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Monash University

FIT3051 Decision support systems for finance - Semester 2, 2014

This unit is designed to introduce students to the practical application of decision support systems for finance using modern computer tools. It covers issues associated with the implementation, theory and risk of decision support systems for finance. The aims of this course are to provide a study of the concepts behind decision making; the tools and techniques to support various stages of the decision making process and to explore key factors of successful decision support systems for finance problems and their development methodology. On completion of the unit, students should be able to:

  1. understand the needs of decision makers and apply techniques and tools to support various phases of the decision making process
  2. formulate requirements for simulation and modelling and apply techniques of sensitivity analysis
  3. analyse and design effective decision support systems for finance problems.

Mode of Delivery

Clayton (Day)

Workload Requirements

Minimum total expected workload equals 12 hours per week comprising:

(a.) Contact hours for on-campus students:

  • Two hours of lectures
  • One 2-hour laboratory

(b.) Additional requirements (all students):

  • A minimum of 2-3 hours of personal study per one hour of contact time in order to satisfy the reading and assignment expectations.

Unit Relationships


BUS3030, AFF2051, AFW2051


Completion of 24 points of FIT units at level 2

Chief Examiner

Campus Lecturer


Associate Professor Vincent Lee

Consultation hours: Wednesday, 9:00-11:00am Clayton campus, Building 63, office 122; 13:00-15:00 hr, Monday @Lecture theatre CL_25/S1;

Dr Kevin Liao

Consultation hours: To be advised



Kevin Liao

Consultation hours: TBA; Tutorial hours: Monday, 11:00 to 12 hours and 14:00 - 15:00 hrs CL_26/G18

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 the Student Evaluation of Teaching and Units (SETU) survey. 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, see:

www.monash.edu.au/about/monash-directions/ and on student evaluations, see: www.policy.monash.edu/policy-bank/academic/education/quality/student-evaluation-policy.html

Previous Student Evaluations of this Unit

Some modifications on assessment criteria. There are two assignments - one individual assignment and one group assignment, and no class test.

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

Academic Overview

Learning Outcomes

At the completion of this unit, students should be able to:
  • assess the potential scope for using decision support systems as part of the solution to an enterprise operational finance problem;
  • describe and explain how to apply decision support systems to help solve the operational finance problems of an enterprise;
  • explain and apply analytic Hierarchy process framework for investment portfolio construction;
  • explain the use of Fuzzy Expert System to represent explicit financial knowledge;
  • explain the selection of artificial intelligent tools to be used for financial decision support.

Unit Schedule

Week Activities Assessment
0   No formal assessment or activities are undertaken in week 0
1 Fundamentals to decision making in finance  
2 Finance knowledge creation process for Decision Support Systems in Finance Assessed tutorial / lab classes begin this week (week begining 11 August 2014); assignment 1 published
3 Analysis of financial statement using ratios  
4 Risk-return and investment portfolio issues - I  
5 Risk-return and investment portfolio issues - II  
6 Multicriteria decision support framework (AHP) Assignment 1 (individual) due 1st September 2014, 4pm; assignment 2 published
7 Application of AHP to finance decision support (work example)  
8 Using AHP for investment portfolio decision - I  
9 Using AHP / ANP for investment portfolio decision - II Sample examination paper published
10 Operational finance (risk management) DSS fundamental  
11 Intelligent decision support systems for finance fundamental  
12 Intelligent decision support systems for finance (applications) Assignment 2 (Group assignment) due on Monday 20 Oct 2014, 4pm
  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 learning system.

Teaching Approach

  • Lecture and tutorials or problem classes
    This teaching and learning approach provides facilitated learning, practical exploration and peer learning.
  • Laboratory-based classes
    This teaching approach is practical learning.

Assessment Summary

Examination (2 hours): 60%; In-semester assessment: 40%

Assessment Task Value Due Date
Finance knowledge fundamental and analysis for DSS 10% Monday 1st September 2014, 4pm
Analytic Hierarchical / Analytic Network Process/ Value at risk 25% Monday 20 October 2014, 4pm
Continuous assessment of tutorial participation 5% At the end of each tutorial / lab class
Examination 1 60 % To be advised

Assessment Requirements

Assessment Policy

Assessment Tasks


  • Assessment task 1
    Finance knowledge fundamental and analysis for DSS
    A set of computational and discussion questions based on topics 1 to 4.
    Criteria for assessment:

    This individual assignment will be based on computational questions using financial ratios and associated company specific factors.
    Criteria to be used are:

    1. Correctness and understanding - there may be more than one "right" answer in many cases. We will look for answers that reflect understanding of the underlying principles and theories.
    2. Completeness - that you have answered all parts of each question.
    3. Presentation - that you have presented your answers in a suitably formatted report style.
    4. Use of evidence and argument - you are able to explain your position by using logical argument drawing on the theory presented in the unit.
    Due date:
    Monday 1st September 2014, 4pm
  • Assessment task 2
    Analytic Hierarchical / Analytic Network Process/ Value at risk
    A specific case on decision support systems for financial investment and risk management decision setup, using behavioural psychology and economic fundamentals criteria, and implemented on AHP / ANP with the help of Expert Choice software tool.

