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Skills & Learning

Statement
Lucky Cement Limited

Muhammad Asif Javed


ACCA Registration # 1716551

Learning from meetings with mentor and project presentation:


First Meeting
I had already made up my mind regarding the topic and company before my first session. My mentor asked
me the reason for choosing the subject company. He appeared satisfied with my answer and gave me
briefing about the OBU RAP. He urged me to conduct a thorough research on the industry first in order to
gain an adequate understanding of the business environment of the company. He warned me about the
common pitfalls relating to approaching the research phase and preparing the analysis. He also advised me
to look out for burnouts as students start the RAP with much zeal and zest then they slow down unable to
complete it on time. I had many questions regarding the different stages of the project and how should I set
my objectives for this project. After initial discussion we moved on to planning the timeline of the project, we
discussed the whole project part wise. My mentor told me about the significance of each part. He advised me
that I should start by researching both the companies business environment and strategic approaches and
then move on analysing financial information. He advised me to read various trade journals, analyst reports,
business magazines and newspapers for gathering data.

Second meeting
By the time of the second meeting, I had collected a bulk of research data. But I was having trouble
extracting the relevant information out of such huge amount of data discussed it with my mentor and he told
me to stay calm and focus on my research objectives. He said it was easy to get lost in the sea of data but
one should only seek the information that he require. This way I will only put my time and effort in the
relevant information and not every piece of article which is available on the internet He also told me to
consider the latest information as current issues are more relevant to the business analysis part of the
project. I was done with my ratio analysis and requested my mentor to review it. My mentor found some
issues with my referencing and advised me to cross check my conclusions with various external sources
other than companys official website. He urged me to read the opinions of other analysts as they have the in
depth information and historical information and it might help to create a stronger perspective. I had decided
to perform a detailed and comprehensive SWOT analysis to cover the business analysis as I believe SWOT
analysis can provide a reasonable picture of the companys strategic position in the market for this RAP
keeping in mind the imposed word count by the OBU. My mentor reaffirmed my use of the SWOT model for
the business analysis part and gave me a deadline for the third meeting.

Third meeting
I started the meeting by delivering the presentation I had prepared on PowerPoint slides. A question answers
section was followed by the presentation as my mentor had invited some of his students to see my
presentation. I was asked a lot of questions regarding the models I had used and the financial ratios
calculated. My mentor however asked questions that tested my background supporting and basis for my
conclusions.

After the presentation, my mentor reviewed my whole project and identified weaknesses that need to be
rectified. He rechecked my financial analysis and appreciated the improvements I had made since our last
session. He checked my business analysis in detail and was satisfied with the overall consistency between
the two analyses. He however had some advice for the format of my report and suggested ways to improve
it. He also reviewed the structure and style for presentation of financial results and asked me to incorporate
some changes to make it look professional. He appeared satisfied with the referencing of my project but
insisted to put some more graphs and charts in order to demonstrate proper IT skills. Overall he was satisfied
with my basis and conclusions and gave me the green signal to submit the project.

The RAP and My Academics:


This Research and Analysis Project had an impacting result on my academic studies. I was fully equipped
with the knowledge of the financial and business models due to my thorough and comprehensive ACCA
curriculum but RAP not only strengthened my academic knowledge but also helped me in getting a practical
exposure to my theoretical knowledge. I had a good understanding of the concepts but was never fully aware
of their use in a real life scenario. By applying these models to a real life company and its data, I grasped the
same concepts from a different perspective which widened my mind and helped me in seeing the bigger
picture. Applying SWOT in line with the macro environmental factors and keeping in mind the competitive
environment of the company helped me in getting an in depth understanding of the application and resulted
in conducting a rigorous analysis. Similarly applying ratio analysis to a real life companies and investigating
the results opened my mind to various possibilities regarding trends and relationships of balance sheet and
profit and loss items, the understanding of which I had never experienced in my theoretical studies. The ratio
analysis of the company has to be conducted keeping in mind its business and operating environment. The
trends have to be analyzed in line with the industry norms. This made me gain a better understanding of how
businesses operate. I also learned about the financial and economic market of Pakistan and the political and
legal factors impacting the businesses. I extensively studied the Pakistans cement industry and conducted
my analysis in line with the industrys structure and dynamics. Research was an ongoing activity throughout
the project and it gradually developed my research skills. I had applied the financial and business models on
a wide range of data which tested my analytical skills heavily and I developed a pattern of logical reasoning
when analyzing variances such as increase/decrease in expenses and strengthening/weakening of revenue.
I had to read a lot of trade and business journals in order to find the relevant information for my analysis. As a
result, I came to know about very interesting issues relating to tax, industry structure, competitive
environment and the world economics. This developed my interest in reading business magazines which will
be helpful in my further studies as my professional level optional papers include a testing portion relating to
the worlds current issues. This will also help me in preparation for job interviews in various companies as
interviewers are more likely to ask questions about the business world and the Pakistans economic and tax
structure for the companies. I had made extensive use of MS Excel, PowerPoint and MS Word which took
my IT skills to the next level as I had never used these tools to this much extent. I believe that IT skills are the
must for successful career building and the skills acquired thorough this RAP would pave my way for a bright
career in accounting and finance.

