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Debenhams Case Study

This course explains how investors could have identified multiple warning signals from Debenhams' accounts, without a detailed knowledge of the business.

Debenhams Case Study

This course looks in detail at the Debenhams 2018 accounts and shows what conclusions investors should have drawn about the future of the business. These accounts are full of warning signals which would have given the astute analyst cause to avoid if not outright short the stock.

This course goes right through the financial accounts, looking at all the financial statements, from P&L to the audit report, in some detail, especially on the balance sheet. In fact we have covered many of the areas which tend to be neglected by investors notably the balance sheet and accounting policies in great detail and have spent less time on more conventional analysis like EBIT margins - you all know those already.

There will be many takeaways from this course, but lets flag three of the techniques employed by Steve Clapham when he was a hedge fund analyst. These three factors are typical of the practical knowledge gained from our courses, and they are techniques you won't find in any textbook:

  • SAVE TIME: the three things that Steve looks for when he first opens the accounts, to avoid wasting time on a research project which is unlikely to be fruitful
  • ISSUES: What Steve checks in the audit report
  • DON'T OVERLOOK this element of the financial statements. A part of the accounts often missed by investors

This course is ideal for investors, analysts and portfolio managers who want to learn how to avoid trouble, to recognise warning signals, and most importantly to recognise earnings management. There are many examples here of how CFOs and Finance Directors under pressure will turn to accounting trickery to present the company in a more favourable light. Debenhams looks in our assessment to have been using multiple methods of accounting trickery to boost its results.

Enjoy the course!



This video explains the course

Learn why Debenhams is a compelling example of what to look for when management manipulate earnings


Your Instructor


Stephen Clapham
Stephen Clapham

Stephen (Steve) Clapham has been one of the top analysts in the City of London for over 25 years. A rated analyst at top banks like JP Morgan, Steve moved to become a partner and head of research at two multi-billion hedge funds where he was responsible for hundreds of millions of dollars of investments. Now he brings the benefit of those years of practitioner experience to help you improve your investing and analytical skills.


Frequently Asked Questions


When does the course start and finish?
The course starts now and never ends! It is a completely self-paced online course - you decide when you start and when you finish.
How long do I have access to the course?
How does lifetime access sound? After enrolling, you have unlimited access to this course for as long as you like - across any and all devices you own.
What if I am unhappy with the course?
We would never want you to be unhappy! If you are unsatisfied with your purchase, contact us in the first 30 days and we will give you a full refund.

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