback on progress in labs/tutes
  • Graded assignments with comments
  • Interviews
  • Quiz results
  • Solutions to tutes, labs and assignments

Your feedback to Us

Monash is committed to excellence in education and regularly seeks feedback from students, employers and staff. One of the key formal ways students have to provide feedback is through SETU, Student Evaluation of Teacher and Unit. The University's student evaluation policy requires that every unit is evaluated each year. Students are strongly encouraged to complete the surveys. The feedback is anonymous and provides the Faculty with evidence of aspects that students are satisfied and areas for improvement.

For more information on Monash's educational strategy, and on student evaluations, see:

Previous Student Evaluations of this unit

Changes to assignment tasks have been introduced in accordance with student feedback.

If you wish to view how previous students rated this unit, please go to

Recommended text(s)

Brigham, E. F. & Houston, J. F.. (2012). Fundamentals of Financial Management. (7th) South-Western.

Examination material or equipment

Scientific and/or financial calculators without prior programming. 

Unit Schedule

Week Activities Assessment
0 Register for lab/tute No formal assessment and activities are undertaken in week 0
1 Characteristics, components and functions of IT systems for financial decisions  
2 Firm financial health, financial information sources and financial markets. Tutorials start Week 2
3 Analysis of firm financial health-computation of financial ratios and interpretation of financial statements  
4 Financial statement analysis and modelling  
5 Risk-return, and formation of financial asset portfolios  
6 Analysis and evaluation of firm's cash flow - DCF Modelling Assignment 1 due Friday 31 August 2012 midnight
7 Trading and Transaction Comps Modelling  
8 Financial knowledge representation using fuzzy logic, expert system and application example  
9 Financial clustering/classifications methods (ANN-SOM)  
10 Fuzzy-Neuro inference system for financial markets  
11 Intelligent multiagent-based techniques/tools for financial variable forecasting Assignment 2 due Friday 12 October 2012 midnight
12 Current issues on IT for financial decision and revision  
  SWOT VAC No formal assessment is undertaken in SWOT VAC
  Examination period LINK to Assessment Policy: http://policy.monash.edu.au/policy-bank/

*Unit Schedule details will be maintained and communicated to you via your MUSO (Blackboard or Moodle) learning system.

Assessment Requirements

Assessment Policy

Faculty Policy - Unit Assessment Hurdles (http://www.infotech.monash.edu.au/resources/staff/edgov/policies/assessment-examinations/unit-assessment-hurdles.html)

Academic Integrity - Please see the Demystifying Citing and Referencing tutorial at http://lib.monash.edu/tutorials/citing/

Assessment Tasks


Tutorial Participation will attract a 5% weighting towards the overall unit grade.

  • Assessment task 1
    Assignment 1 - Assessment of financial health with spreadsheet tool
    This is an individual assignment. Students are required to download from the annual report of a set of selected firm in a given industry. Students will learn how financial ratios given in the financial statement in a firm's annual report are computed and should be interpreted based on the text information given in the annual reports. The deliverables include a report with a spreadsheet model (Microsoft Excel).
    Criteria for assessment:

    A written report discussing the questions to be answered which will be assessed based on:

    • Working demonstration of the spreadsheet/mathematical model (30%);
    • Interpretation of the numerical results and sensitivity analysis (40%);
    • Software system and financial model flexibilility (ease of use, etc) (30%).
    Due date:
    Friday 31 August 2012 midnight
    Upload Assignment 1 with signed cover of FIT assignment coversheet to FIT5159 - unit Moodle Assignment 1 submission site.
  • Assessment task 2
    Assignment 2 - Finanical Investment Analysis using AHP based Expert Choice 11.5 software
    This assignment will teach students how to design an empirical test of a "Decision Support System”, based on AHP framework, which can be used for the selection of stocks (financial assets) and the associated investment decision analysis. At the completion of this assignment, students should be able to:
    • Innovatively use Expert Choice 11.5 software for designing a decision support system of financial decision analysis.
    • Formulate the stock selection and investment analysis problem for a given industry in competitive financial capital markets.
    • Demonstrate on the use of financial analytics and the choice of associated criteria and justifications.
    • Preparation of a group report using the following headings:
    1.  Introduction (background and motivation).
    2.  Stock selection problem formulation using AHP framework.
    3.  Using Expert Choice software to establish the goals, sub-goals, weights for each intrinsic, extrinsic, and criteria and relative priorities.
    • Demonstrate the understanding of the limitations of AHP and the need to represent investment criteria using fuzzy logic and Analytic Network processing framework where applicable.