Demonstration of Interpersonal and Communication Skills


Excellent communication and interpersonal skills are imperative to become a successful professional in the
field of accounting and finance. Before doing this research and analysis project, I had not interacted with
people in a professional manner and therefore I did not have a formal talking experience so it never occurred
to me to develop my communication skills. When I first met my mentor at one of the sessions, he showed
concerns regarding my lack of communication skills. He noticed that I could not adequately express myself
as it was hard for me to properly explain my point of views partly because I get confused about how to say
what I want to say especially in first time meetings when I have not developed a comfort level with the other
person. I had so many questions in mind at my first meeting. And in a rush, I had not phrased my questions
well and did not put them out in an understandable manner. I also had a habit of speaking too fast without
checking if the listener is following me or not. My mentor told me to ask one question at a time and tried his
best to answer in detail. He then proceeded with a demonstration of speaking and questioning skills. He told
me that it is very important to make eye contact while conversing with the other person in order to judge if a
mutual understanding is being established as this would not only facilitate the conversation but also ensure
that both persons are on the same page in terms of understanding.
I had also never given a presentation before. My mentor had guided me on the dos and donts of
presentation and urged me to watch some tutorials in order to learn the basic body language and use of
gestures and hand movements. I paid heed to his suggestions and prepared my presentation as he had
advised. I wanted to demonstrate the improvements I have made in my personality after the sessions with
him. Therefore I prepared my presentation well, remembered the content and presented them in an amicable
manner. I was careful not to speak too fast or too slow so I maintained a pace only raising my voice at the
matter of emphasis and taking small pauses wherever appropriate. I also focused at maintain eye contact
and avoided looking sideways. My mentor had invited his students to see my presentation so I can have a
public speaking experience in order to instill confidence in me. I was determined not to let my mentor down
and delivered my speech smoothly in a loud and clear voice. I also incorporated the appropriate hand
gestures and body movements. I was careful not to lean towards the audience and maintained a pose which
I was comfortable with. Overall this was a good experience and I greatly recovered from my fear of public
speaking.

How well I have answered my research question?


At start of my research, I defined some research questions. And I established a structured approach when
conducting my research. In order to conduct the financial analysis of the company I wanted to evaluate the
profitability, efficiency, liquidity and gearing position of the Lucky Cement Limited. To successfully perform
this task I set my research questions accordingly. In order to assess the financial performance I calculated
profitability ratios consisting (Gross Profit Margin & net profit margin). For the understanding of investors I
calculated Return on capital employed as well. As part of liquidity analysis I calculated current ratio of the
company. To evaluate the companys gearing position I calculated debt to equity ratio. I also calculated

receivable collection period and payable payment period to assess the companys working capital position. I
compared the financial performance of the company with its immediate competitor in the market. During my
assessment of the financial performance of the company I evaluated the reasons for change in its
performance with preceding year and of its competitor. I also applied the SWOT analysis in order to evaluate
the companys strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats and its competitive position in the market. I
also used porter five forces model to assess the environmental factors which can affect the companys
business performance. I believe I have conducted my research very carefully and according to the
instructions of the Oxford Brookes University. My conclusions are consistent with the general understanding
of the company and cement industry. Therefore I can confidently say that my research objectives have been
met and research questions are answered satisfactorily.