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BCS Foundation in Commercial Awareness

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Commercial Awareness provides delegates with a deeper understanding of organisational structures and how management approaches can affect them.

This course includes the BCS Certificate in Commercial Awareness.

The Commercial Awareness course provides delegates with a high-level perspective (often the point of view seen by CEO/Board of Directors) on how organisations are structures and how different types of management philosophy can impact them. The course also examines crucial areas of knowledge that help manage organisations from a financial perspective, so that areas such as Financial and Management Accounting, Investment Appraisal, Budgeting and Costing are also covered.

This course is ideal for ambitious business analysts seeking to become business change managers. Successful completion of this course will helpyou speak to the Board in their own language.

Our experienced lecturers will support you every step of the way, ensuring that you learn useful skills to help you in your professional life and that you pass the BCS exam to achieve your qualification.


Part 1 – Business Finance – 50% of course/examination

1. Evaluating a Financial Case 15%

1.1 Purpose of Building a Financial Case

1.2 Techniques used for evaluating a Financial Case

  • Payback
  • Discounted Cash Flow /Net Present Value
  • Internal Rate of Return

2. Budgeting, Costing and Pricing  15%

2.1. Budgets and Departmentalised Businesses

  • The purpose of budgets
  • Reasons for departmentalisation
  • Cost centres and profit centres

2.2. Cash Flow and Cash Management

  • Cash flow forecasting
  • Use of cash flow in decision making
  • Cash flow and profit

2.3. Costing and Pricing

  • Fixed and Variable costs
  • Direct and indirect costs
  • Break even and Contribution Analysis

3. Financial Reporting and Analysis   20%

3.1. Balance Sheet

  • Purpose and Structure
  • The nature, purpose and types of Capital
  • Liabilities, Short and Long Term
  • Fixed and Current Assets

3.2. Income and Expenditure

  • The importance of Operating Profit
  • Turnover (Sales)
  • Cost of Sales
  • Administrative Expenses
  • Profit after Tax

3.3. Cash Flow Statement

3.4. Ratios (formulae and interpretation)

  • Profitability Ratios
  • Liquidity (Cash Management) Ratios
  • Gearing (Leverage) Ratio: Debt/Equity Ratio


Part 2 – Organisational Behaviour (based on Organisational Behaviour and Business Analysis Techniques books) 50% of course / examination

4. Market analysis and competitive advantage     15%

4.1. Analysing the business domain – Porter’s Five Forces Analysis

4.2. Analysing the portfolio – Boston Box

4.3. Delivering value – Porter’s Value Chain

5. Organisational behaviour and culture    10%

5.1. What is organisational behaviour?

5.2. Organisational effectiveness and the Balanced Scorecard

5.3. Understanding and analysing culture

  • Organisational Cultural Types (Deal and Kennedy; Handy)
  • International Cultures (Hofstede)
  • The Cultural Web

6. Group formation     5%

6.1 Groups and group dynamics

6.2 Formal and informal groups

  • Groups and group tasks
  • Characteristics of formal groups
  • Homan’s theory of group formation
  • Tuckman and Jensen’s theory of group development
  • Characteristics of informal groups
  • Social networks

7. Principles of organisational structure    10%

7.1 Organisation structuring

  • Elements of organisation structure
  • The six Structure Levels
  • The Leavitt Diamond

7.2 Types of jobs

  • Work specialisation
  • Flat and tall hierarchies
  • Span of control

7.3 Line, staff and functional relationships

7.4 Formalisation of rules and procedures

7.5 Centralisation v decentralisation

  • Advantages
  • Disadvantages

Who Should attend?

  • Professionals seeking to improve their business analysis skills and knowledge
  • Project experts including project managers, project support staff and project analysts
  • Business experts including product owners, subject matter experts (SMEs), business change managers, senior users, project stakeholders
  • IT experts including systems architects, software developers, testers, support and trainers
  • Practising business analysts – experienced or junior

There are no formal prerequisites to attend the course but most delegates have a graduate-level education and some business experience.

  • Teaching by a real expert… all of our lecturers have years of practical business analysis and teaching experience
  • Learning in a small class (maximum class size is 12) with time for discussion
  • Courseware containing notes, case studies, and sample BCS exams
  • Plenty of individual and small group case study exercises with worked solutions
  • BCS “Business Analysis” book as pre-reading with your first Simetral course
  • Suggested answers for practice exams and tutor support in preparing to sit the exam
  • Refreshments and lunch
  • A convenient central London location 
  • Exam fee
  • Choice of whether to take the exam immediately after the course or at a later date
  • Continuing support as you progress to the BCS International Diploma in Business Analysis