Master’s degree in International Economics and Business

Group accounting and performance

Course code
Name of lecturers
Cristina Florio, Riccardo Stacchezzini
Cristina Florio
Number of ECTS credits allocated
Academic sector
Language of instruction
primo semestre (lauree magistrali) dal Oct 5, 2020 al Dec 23, 2020.

Lesson timetable

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Learning outcomes

This course aims at developing the skills in understanding and analyzing groups of companies as a form of network useful to pursue dimensional and geographical – and, thus, also international - growth of business activities.

Firstly, the course explores groups' constitutive factors, creation processes and determinants, as well as the possible forms of groups that may be realized. Secondly, the course focuses on the representation of consolidated equity and income through the preparation of the consolidated financial statement according to the International Financial Reporting Standards (IAS/IFRS). Finally, by building on the knowledge about group structure and the capability of reading a consolidated financial statement, the course explains the techniques of performance analysis at the group level, also by relying on relevant reports.

At the end of the course, the student will be able to:
- Know and understand different forms of networks and groups, and judge their consistency with business goals;
- Prepare and read a consolidated financial statement according to the IAS/IFRS;
- Develop a technical analysis and express a judgment on the group financial performance;
- Communicate effectually the strategic and managerial features, as well as the performance, of business networks aimed at internationalization purposes.


The course program is structured into three parts:
1. Genesis, structure and governance of groups of companies.
1.1. The creation of groups: Purposes and processes – 1.2. Determinants of groups creation – 1.3. Groups classifications – 1.4. Governance structure in groups: The relationship between ownership and direction, and the role of minorities – 1.5. Conflict of interest within groups – 1.6. The transfer price mechanism – 1.7. Firm and group direction.

2. Theory and technique of consolidated financial statement
2.1. Introduction to the consolidated financial statement – 2.2. Integration logic and consolidation methods – 2.3. Regulation: The consolidated financial statement in Italy – 2.4. Scope of consolidation – 2.5. The consolidation process: 2.5.1. Preliminay adjustments – 2.5.2 Genesis and accounting treatment of the consolidation difference – 2.5.3. The adjustment of intragroup transactions – 2.5.4. Non-controlling interests – 2.5.5 Accounting treatment for unconsolidated participations - 2.6 Consolidated financial statement according to the International Financial Reporting Standards (Ias/Ifrs)

3. Analysis and assessment of the group’s performance
3.1. The group informative system – 3.2. Information content of consolidated financial statement and performance analysis at the group level – 3.3. Segment reporting – 3.4. The reconciliation statement – 3.5. Economic equilibrium at the group level – 3.6 Financial equilibrium at the group level: – 3.6.1. Share leverage – 3.6.2 Financial leverage – 3.7. Overall judgement on the group’s performance.

Teaching activities
In order to encourage students’ learning ability, the course adopts an integrated approach that combines theoretical lessons, practical applications, discussion of case studies and analysis of a consolidated financial statement. The course includes also some seminars with representatives of groups of companies.
During the lessons some exam simulations will be made available.
During the whole academic year, individual office hour is offered by the Lecturers (please see the Lecturers' web page for updated office hours). The Lecturers are also available on appointment (please send an e-mail).

Teaching materials
The content of the textbook, of the lessons and the exercises carried out during the course is consistent with the programme. Both the programme and the studying materials are the same for students who attend and students who do not attend the course. Teaching slides, further readings and accounting standards will be available on the e-learning platform (teaching Dashboard).

Reference books
Author Title Publisher Year ISBN Note
Gallimberti C., Marra A., Prencipe A. Consolidation – Preparing and understanding consolidated financial statements under IFRS McGraw-Hill Education 2013
Ditillo A., Caglio A. Controlling Collaboration Between Firms CIMA Publishing 2008
Petersen C.V., Plenborg T. Financial Statement Analysis Prentice Hall 2012

Assessment methods and criteria

For the teaching year 2020/21 – and particularly for the winter session 2021 – the examination procedure might be still subject to the pandemic emergency safety provisions. The following examination procedures take into account the provisions of the Ministry for University and the University of Verona currently in force. Any variations resulting from changes to these provisions will be promptly communicated.

Students will be assessed through:
1. An intermediate examination, that consists in a teamwork analysis of the structure, M&A activity and performance of a group of companies. The intermediate examination provides for the drafting of a 10-15 page report (in word or pdf), which is due towards the end of the course, and a 3-5 slide presentation (in around 10 minutes per team). The teamwork can be done entirely at a distance, through software and applications made available by the University of Verona. The teamwork aims at assessing the capability acquired in performing and discussing a meaningful group analysis, both at a technical and an interpretive level. Furthermore, the capabilities will be assessed, both individually and collectively, in making judgments on the group performance, in communicating with the group members and in written and oral communications. The teamwork will provide students with maximum 3 points.
2. A final examination, that consists in an individual written test on the whole program and aims at assessing the knowledge of the topics studied during the course and the capability of solving some case-studies. The written examination is structured into three parts: the first part includes 5 multiple-choice or true/false questions; the second part includes 3 semi-open questions and may include case analysis; the third part includes 2 numerical exercises, of which one focused on the consolidated financial statement. The examination lasts 90 minutes, provides students with maximum 30/30 points, and will be held at a distance (i.e., online).
The final mark is obtained by the sum of the two partial points.

For those students who cannot take part in the team work (because of working reasons or other objective reasons), the assessment is carried out through the individual written test as describe at point 2. above.

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