    Each group of students is to apply the Analytic Hierarchy Process (AHP) based decision support system to explore investor behaviour, extrinsic and intrinsic factors in the evaluation, and selection and ranking of three or four listed alternative stocks in ASX for one of five industries:
    1. Telecommunication
    2. Mining
    3. Retail
    4. Energy, oil and gas
    5. Property
    The evaluation framework facilitates the selection of stock/firm and their investment analysis using multi-criterion decision-making criteria discussed in lectures 6 to 8. The pair-wise comparison procedure should be based on appropriate criteria (at least two criteria for each class of investor behaviour/objectives, intrinsic and extrinsic factors).

    The framework captures individual behaviour and perceptions in a changing environment, in the form of judgments of investment criteria and stock alternatives arising from experience. The present perceptive and intuitive evaluation approach has managerial implications because it represents a useful addition to asset selection and investment analysis.

    The deliverable will be a group report comprising information that complies with the assessment criteria stated.
    Criteria for assessment:

    This group assignment will be graded according to the following criteria:

    • Introduction and related literature review (20%)
    • Technical content (calculation and criteria selection; hierarchy construction, priorities ranking, consistency verification, result tables and graphs) (30%)
    • Results discussion (justifications of results reported in tables and graphs in figures) (30%)
    • References (at least 6 to 10 related published papers/technical reports must be read and cited) (10%)
    • Conclusion and articulation of issues for follow up investigation (10%)

    Students must indicate their % contribution to the group work. This will be used to adjust individual student marks if necessary.

    Due date:
    Friday 12 October 2012 midnight
  • Assessment task 3
    Tutorial Participation
    Weekly class exercises and discussions in tutorials.
    Criteria for assessment:
    • Participation in tutorials
    • Completion of class exercises
    • Contribution to class discussions
    Due date:
    Weekly (starting Week 2)


  • Examination 1
    60 %
    3 hours
    Type (open/closed book):
    Closed book
    Electronic devices allowed in the exam:
    Scientific and/or financial calculators without prior programming. 
    Multiple choice questions plus computation and discussion questions. All materials (tutorials, readings, lecture notes/slides) are examinable.

Assignment submission

It is a University requirement (http://www.policy.monash.edu/policy-bank/academic/education/conduct/plagiarism-procedures.html) for students to submit an assignment coversheet for each assessment item. Faculty Assignment coversheets can be found at http://www.infotech.monash.edu.au/resources/student/forms/. Please check with your Lecturer on the submission method for your assignment coversheet (e.g. attach a file to the online assignment submission, hand-in a hard copy, or use an online quiz).

Online submission

If Electronic Submission has been approved for your unit, please submit your work via the VLE site for this unit, which you can access via links in the my.monash portal.

Extensions and penalties

Returning assignments

Resubmission of assignments

Unless otherwise special permission is granted by the Lecturer, no resubmission after due date will be granted.

Referencing requirements

Please refer to the Library Guides for Citing and Referencing at http://guides.lib.monash.edu/content.php?pid=88267&sid=656564

Other Information


Student services

The University provides many different kinds of support services for you. Contact your tutor if you need advice and see the range of services available at www.monash.edu.au/students. For Sunway see http://www.monash.edu.my/Student-services, and for South Africa see http://www.monash.ac.za/current/

The Monash University Library provides a range of services and resources that enable you to save time and be more effective in your learning and research. Go to http://www.lib.monash.edu.au or the library tab in my.monash portal for more information. At Sunway, visit the Library and Learning Commons at http://www.lib.monash.edu.my/. At South Africa visit http://www.lib.monash.ac.za/.

Academic support services may be available for students who have a disability or medical condition. Registration with the Disability Liaison Unit is required. Further information is available as follows:

  • Website: http://monash.edu/equity-diversity/disability/index.html;
  • Email: dlu@monash.edu
  • Drop In: Equity and Diversity Centre, Level 1 Gallery Building (Building 55), Monash University, Clayton Campus, or Student Community Services Department, Level 2, Building 2, Monash University, Sunway Campus
  • Telephone: 03 9905 5704, or contact the Student Advisor, Student Commuity Services at 03 55146018 at Sunway


All reading materials, lecture slides and tutorial/assignment notes other than textbook chapters will be posted on FIT5159-S2_2012 unit moodle website prior to each week lecture. Students are requested to do prior readings before the classes.

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