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FIT5159 IT for financial decisions - Semester 2, 2015

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 (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 8 hours independent study per week for completing lab and project work, private study and revision.

See also Unit timetable information

Unit Relationships


FIT9131 or FIT5131 or FIT9004 or FIT9017 or equivalent
Basic descriptive and inferential statistics, some financial accounting and basic business finance knowledge.

Chief Examiner

Campus Lecturer


Caddie Gao

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

Based on previous student feedback this unit is well structured and no changes have been made for this semester.

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

Academic Overview

Learning Outcomes

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

Unit Schedule

Week Activities Assessment
0 Register for lab/tute No formal assessment and activities are undertaken in week 0
1 Fundamentals to decision making in finance  
2 Knowledge creation in finance - Financial statements and cash flow Tutorials start Week 2. Class exercises and discussions in tutorials (weekly)
3 Analysis of financial statements - Ratio analysis  
4 Analysis and evaluation of cash flow  
5 Cost of capital and basics of capital budgeting  
6 Risk-return and formation of financial asset portfolios Assignment 1 due Friday 4 September 2015, 4pm
7 Multi-criteria decision support framework (AHP)  
8 Financial knowledge representation using fuzzy logic and expert system  
9 Analytic Network Process (ANP) - Decision making with dependence and feedback  
10 Artificial Neural Networks (ANN-SOM) for classification  
11 Financial planning and forecasting Assignment 2 due Friday 16 October 2015, 4pm
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 learning system.

Teaching Approach

Lecture and tutorials or problem classes
This teaching and learning approach helps students to initially encounter information at lectures, discuss and explore the information during tutorials, and practice in a hands-on lab environment.

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 4 September 2015, 4pm
Assignment 2 - Finanical Investment Analysis using AHP based Expert Choice 11.5 software 20% Friday 16 October 2015, 4pm
Continual assessment during tutorial Participation 5% Weekly (starting Week 2)
Examination 1 60 % To be advised

Assessment Requirements

Assessment Policy

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
    Learning Outcomes: 1, 3, 4, 6. 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:

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

    • A spreadsheet model for each of the case that satisfies the specified requirements (30%);
    • Flexibility and ease of use of spreadsheet model for decision making (20%);
    • A short report addressing all the questions posed in each of the case and making recommendation where necessary (50%).
    Due date:
    Friday 4 September 2015, 4pm
  • Assessment task 2
    Assignment 2 - Finanical Investment Analysis using AHP based Expert Choice 11.5 software
    Learning Outcomes: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. This assignment require students 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. 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, including any limitations and assumptions) (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 16 October 2015, 4pm
  • Assessment task 3
    Continual assessment during 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. 

Learning resources

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

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
  • Solutions to tutes, labs and assignments

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

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 electronic submission). 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.

You will need access to: Expert Choice software and spreadsheets.  The software is available in the labs.  


Recommended text(s)

Besley S., Brigham E. F., Henry D. & Watanabe T.. (2013). Corporate Finance: The Essentials. (1st Edition) South-Western.

Examination material or equipment

Scientific and/or financial calculators without prior programming. 

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

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.


All reading materials, lecture slides and tutorial/assignment notes other than textbook chapters will be posted on the FIT5159-S2_2013 unit Moodle website prior to each week's lecture. Students are requested to do prior readings before the classes.

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