How to Read and Understand Financial Statements

Understanding the concepts and language of financial reporting

Estimated time to complete this course:

1 ½ to 2 ½ hours
Lessons are segmented so that increments can be taken in as little as 12 minutes each.

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Course overview

Whether you are an executive, manager or professional, you may need to evaluate a customer, plan new projects or policies, or simply deal with the financial aspects of your role. To be effective you'll have to be able to show the business consequences of your analysis or what you propose. You'll want to be able to use the language of accounting.v

This course is designed to give you a working knowledge of the concepts on which accounting is based. You won't learn to keep the books, but you will learn to really understand what financial reports say. You'll learn enough basic terminology to be able to carry on an intelligent discussion of financial implications of your work.

The course is intended to give you the ability to anticipate how others in management will attempt to evaluate your work. It will equip you to understand alternatives and make enlightened choices.

Course outline

  1. Entity, Money Management, and Dual Aspect Concepts
    • The Balance Sheet
    • Assets, Liabilities, and Equity
  2. Going Concern Concept
    • Implications of "going concern" on inventory
  3. Income Statements
    • Terminology: orders, backlog, sales
    • Terminology: expense versus expenditure
    • Terminology: margin, profit, income, earnings
  4. Conservatism and Matching Concepts
    • Exercises in matching expenses to sales
  5. Cost concept for assets
    • Exercises on costs
  6. Materiality Concept
    • Exercises on materiality
  7. Realization (Revenue Recogntion) concept
    • Operating pitfalls in revenue recognition
  8. Cash Flow Statement
    • Cash flow as the life blood of a business

What you will learn

  • Understand basic principles of financial measurements and reporting
  • Learn key vocabulary such as the difference between expense and expenditure
  • Read and understand an income statement
  • Read and understand a balance sheet
  • Read and understand a cash flow statement
  • Apply key concepts such as "revenue recognition" to your everyday work

Who should participate

Sales, marketing and product management professionals who wish to enlarge the scope of their responsibilities should be armed with the understanding that this practical course can provide.

Executives who need to make decisions that impact financial results of an organization will find a new awareness and understanding.

Research, Development, Engineering and Technical Support professionals who want to broaden their understanding of business as an aid to increased effectiveness can profit from this exposure.

Accounting or finance professionals who have not had formal training will find this course to be a great launching platform.