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About the course
Understanding Finance and Accounting will equip non-financial managers with the financial knowledge necessary to communicate more effectively with financial managers, analyze financial statements and understand how they relate, interpret a company's profitability, solvency and liquidity, explore the sources and costs of capital and the factors of investment decisions, and learn valuation principles and their impact on the value drivers of the firm. Participants will gain both competence and confidence in their interactions with financial colleagues and senior executives.
Overview of Financial Statements
- It is difficult to be an effective manager without a solid understanding of the primary financial statements. The first session introduces the basic financial statements and illustrates them through a variety of real-world examples. The objective of this first session is to provide a 30,000 foot overview of the concepts that underpin the basic financial statements.
The Balance Sheet
- The components of the balance sheet - assets, liabilities and equity - are the economic building blocks of business enterprises. This session focuses on how to read and understand balance sheets and how to understand firms' financing and investment decisions. We look at the balance sheets of several major corporations as examples.
The Income Statement
- The revenues minus the expenses reported in the income statement equal the proverbial "bottom line." We will find out that it's not always easy to decide when a company has earned revenues or when it has incurred expenses. Importantly, we will learn about the concept of 'accrual-basis accounting,' a very old but very ingenious method of calculating the bottom line.
Understanding how basic economic transactions impact the primary financial statements is fundamental to the understanding of a business enterprise. No one can really claim to understand a balance sheet or income statement unless they can coherently analyze how those statements change in the wake of common economic transactions. Thus, one portion of the course is devoted to a critical and detailed evaluation of how the financial statements are derived and how they change as a result of economic events.
Financial Ratio Analysis
- The financial statements tell a story, and a careful analysis of the accounting ratios can reveal the plot. This session demonstrates how information in the financial reports can be used to evaluate management performance, credit risk, and valuation issues. We spend most of our time unraveling the mysteries contained in the annual reports of some major corporations.
Foundations of Finance and Introduction to Valuation
- The sessions will begin with an overview of six basic tenets that are critical in measuring value and enhancing financial decision-making. Following those foundations, the session will allow us to explore the various basic, yet powerful, methods associated with present value and future value concepts - methods that allow us to measure what assets and liabilities are worth and to plan for future resource allocation.
Pricing of Stocks and Bonds; Introduction to Capital Budgeting - Measuring Value
- Using the concepts discussed at the earlier session, the material in this session will focus on applying the techniques in order to price fixed income securities, value stocks in a basic framework, think about P/E ratios, and estimate the value of capital expenditures on fixed asset investments.
Issues in Forecasting Cash Flow
- Forecasting cash flow is a critical element in estimating value. This session will explore some of the subtle issues involved in forecasting cash flow - in particular the need for external capital and the management of growth. Participants will be asked to complete estimates of cash flow and growth and discuss the assumptions they made to accomplish the task.
Cost of Capital and Valuation
- The final session will include estimation of the components used in calculating the cost of capital in a company. General issues and examples will be discussed, with participants being asked to apply those concepts in estimating cost of capital for a specific company and forecasting future value.
Online Teaching Method & Experience
Designed for busy professionals, this program blends USC’s heritage of academic excellence with the flexibility of online learning. The course will begin after 9:00 a.m. on the first day and will close at 11:45 p.m. on the last day.
Approximately 12 to 18-hours of participation, this online course fits perfectly into any busy schedule as it can be taken at your own pace over a 3-week period. It includes online video sessions, reading and case studies, interactive exercises and discussions with faculty.
Who should attend
Managers in marketing, sales, production, engineering, R & D, human resources and others who wish to know about more about accounting and finance. Participants often use (or should be using) financial statements and want to develop more confidence in their analytical skills. No prior classroom experience in accounting or finance is expected, but familiarity with the general language of business will be assumed.
Trust the experts
PhD, University of Washington; BA, San Francisco State University Professor DeFond is the A. N. Mosich Chair of Accounting, Leventhal School of Accounting, University of Southern California. His research investigates issues in auditing, international financial reporting, and earnings management....
MBA, University of Southern California; BA, Loyola Marymount University Julia Plotts specializes in financial analysis and valuation, mergers and acquisitions, and corporate finance. She is the author of several valuation case studies and contributed to Valuation: The Art and Science of Corporat...