AIS in Assessing and addressing the Perfect Storm in the higher education sector
The university system is under severe stress on four fronts. Student-staff ratios are blowing out, export income is evaporating, access to research grants is at demoralisation levels and universities are struggling to replace an ageing academic workforce.
“The higher education sector is facing a perfect storm,” director of the University of Melbourne’s Centre for the Study of Higher Education Richard James says.
Source: Healy, G. 2010, Universities facing crisis of confidence, The Australian, October 23. Available at:
Read the above article, identify three more media or academic journal articles that explained similar phenomena, and then write a report addressing the following requirements:

  1. Prepare a list of the factors that are assumed to have contributed to the perfect storm in the higher education sector in Australia.
  1. As a student studying accounting information systems (AIS), identify and explain the salient factors affecting the business processes (transaction cycles) of a university during the perfect storm.
  1. Explain how a well-designed Accounting Information System can help university management in taking strategic decisions reducing the impact of the perfect storm.


Use the report format to address the above requirements. Marks will also be provided for an executive summary, a conclusion, grammar and references.

Word limit: 2,000 words (approximately).

Marking guideline and assignment submission criteria

Requirements Description and analysis Allocated marks
1 List of the factors that are assumed to have contributed to the perfect storm. 3
2 Explanation of the salient factors affecting the business processes (transaction cycles) of a university. 6
3 Role of the AIS in helping University management in taking strategic decisions. 5
Presentation Executive summary.
Grammar and punctuation.
References in appropriate style (both in-text and in the list of references).
Total marks 20% of the course. 20
Word limit 2,000 words (approximately)
Submission Please see the deadline and other submission information available in the course profile and moodle.

* Please note that further guideline may be provided about contribution of the participants in the group.

Guidelines for writing assignment report:

  • Read carefully the context of the assessment item 2.
  • Try to understand the requirements.
  • Be familiar with the relevant concepts. See week 1 study materials.
  • Download relevant articles.
  • Although not obligatory, download annual reports of two or three Australian universities other than Group 8 universities in Australia.Choose regional and metropolitan universities to download annual reports. See CEO/Presidents Report, Income Statement and Cash flow Statement. These will help you understand business processes, some clues for Perfect Storm, and strategic decisions/plans of the universities to overcome the situation.
  • Use a Report Format (not an Essay Format). See a template below:

Template of the Report

Name and Student Id

Name of lecturer/tutor (flex students should mention CC’s name)

  • Executive summary (purpose, methods/how you proceeded and gist of findings)
  • Requirement 1: give a title and discuss underneath
  • Requirement 2: give a title and discuss underneath
  • Requirement 3: give a title and discuss underneath
  • Conclusions (key findings and suggestions)
  • References in appropriate style (Harvard referencing). References are required in-text (in the body) and in-list (at the end of the report). Do not include any reference that has not been used in the text of the report.

Some notes:
*Marking criteria will help you plan how much you need to write for each requirement.
**Word limit: 2,000 words.
****Remember the deadline.