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This content is taken from the University of Leeds & ICAEW's online course, The Importance of Money in Business. Join the course to learn more.

Skip to 0 minutes and 4 seconds This week we have looked at the strategies and methods involved when growing our business. Decision making is the process of gathering and using information to make a choice where two or more options might be open to you. Every business, no matter the size, is making decisions on a regular basis. It could involve a long-term issue, such as launching a new product, or a short term one, such as taking on a temporary employee. Get it right and the business grows. Get it wrong and the business may struggle. But what makes a good decision or decision maker? Here are the views of some of our experts. To talk about making effective decisions you need to talk about making informed decisions.

Skip to 0 minutes and 49 seconds And I think if you’re talking about informed you’re then talking about information and going back one stage earlier you’re talking about data. So this is where you’re starting off as an accountant. You’re starting off by gathering in all the data that there might be around on a particular topic. You’re putting it together into a piece. You’re looking at what the constraints might be and what you could do moving forward. You’re looking about what the risks might be on making a decision. And then you’re using all of that to put together a case that says overall I think this is a good decision. This is a good basis for a decision. It’s one I can support and justify.

Skip to 1 minute and 25 seconds I know why I’ve made it. And it seems right in the current context. The first thing I always do when I’m unsure about something is consult. So you want to make sure you are tapping into the best resources available to you. And that’s often someone who’s been in that situation before, asking them what they would do if they were in your situation. Sometimes it may also benefit you to get a range of opinions, and after listening and analysing sort of choosing the path that’s best for you. After a while you will have gained enough experience in a particular area to be able to quickly make the decisions which are best for the situation you find yourself in.

Skip to 2 minutes and 8 seconds To be an effective decision maker you need to be able to accumulate data so that you or others can make decisions. This is about being able to find relevant information from a range of sources and organise it. Ensure that your work is backed up and easily recovered. This is about making sure that once you have taken the time and effort to gather your data it doesn’t get lost or stolen. Use data to aid decision making. Once we have all the data the decision will normally be made by assessing the costs and benefits of all the options. Some of the information may be more reliable, some less reliable.

Skip to 2 minutes and 50 seconds So the value you place on it will be linked to its usefulness and reliability. Of course, even with these tools the decision maker won’t always get it right. You probably have lots of examples of decisions you have made in the recent past. Reflect on them, and consider the steps you took, how you gathered data, evaluated its reliability, and how you weighed out the benefits and risks of the various options available to you. Decision making is another important skill I’ve developed while I’ve been at Leeds University. So when I was studying for my A-levels, I knew that I wanted to do something that involved finance and numbers.

Skip to 3 minutes and 28 seconds But I wasn’t sure what it was I actually wanted to do as a career. So I chose accounting and finance because the range of opportunities that it provides me with. So in my first and second year I wasn’t completely sure still what I wanted to do once I left university. I did a placement year. And then on the back of that I decided that actually tax was what I wanted to go down. So in my final year I was able to tailor my degree course to do a tax module and then prepare me even more for the graduate job.

Skip to 3 minutes and 55 seconds Now you may want to return to the skills portfolio that you started last week on the course, which has some examples of how you might demonstrate the skills of decision making. If you have some gaps in your skills in these areas consider what opportunities you might take to fill those gaps in the coming months.

Key skills: decision-making

In this video Alice considers the importance of decision-making within any successful business or organisation.

This week we have seen that every business wants to achieve growth at some point. In order to do this successfully, businesses certainly need people who can make effective decisions.

In this video Alice is joined by experts and people working at different levels within a variety of organisations. They explain the role decision-making has played in their own careers and suggest ways in which you can develop your skills in these areas.

Skills review

After watching the video take some time to update the skills portfolio we introduced you to in Week 1. What examples can you give of your experience making decisions? If you find any gaps, think of opportunities you could take to get extra experience.

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This video is from the free online course:

The Importance of Money in Business

University of Leeds