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Course Catalog > Business Operations and Leadership

Essential Financial Skills Certificate   

Accounting and Finance terminology can often seem like another language, but understanding the language of finance is an essential skill for leaders and managers throughout an organization. Becoming fluent enough to engage in financial conversations and decision-making is even more vital. Without a clear understanding of how your organization tracks and analyzes financials, you lack credibility with finance managers and business leaders.

The Essential Financial Skills Certificate consists of four courses that demystify financial terminology, giving you the tools you need to communicate fluently with finance managers and articulate key business strategies and opportunities to decision makers. Upon completion of the Essential Financial Skills program, you will have a solid foundation in finance that will serve you throughout your career.

Program Overview

Every Dollar Counts: Business Accounting Basics

In this workshop you will gain an understanding of the accounting process, from recording the dollar impact of business decisions to the preparation of the resulting financial reports.

You will come away with the ability to converse with the finance people intelligently and grasp the all-important numbers side of business.

Key Topics

  • The basic accounting principles
  • The accounting process: journals and ledgers
  • How various business transactions affect financial statements
  • Cash accounting versus accrual basis accounting
  • The difference between accounting profit and cash flow
  • The purpose of and terminology associated with the key financial statements:
    • Income or Profit and Loss Statement
    • Balance Sheet
    • Statement of Retained Earnings
    • Cash Flow Statement

Financial Statements: A Map for Better Business Decisions

This workshop covers the financial skills that are fundamental for any managerial position. You’ll learn how to think finance and get a firm grasp of the numbers side of business.

You will gain a greater confidence and a working knowledge of the key business financials statements.  Learn how to “think finance” and translate performance in financial terms.

Key Topics

  • The key Financial Statements and how they tie together
  • Key Finance Terms: Assets, Liabilities, Equity, Depreciation, Key Ratios
  • Develop working rules regarding your corporate financial statements
  • Use the balance sheet to examine assets, liabilities, and equity
  • Analyze the income statement to assess revenues and expenses
  • The statement of cash flow: sources and uses of funds
  • Importance of Cash Flow: where cash comes from and how it’s applied


Budgeting and Planning for Growth

Being responsible for the budgeting means you’re playing a vital role in your organization’s future. Your budget enables you to pinpoint critical variables that impact profit, so your company can successfully pursue business goals and create value.

You’ll practice evaluating and revising your budget to increase its chances of acceptance. This is your opportunity to gain the tools and insights to craft the budget your company needs to overcome obstacles and achieve success.

Key Topics

  • Overview of the planning and budgeting process
  • Accurately develop an operating budget based on forecasted sales, revenues, and costs
  • Define variances so you can quickly implement changes to meet your company’s financial objectives
  • Operating budget vs. capital budget
  • Perform a variance analysis and identify potential sources and causes
  • Know exactly which variances to address to plan for next year’s budget


Financial Fluency: Discuss Goals and Performance like a CFO

Ideas that require firm resources also require evidence that benefits outweigh the costs. In this workshop, you will learn and apply best practices for making a business case for projects and strategies.

This workshop will utilize real-world cases to provide you with the opportunity to apply key communication strategies to move your ideas forward. This is an opportunity to develop your ability to interact with internal and external audiences with a focus on financial implications of strategic decisions.

Key Topics

  • Understand “CFO speak” including terminology and financial performance metrics related to:
    • Profitability
    • Growth
    • Impact of project financing
    • Risk
    • Cost and benefits
    • Creating shareholder or owner value
  • Convert functional area jargon into the language of finance
  • The role of financial projections in decision making
  • Using your business case to influence others
  • Identifying drivers of success and risk
  • Financial models that support the business case
  • Conducting sensitivity analysis and what-if analysis
  • Demonstrating alignment of strategic and financial goals
  • Anticipating and dealing with pushback
  • Presenting key decision points in concise manner



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