Essentials of Finance and Accounting

Register now for an understanding of finance and accounting with our Essentials program. This eight week program will arm you with a basic understanding of the accounting and finance concepts you need to assess your performance—and the performance of your competitors.

This program will include one-year of access to abilitie's Fluent in Finance program, an online-only, 6-8 hour introductory-level course in business finance that combines the convenience and best practices of online delivery with rich, interactive media and business simulations.

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  • Dates

    9/11/2024 6:00 PM - 10/30/2024 9:00 PM

  • Format

    Wednesday evenings - 6:00 pm - 9:00 pm
  • Location

    Live Online

    CPE Hours: 12 

    Credly digital certificate awarded upon course completion.

  • Price


    Most companies offer tuition reimbursement for SMU programs, check with your HR department for details.

    Call 214.768.3335 or email

  • Topics

    The topics presented during the course are focused in three areas - Financial Statement Analysis, Managerial Accounting and Finance, and will help you understand the fundamentals of finance and accounting, read and interpret balance sheets, income statements and cash flow statements, use accounting and financial information to evaluate the performance of your company and your competitors, make better business decisions, assess and select projects and investments using basic principles of finance, understand fixed costs, variable costs, break-even analysis and contribution margin, make a valuable contribution to your company’s financial decisions and much more.

    Program topics include:

    • Fundamental accounting and finance concepts
    • An introduction to financial statements
    • Using accounting and financial data to evaluate performance     
    • Using accounting and financial data to plan for the future
    • Using financial analysis to select projects and investments      
    • Accounting data used for managerial decision making      
    • The use of relevant cost analysis to improve decision making
    • Management control systems

    Learn to read, interpret and analyze financial statements. Learn forecasting and financial-planning approaches to help you with the budgeting process. Get the basics of net present value (NPV) and capital budgeting techniques to apply when evaluating projects. Gain an understanding of the role of costs in corporate decision making, including cost-volume-profit relationships, the role of costs relevant for different decision scenarios, and the incentive effects of cost allocations and their interplay. Review performance evaluation techniques and their relationship to incentives. Ultimately, you’ll learn to use financial information to make better strategic business and investment decisions.


  • Who Should Attend?

    • Managers at all levels who work in non-financial area
    • Leaders in line for positions with more financial responsibility
    • Technical managers with profit/loss or budget responsibility
    • Anyone seeking a better understanding of basic finance and accounting
  • Schedule

    Module 1 - Time Value of Money and Capital Budgeting
    Jim Linck
    In this module, you will:

    • Understand the mechanics of compounding and discounting
    • Be able to solve a wide variety of Time Value of Money (TVM) problems, such as lump sums, annuities, and perpetuities
    • Be able to illustrate where value comes from and how to quantify the value implications of decisions
    • Compare and contrast different capital expenditure decision rules including NPV, IRR and payback period
    • Understand how to use the NPV rule to make value-maximizing decisions and avoid poor decisions brought about by common misuses of alternative decision rules 

    Module 2 - Manager’s Guide to Financial Statements 
    Hemang Desai
    In this module, you will:

    • Understand the role and importance of accounting or financial reporting in capital markets
    • Understand the core principles underlying financial reporting, as well as why these principles are important and how they affect information conveyed in financial statements
    • Learn about key financial statements: the balance sheet, the income statement, and the statement of cash flow statement, as well as what insights managers can learn from each
    • Perform "hands-on" analysis of how business transactions are recorded and then build financial statements from ground-up
    • Discuss limitations of financial statements and some techniques for overcoming them

    Module 3 - Strategic Analysis of Financial Statements
    Hemang Desai
    In this module, you will:                

    • Understand the link between strategy and financial statements
    • Develop a framework of strategic financial statement analysis
    • See an illustration of a wide range of ratios that allow us to assess operating, investing and financing decisions made by the management
    • Learn how to separate the impact of operating/investment decisions from financing decisions

    Module 4 - Financial Analysis and Financial Planning
    Jim Linck
    In this module, you will:

    • Be able to differentiate between earnings and cash flow, and understand why that is an important distinction
    • Link the various operational areas (collections, inventory management, growth, supplier relations) into an overall assessment of cash needs 

    Module 5 - Nature of Costs, Cost Volume Profit Analysis and Relevant Cost Analysis
    Gauri Bhat 
    In this module, you will:

    • Review a quick review of basic cost concepts, including the differences between manufacturing and non-manufacturing; as well as average, marginal and total costs
    • Understand the different cost classifications, including fixed vs. variable; direct vs. indirect; and relevant costs, opportunity costs, and sunk costs
    • Analyze of cost behavior and cost-volume-profit relationships
    • Understand and calculate break-even point
    • Determine the importance of contribution margins in decision making
    • Understand operating leverage and its link to risk
    • Apply relevant costing principles to decisions involving special orders, add/drop a product or service, and product mix given constrained resources

    Module 6 - Cost Allocation and Activity Based Costing 
    Gauri Bhat 
    In this module, you will:

    • Discuss cost allocation theory and practice
    • Determine the implications of choosing a cost driver
    • Understand how traditional unit-level allocation bases to divide common costs can produce misleading product costs
    • Be able to articulate the concept of death spiral and its implication; as well as introduce the solution, Activity Based Costing (ABC)
    • Describe how a sophisticated costing model (ABC) influences decision-making

    Module 7 - Fundamental Analysis of Financials Statement to Assess Risk and Earnings Quality
    Hemang Desai
    In this module, you will:

    • Learn how to conduct fundamental analysis of a company to assess its risk, growth prospects, quality of earnings etc.
    • Learn how might flexibility in accounting and managerial incentives influence information in financial statements
    • Learn how analysts and other capital market intermediaries unravel this biased reporting to assess earnings quality

    Module 8 - Value Based Management
    Jim Linck
    In this module, you will:

    • Understand the source of value and the interplay between a firm and the capital markets
    • Begin to familiarize yourself with core finance concepts including value maximization, cash flow, and the importance of market prices
    • Be able to broadly recognize the difference between earnings, cash flow and economic profit, and value
    • Begin to understand how margins and asset utilization impact performance, and the tradeoffs between the two

Course Certification

CredlyBadge - Essentials of Finance and Accounting

We have partnered with Credly to translate the learning outcomes you’ve demonstrated into a badge, issued and managed through Credly's digital badging platform. Click here to learn more about this Credly certification.

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