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University at Buffalo School of Management

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About the course

This non-credit program is for managers who do not have a background in finance or accounting, but whose career path has led them to a position where there is a need to understand the fundamentals of both finance and accounting.

Course Objectives

Using lectures and in-class exercises, the first two sessions will help you develop an understanding of the basics of Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) and learn how these principles are used to develop both the balance sheet and the income statement (also known as the profit and loss statement). You will learn how to use accounting information to perform ratio analysis, thereby gaining an ability to better understand the operations of both your company and your competitors. Additionally, you will learn how to estimate a company's future funding needs, both through forecasting accounting statements and cash budgeting.

In the second two sessions, you will develop an understanding of two basic principles of finance, the time value of money and the importance of cash flows. Next, you will learn to apply these concepts to the problem of project evaluation, using the techniques of net present value (NPV), internal rate of return (IRR), and payback. Through the process, extensive class exercises will be used to ensure that you understand and know how to apply these concepts in real-life situations. By the end, you will understand how organizations decide which projects are worthwhile investments and which are not.

Finally, you will briefly cover sources of funding, that is, the key characteristics of debt (bonds) and equity (common stock), including their costs, as well as the concept of a company's weighted average cost of capital (WACC). Commercial bank loans will also be discussed.

Pre-requisite: N/A

Note that you need to be a U.S. resident to attend this open-enrollment program.


  • Accounting fundamentals and basics of generally accepted accounting principles
  • Developing balance sheets and income statements (profit and loss statements)
  • Ratio analysis
  • Forecasting accounting statements
  • Estimating an organization's future funding needs

Who should attend

Managers, professionals, supervisors, support staff and others who work with financial information and want to obtain the skills necessary to understand and translate financial data quickly and easily.

Trust the experts

Philip Perry

Education PhD, University of California at Berkeley MBA, University of California at Berkeley MS, California Institute of Technology BS, Cornell University Background Perry's interests are in the areas of corporate financial management, financial markets and financial institutions. He is a recip...


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