Financial Analysis for Non-Financial Managers

INSEAD Business School

How long?

  • 5 weeks
  • online

What are the topics?

INSEAD Business School


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Who should attend

Financial Analysis for Non-Financial Managers is designed for executives who require a better understanding of the financial impact of strategic choices. They are typically:

  • Decision makers within an organization overseeing significant resources
  • Mid- to senior-level executives without extensive training in accounting or finance
  • From functional areas outside of Finance, including: Operations; Marketing; Research and Engineering; Legal; Strategy; and General Management

For senior level executives who already possess some basic skills in finance and accounting but wish to develop these further we recommend INSEAD’s Finance for Executives programme. Finance for Executives is a two week residential programme that begins with a review of the basics of financial analysis, but moves on to more advanced topics such as the cost of capital; capital structure decisions; and mergers and acquisitions – among other topics.

About the course

Progressing towards greater leadership positions means learning to cut through greater complexity. It means broadening your understanding of the entirety of your business, in order to make the most effective strategic and tactical decisions. Finance is one of the core pillars of any business organisation. Building financial understanding into your decision-making is critical as you advance. So too is developing the financial literacy to communication your decision both inside and outside of your organisation.

Financial Analysis for Non-Financial Managers accelerates your understanding of the core financial dimensions of business. The programme empowers you with a robust valuation-based framework to make strategic decisions on future investments – and to assess the impact of past decisions you and your business have taken.

The programme will explore decision-making frameworks within the firm, using evaluation tools to evaluate the impact and efficacy of different projects. It will take a deep dive into valuation at the firm level, getting to grips with new technique and mechanisms to estimate the value of an enterprise.

You will emerge from the programme with the understanding, the knowledge and the skills to make solid financial forecasts and better strategic decisions. You benefit from enhanced ability to execute your decisions, while accurately monitoring past investments. And you will build the expertise and the confidence to communicate your plans and results to both financial and nonfinancial audiences.

How you benefit

  • Enhance your literacy of financial statements and terminology
  • Improve your understanding of how strategic decisions impact financial metrics
  • Gain insights into how revenues, costs and profits are allocated to products, customers and divisions
  • Learn methodologiesof financial decision making based on rigorous, but intuitive, frameworks including net present value (NPV), Internal Rate of Return (IRR), and Economic Value Added (EVA).

Content Overview

The programme content is delivered over 5 weeks requiring you to work on multiple levels. Each week develops one part of the financial analysis framework, addressing overall the three following topics:

Financial Acumen

You are aware of the basic financial statements: Balance Sheet; Income Statement; and Statement of Cash Flows. But in order to help you use them effectively as a manager we will address the following questions:

  • What unique set of information does each one of these financial statements contain?
  • What information is still lacking?
  • How are these financial statements connected to each other, and how can you exploit these connections to make better decisions?
  • How do you use the financial statements to evaluate the success or failure of past strategic decisions?

Drivers of Financial Decision Making

Effective leaders are able to leverage financial information to make strong strategic decisions. You will explore the diverse inputs and the processes you need to follow to enhance your decision-making. This means thinking deeply about key questions:

  • How do you link financial and non-financial performance measures to your project’s or overall organisation’s strategy and objectives?
  • Why is it vital to include opportunity costs and exclude sunk costs in value-based decision making?
  • How can you develop a method for identifying relevant information for every type of organizational decision?
  • What are the trade-offs of using performance measures to explicitly incentivize employees?

Valuation Framework

  • Leading with impact and confidence means bringing different concepts together, and thinking deeply about how your decision-making can create value for your organisation. We will explore some of the key dimensions involved:
  • Why is the metric Return on Invested Capital (ROIC) important?
  • How can we use ROIC to evaluate productivity?
  • How does ROIC relate to free cash flow and valuation?
  • What are the preferred methods we can use to make strategic decisions based on forecasts of ROIC and value?


Daniel Bens

Daniel Bens is a Professor of Accounting and Control at INSEAD, which he joined in August 2012. He has served as Area Chair for the department since 2015. He was a member of the University of Arizona faculty from 2005 to 2012, serving as Associate Dean of MBA programs for the last three years. Da...

Gavin Cassar

Gavin Cassar is a Professor of Accounting and Control at INSEAD. Before joining INSEAD in 2012 he was a member of The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania faculty and is currently the Research Director of the INSEAD-Wharton Alliance. Gavin received his PhD in Business Administration from th...

Steven Monahan

Steve Monahan is an Associate Professor of Accounting and Control at INSEAD. Prior to joining INSEAD in September 2003, he was a member of the University of Chicago faculty. He received his PhD in Accounting from the Kenan-Flagler Business School at the University of North Carolina, a Masters of ...

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Financial Analysis for Non-Financial Managers at INSEAD Business School

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