• Length:
    4 Weeks
  • Effort:
    4–6 hours per week
  • Price:

    FREE
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  • Institution
  • Subject:
  • Level:
    Introductory
  • Language:
    English
  • Video Transcript:
    English

Prerequisites

None

About this course

Are financial statements a mystery to you? Do all those terms and metrics make your head spin? Do you avoid conversations with your finance leaders because you are not confident of your finance ability?

Having a solid understanding of financial terms, statements and metrics is critical to becoming a successful entrepreneur or manager. In this finance course, you will learn how to interpret and use the information contained in financial statements to make key operating decisions, evaluate business performance, and create forecasts of profits and cash flow.

This course introduces you to the form, content and definitions included in the primary financial statements: income statement, balance sheet, and cash flow statement. You will learn how to use this information to make key operating decisions, such as how to balance growth with cash constraints. You will learn how to use ratios to diagnose a company’s financial health and apply these concepts and tools to evaluate a company of your own choosing.

Eliminate your fear of accounting! Financial accounting can be fun once the barriers to learning are broken down. Through a series of learning scenarios that take you through the creation of a simple business, you will become comfortable with basic accounting tools and concepts that you need to more effectively manage your business. By the end of the course, you will become a much more confident user of financial information and will be able to effectively engage with your finance leaders.

This course is part of the Business Principles and Entrepreneurial Thought XSeries.

What you'll learn

  • How primary financial statements are constructed and what types of information is captured in each statement
  • How cash and profits can differ and how to use that information to effectively manage growth
  • How to calculate key performance ratios and use those metrics to evaluate the performance of your business
  • How to create a financial forecast that you can use to better manage your business and to present to potential investors and creditors 

Week 1: Balance Sheet and Transaction Analysis

  • Why do we need financial statements?  What purpose do they serve?
  • What kind of information is contained in the balance sheet?
  • How are day-to-day operating decisions captured and recorded?
  • How are start-up activities (e.g., raising capital, investing in your business) reflected in the financial statements? 

Week 2: Income Statement and Cash Flows

  • How do sales and operating expenses impact earnings and cash flow?
  • What are the early warning signs that my business may run out of cash?
  • Is all growth the same?  What is the difference between good growth and bad growth?

Week 3: Ratio Analysis

  • What are the key ratios for evaluating profitability, return on investment, and liquidity or solvency?
  • How well is my business performing?  How are my competitors doing?
  • How do different strategies and business models reveal themselves in the financial statements? 

Week 4: Forecasting

  • How do I translate my growth plans into a forecast of profits and cash flow?
  • How can a forecast help me manage my business more effectively?
  • What do potential investors or creditors look for in a forecast?

Meet your instructors

Peter Wilson
Professor, Accounting and Law Division
Babson College

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