CAFM 4 - Strategy & Decisions

This course focuses on your role as a financial manager and your ability to make sound and informed decisions as your Aboriginal organization seeks to attain high performance. The key processes in attaining high performance are: strategic management; performance management; and effective decision making. These processes are thoroughly discussed in this course, and you will be invited to apply them to your organization. This course covers the following:
  • Decision Making & Problem solving
  • Developing Criteria and Implementation for decision making
  • Strategic Management
  • Performance Measurement
  • Accountability
  • Policy Development

Course Fees:

  • Members: $575 (plus applicable taxes)
  • Non-members: $695 (plus applicable taxes)

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Course Description

This is the fourth course in the Certified Aboriginal Financial Manager Program.  It offers Aboriginal financial managers the opportunity to learn about current practices/activities that support and enable organizational high performance and accountability.

Currently, Aboriginal organizations are assuming more self-government responsibilities and pursuing new opportunities.  With increased responsibility comes the need for increased accountability. In turn, accountability needs to be linked to strategic intent, specific direction and desired results. Financial implications are a key factor in setting direction, measuring results and accountability.

As part of an Aboriginal organization’s management team, decision making, changes in planning and operations have specific implications for the role of the financial manager. This means the financial manager must: 
  • Thoroughly understand the organization and its financial management matters
  • Be integral to the management level decision-making process as a consultative business partner and advisor
  • Be key to developing strategy and delivery of business plans and accountability
  • Be analytically, strategically, and value-added oriented
  • Be focused on performance enhancement
This course focuses on the student’s role as Financial Manager and their ability to make sound and informed decisions as their Aboriginal organization seeks high performance.  The key elements in high performance organizations are strategic management, performance management and effective decision-making.  These processes are thoroughly discussed in this course, and you are urged to apply them to your organization.

This course provides information on how to enhance decision making, planning, performance management, accountability and policy development. The financial manager is expected to play a key leadership role in making improvements in these key areas.

Course Learning Objectives

 Upon completion of the course, the student will be able to:

Role of the Aboriginal Financial Manager
  • understand how the financial management role is changing in organizations;
  • understand the knowledge, skills and capabilities of the new finance function;
  • know the importance of, and how to go about, benchmarking finance best practices;
  • be able to assess their present financial management capabilities; and
  • determine areas for professional development.
Decision Making and Problem Solving
  • understand the basic steps in decision-making and problem solving;
  • use continuous improvement tools to define solutions;
  • know how to achieve group decisions; and
  • measure criteria used in decision making.
Decision Making Criteria and Implementation
  • identify and evaluate options / alternatives;
  • use benchmarking indicators as decision-making criteria;
  • use scenario planning as decision-making criteria;
  • understand how to measure criteria used in decision making; and
  • understand risk and its importance in decision making.
Using Business Cases in Decision Making
  • know the components of a business case;
  • know how to use a business case in making decisions;
  • develop a business case for decision-making purposes; and
  • know how to link a business case to a chosen strategy.
Strategic Management – Formulation
  • discuss the nature of strategy formulation;
  • understand the importance of developing and maintaining a strategic management process;
  • understand how strategic management can lead to high performance;
  • understand critical components of the planning process;
  • understand what a high-performance organization is; and
  • characterize their own or other organization’s orientation toward strategic management, provide an overview and assessment of the current state of strategic management, and identify opportunities for improvement.
Strategic Management – Implementation
  • understand how a business plan drives strategy implementation;
  • understand the critical elements of a business plan and information and decision making support required;
  • understand how to establish a business plan to carry out strategy;
  • develop monitoring and reporting practices to support the business plan;
  • understand how to link continuous improvement and benchmarking for best practices to business plans; and
  • examine practices used to resource business plans.
Strategic Management – Evaluation
  • understand the importance of evaluating strategies;
  • identify what should be evaluated by whom and when; and
  • know how to report findings.
Accountability
  • understand what accountability is and its importance to their organization;
  • understand how accountability relates to strategic management;
  • know how the different types of accountability relate to their Aboriginal organization;
  • understand the elements of accountability and the accountability cycle;
  • know the components of accountability; and
  • understand how to put an accountability program in place.
Performance Management
  • understand what performance management is and its importance to high performance organizations;
  • understand how performance management relates to the measurement of strategic and business plan activities;
  • know the key processes of performance management;
  • know if their Aboriginal organization is ready to establish a performance management framework; and
  • know how to establish a performance management framework.
Policy
  • understand what policies are and their importance to their organization;
  • understand how policies relate to strategies and implementation of business decisions;
  • understand the process for developing an effective policy;
  • understand the relationship between policies and procedures; and understand the components of effective policies and procedures.
Information on how the Course is completed and grated

The course material is broken down into ten lessons. Within each lesson, specific learning objectives as noted in the previous section are listed. Directions are provided to guide you through the readings, lesson notes, other references, and work to be completed.

Course Itinerary

This course has ten lessons that run over a 14-week period. A suggested schedule follows, you are urged to make your own schedule, paying close attention to exact assignment due dates.  These will be confirmed at the start of the course and posted in the Instructor/Coach section. It's recommended that you try to complete a lesson a week.  Be sure to allow yourselves ample time to complete your assignments.
    

Week

Lesson

Topic

Assignments

1

 

Introductions

 

2

1

The Role of the Aboriginal Financial Manager

 

3

2

Decision Making & Problem Solving

 

4

3

Implementing Decisions

 

5

4

Business Cases

 Test #1 - 5%
(Covers Lessons 1, 2 and 3)

6

 

 

Due: Assignment #1 15%

7

5

Strategic Management - Planning

 

8

6

Strategic Management - Implementation

Test #2 - 5%
(Covers Lessons 4, 5 and 6)

9

7

Strategic Management - Evaluation

 

10

 

 

Due: Assignment#2
20%

11

8

Accountability

Test #3 - 5%
(Covers Lessons 7, 8 and 9)

12

9

Performance Management

 

13

10

Policy

Due: Assignment #3
20%

14

 

 

Final Exam - 15%


Course Assignments and Grading

The course will be evaluated as follows:
  • Participation (Discussion forum postings) 15% 
  • Test #1 (Lessons 1, 2 and 3)    5%
  • Assignment #1 (Lesson 4)   15%
  • Test #2 (Lessons 4, 5 and 6)    5%
  • Assignment #2 (Lesson 7)        20%
  • Test #3 (Lessons 7, 8 and 9)    5%
  • Assignment #3 (Lesson 10) 20%
  • Final Exam 15%

Participation

Participation accounts for 15% of the course grade, and has various elements: Group Discussion Participation, Web Searches, and sharing of practices and tools. If you want full marks for participation and the enriched learning experience which this brings you should do the following:
  • provide a quality response to each discussion question;
  • inquire, share information, comment, or challenge the responses of at least one other student per question; and
  • complete the web searches and information sharing as required.
  • The mark for participation is determined on the day the final assignment is due.