About the Course
Accounting is the language of business. Companies
communicate their performance to outsiders and evaluate the
performance of their employees using information generated by
the accounting system. Learning the language of
accounting is essential for anyone that must make decisions
based on financial information.
The course is designed to provide an understanding of
financial accounting fundamentals for prospective users of
corporate financial information, such as investors,
creditors, employees, and other stakeholders (e.g.,
suppliers, customers). The course focuses on
understanding how economic events such as operating
activities, corporate investments, and financing transactions
are recorded in the three main financial statements (i.e.,
the income statement, balance sheet, and statement of cash
flows). Students will develop the technical skills needed to
analyze financial statements and disclosures for use in
financial analysis. Students will also learn how
accounting standards and managerial incentives affect the
financial reporting process.
The course is broken up into ten weekly modules:
- Introduction and Balance Sheet
- Accrual Accounting and the Income Statement
- Cash flows
- Working capital assets
- Ratio analysis and Mid-course Exam
- Long-lived assets and marketable securities
- Liabilities and long-term debt
- Deferred taxes
- Stockholders’ equity
- How to read an Annual Report and Final Exam
The course is recommended for students with little or no
prior background in financial accounting that want to improve
their financial literacy. There are no academic
prerequisites for the course. Although we will work with
numbers in the course, the only required math knowledge is
addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division.
The course is designed to be self-contained. Students
wanting to expand their knowledge beyond what we can cover
in this course or who want more practice problems or more
in-depth explanations can consult any Introduction to
Financial Accounting textbook that is geared toward MBA
students. Because the material in the course has been
fairly unchanged for the past few years, any used prior
editions of textbooks should be acceptable.
The course will combine video of the instructor with
Powerpoint slides to the deliver the material. The
lectures will be “interactive” in that the instructor will
periodically ask students to pause the presentation and
guess an answer before proceeding. The videos will also
cover “case studies” of real companies to illustrate the
course concepts. The course will provide eight short
homework assignments and two exams.
Will I get a Statement of Accomplishment after
completing this class?
Contingent on academic performance, you will get a
Statement of Accomplishment stating that you completed this
course. However, no certificate will be given from
Wharton / Penn and successful completion of this course does
not make you a Wharton / Penn alumnus.
What resources will I need for this class?
Everything you need will be provided via the Coursera platform.
What is the coolest thing I'll learn if I take this class?
You will not only better understand what people in the
business media are talking about, you will also be able to
notice when they don’t know what they are talking about!