    Students are to work in groups of 2 to 4. A final group report of a minimum of 3000 words (excluding graphs and tables) is to be submitted by the set deadline. Each student must contribute at least 1000 words in the report write-up.
    Criteria for assessment:

    1) Investment portfolio formulation methods. (30 / 100)

    2) Solution to investment portfolio to obtain optimum asset class allocation. (30 / 100)

    3) Discussion with interpretation of results and their implications. (30 / 100)

    4) Conclusion and recommendation of issues for further investigations. (10 / 100)

    The report will be graded according to the following criteria:

    1. All programs codes used to implement AHP must compile and run correctly to meet the problem specification.
    2. Correctness in the interpretation of results must be reported concisely.
    3. Recommendations made for investment decision taking must be theoretically justified and intuitively correct.

    The tutor will monitor individual contributions when allocating marks to members of the group.

    Due date:
    Monday 20 October 2014, 4pm
  • Assessment task 3
    Continuous assessment of tutorial participation
    In order to meet unit group assessment objectives students are expected to attend all tutorial / practical classes, where they will engage in active group participation.
    Criteria for assessment:

    The tutor in charge will monitor individual's participation of activities i.e. continuous assessment of tutorial tasks inclusive of quizzes when allocating marks to each student.

    Due date:
    At the end of each tutorial / lab class


  • Examination 1
    60 %
    2 hours
    Type (open/closed book):
    Closed book
    Electronic devices allowed in the exam:
    Students may use a financial calculator or programmable scientific calculator.
    Multiple choice and discussion type questions.

    All formulae except definition of terms and ratios will be given.

Learning resources

Reading list

Brigham, E. F. and Houston, J. F. (2012), Fundamentals of Financial Management (Concise 7th Edition), South-western

Slaughter, S.J. and Delwiche, L. D. (2011), The Little SAS Book for Enterprise Guide 4.2, SAS

Charnes, J (2007), Financial Modelling with Crystal Ball and Excel + companion web site, ISBN 13: 978-0-471-77972-8, John Wiley

Monash Library Unit Reading List (if applicable to the unit)

Faculty of Information Technology Style Guide

Feedback to you

Examination/other end-of-semester assessment feedback may take the form of feedback classes, provision of sample answers or other group feedback after official results have been published. Please check with your lecturer on the feedback provided and take advantage of this prior to requesting individual consultations with staff. If your unit has an examination, you may request to view your examination script booklet, see http://intranet.monash.edu.au/infotech/resources/students/procedures/request-to-view-exam-scripts.html

Types of feedback you can expect to receive in this unit are:

  • Informal feedback on progress in labs/tutes
  • Graded assignments with comments
  • Test results and feedback
  • Solutions to tutes, labs and assignments
  • Other: Discussion of solution to tutes, labs (where applicable) and assignments

Extensions and penalties

Returning assignments

Resubmission of assignments

Resubmission or an extension of the submission dateline (up to 5 working days) may be granted if a medical certificate is produced.

Referencing requirements

Basic reading / reference materials for Assignment 2 will be issued. Students aiming for a HD grade are expected to explore / discuss and add innovations to methodology used in the assignment.

Assignment submission

It is a University requirement (http://www.policy.monash.edu/policy-bank/academic/education/conduct/student-academic-integrity-managing-plagiarism-collusion-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). Please note that it is your responsibility to retain copies of your assessments.

Online submission

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

Required Resources

Please check with your lecturer before purchasing any Required Resources. Limited copies of prescribed texts are available for you to borrow in the library, and prescribed software is available in student labs.

Excel Spreadsheet and Crystal Ball software. Expert Choice, or Matlab toolbox, or JAVA (JADE).

These will either be freely downloadable or available for use in University computer labs.  Further details to be advised.

Other Information


Monash has educational policies, procedures and guidelines, which are designed to ensure that staff and students are aware of the University’s academic standards, and to provide advice on how they might uphold them. You can find Monash’s Education Policies at: www.policy.monash.edu.au/policy-bank/academic/education/index.html

Key educational policies include:

Faculty resources and policies

Important student resources including Faculty policies are located at http://intranet.monash.edu.au/infotech/resources/students/

Graduate Attributes Policy

Student Charter

Student services

Monash University Library

Disability Liaison Unit

Students who have a disability or medical condition are welcome to contact the Disability Liaison Unit to discuss academic support services. Disability Liaison Officers (DLOs) visit all Victorian campuses on a regular basis.

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