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Course Syllabus: Understanding Financial Statements


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Course Description

Accounting is considered by many to be the language of business. However, the real language of business lies within accounting, inside the financial statements and financial reporting system. The purpose of these lessons is to provide a communication tool more than anything else. Financial statements such as the balance sheet, income statement, statement of cash flow, and the statement of stockholders' equity are all used as communication tools to answer questions within a company. They also give the user specific insight into the financial position and the financial health of a company over a defined period of time. Financial statements are designed as a systematic way of describing the financial operations that a company is involved with.

These lessons with take the user from the beginning stages of accounting and GAAP principles, through the balance sheet, income statement, statement of cash flow, and statement of stockholders' equity. Next, the lessons take the users through applied financial statement analysis involving the movement of cash flow through a company and its effects, along with financial ratio analysis which is one of the fundamental methods for stock investors. Finally, the lessons will cover the topics of accounting fraud, the mechanisms of frau, how to spot fraud, and even the methods that are used by unscrupulous accountants and business managers to commit fraud or "cook the books".

These lessons are designed to give the user a solid fundamental understanding of financial statements which are used with the intent of providing the user a 360 degree view of a company and its operating information which can be used by accountants, managers, and investors to make smart and strategic business decisions.

Course Requirements

This course will not require you to have previous experience in any particular area but you should have a high school reading level. No books will be required

Course Topics

1.) Understanding GAAP and FASB 2.) Financial statements included in an organization's financial report 3.) How to Itemize and interpret the information in the income statement 4.) The Balance Sheet 5.) The statement of changes in shareholders' equity 6.) Cash Flow Statement 7.) Understanding the impact of specific business activities on cash flow 8.) Financial Ratio Analysis and its Objectives and Limitations 9.) The Different Types and Categories of Financial Ratios 10.) Performing calculations using financial ratios 11.) Financial Statement Fraud, Reasoning, and Consequences 12.) What does cooking the books mean?

Course Materials

All course materials is provided in this class. There is no need to buy additional resources.

Grading Policy

Several lessons will be accompanied by a written assignment and a brief quiz  . Students will successfully complete this course by mastering all learning outcomes with 70% or higher overall grade.

Learning Outcomes

By successfully completing this course, students will be able to:
  • Define understanding GAAP and FASB.
  • Know the financial statements included in an organization's financial reporting structure.
  • Describe how to itemize and interpret the information provided in the income statement.
  • Recognize The Balance Sheet.
  • Identify The Statement of Stockholders' Equity
  • Know The Statement of Cash Flows.
  • Describe the impact of working capital and business activities on cash flow.
  • Describe financial ratio analysis and its objectives and limitations.
  • Describe the different types and categories of financial ratios.
  • Know performing calculations using financial ratios.
  • Know financial statement fraud, reasoning, and consequences.
  • Define what cooking the books means, and
  • Demonstrate mastery of lesson content at levels of 70% or higher.
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Assessment Guide

Exam 110
Exam 210
Exam 39
Exam 410
Exam 510
Exam 610
Exam 710
Exam 810
Exam 910
Exam 1010
Exam 1110
Exam 1210
Final Exam58
Total Points:177
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