You have recently been taken on by JPG Financial, a small independent financial consultancy that has been trading in the local area for 10 years. The practice was started by three partners, Alan James, Doug Parker and Susan Graham, friends from university whom have each got an equal controlling share in the business. All three are still heavily involved in the practice but Susan is now part-time since she left 3 years ago to start a family.
The practice deals with most areas of financial consultancy, these include arranging mortgages and loans; life assurances and a range of various investment plans to suit the needs of the customer. Since opening, the practice has grown steadily and now employs 10 people.
The business is keen for trainees to learn and develop skills and knowledge of the practice quickly, so pays for all trainees to attend once a week at a local college where they study for their Financial Planning qualifications. As part of their internal training program the partner responsible for training, Susan Graham, has set you the following task.
P1 - Explain different types of business information, their sources and purposes.
P5 - Explain the legal and ethical issues in relation to the use of business information.
P6 - Explain the operational issues in relation to the use of business information.
P7 - Outline electronic and non-electronic methods for communicating business information, using examples for different types of audience.
M1 - Analyse different types of business information and their sources.
M2 - Analyse the legal, ethical and operational issues in relation to the use of business information, using appropriate examples.
D1 - Evaluate the appropriateness of business information used to make strategic decisions.
D2 - Evaluate the effectiveness of business information and its communication as key contributors to the success of an organisation, using examples to illustrate your points.
Tandy suggests that using publisher to produce the article would be the best option with a 3 column per page format. The article should use the following headings.
The practice receives information from numerous sources and this information is communicated through several different mediums, formal and informal, electronic and non-electronic.
You have been asked to investigate all the different information that flows both in and out of the business and to also identify the methods through which this information is communicated. Once you have made notes on this, Susan has asked that you present the information in a concise table using the following headings. She expects that you will need approximately two sides of A4 to cover all the necessary sources of information that the business deals with. It is suggested that you prepare you table landscape rather than portrait to leave space for all necessary columns.
Now that you have recorded all of this information in the table, Susan is keen for you to further your understanding by adding an additional column to your table that explains why each method of communicating information is the most suitable for that particular audience.
As part of it's affiliation to the Financial Standards Authority the practice has to be very clear and fully document all procedures with regards to the security, operational, legal and ethical issues when using business information, especially information that is client specific containing personal details. Strict rules exist that must be adhered to otherwise the practice's ability to trade could be at risk.
As part of your continued training, Susan had said it is essential that you are fully aware of all of these procedures and had asked you to prepare a short report of no more than 1000 words to detail all procedures that the business should have in place and give examples of why these issues are important, including the problems that could result if the procedures are not followed.
P5, P6, M2
For P5, learners need to explain the legal and ethical issues relating to the use of business information. Learners can use the same business, organisation or any other organisation, especially if it is difficult to obtain the necessary information. Learners need to try and obtain the business organisation's policies on ethical issues in relation to business information and explain how that organisation complies with their legal obligations. (waste/sustainable methods/employment practices/fairness/whistle blowing) computer misuse - trade descriptions.
For P6, for the same or any other business organisation, the learner needs to explain the operational issues in relation to business information. This would include how the organisation ensures their information is secure. In addition, learners need to explain the health and safety issues associated with information management and also the development of new systems to manage information, the possible need for more complex software and staff training.
Daily operational issues of the business provide the mechanics that allow the business to function efficiently. For example, regular maintenance of the photocopiers or printers seems trivial but being without these resources for any length of time would result in inefficiency and the business offering a poor service if for instance copies of a client's personal documents could not taken and they were asked to return.
So having effective operations and communication within the business are fundamental to its overall success.
To prove that you are ready to become an effective member of the team, Alan and Doug would like to interview you. If successful they will sign off your training record and you can begin working on actual client portfolios.
As part of the interview you will be expected to do the following;
You can use a PowerPoint or flip chart to help you but you will be expected to present your ideas and interact with the audience by answering any questions deemed necessary.
For your chosen business, identify at least 3 key strategic decisions that the business might make. These decisions or actions might be decided or set at an annual general meeting or half yearly review of the business. It could be issues that have been identified as a result of a SWOT/PESTLE analysis for instance.
For this assessment criteria, your decisions or actions should be realistic and ones that are ideally actually related to the business.
D1 - evaluate the appropriateness of business information used to make strategic decisions.
D2 - evaluate the effectiveness of business information and its communication as key contributors to the success of an organisation, using examples to illustrate your points.
In making the strategic decisions, the business will use several sources of information to fully understand the issues before making the decision. Evaluate the appropriateness of business information used to make these strategic decisions.
Identify what makes the business a success and how they know this. There are literally hundreds of factors that go towards making a business successful. Effective use of business information and how this information is communicated are key contributors to this success. With reference to your table used for P1/M1 and any other examples you can think of evaluate how effective use of business information and effective communication of information contributes to the success of the business.