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University System of Maryland

Financial Decision Making

University System of Maryland via edX

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Need a career boost? Every business depends on the acumen of its financial leaders. Learn to make profitable financial decisions from UMGC professors who have been distance educators since the birth of the Internet. This course is designed for anyone interested in improving their decision making skills.

In this first MicroMasters course in Accounting and Financial Management, you will gain knowledge of the fundamental concepts of financial accounting, finance, and managerial decision making. This course investigates financial decision making in business, government, and not-for-profit organizations. Emphasis is on the application of financial and nonfinancial information to a wide range of managerial decisions, including the time value of money, financial analysis, budgeting, incremental analysis, long-term planning and cost-volume-profit analysis. A variety of decision-making tools (such as break-even analysis, activity-based costing procedures, and discounted cash flow techniques) are studied. Contemporary managerial practices are explored.

This course is part of the Accounting and Financial Management MicroMaster’s program from UMGC. Upon completion of the program and receipt of the verified MicroMaster’s certificate, learners may then transition into the full UMGC Master’s Program in Accounting and Financial Management without any application process or testing. See the MicroMasters program page for more.


Week 1: Foundations of Financial Decision Making for Managers
An introduction to the role of financial management in corporations. Learn how management selects the best type of business formation and ownership, identifies tactical and strategic goals, and balances profits vs. shareholder value.
Week 2: Financial Statements: Make more informed decisions understanding and analyzing financial statements.
Learn to use financial information to assist in the management decision-making process, including the relationship between financial statements, financial ratio analysis, financial statement analysis, and other metrics to improve managerial decision making.
Week 3: Risk and Return
Use discount rates to estimate the risk and return on investments, and compare investment risks and returns to analyze financial challenges and opportunities. Learn how the passage of time affects the value of a dollar which affects investment, divestiture, and other operational decisions.
Week 4: Management Accounting Overview
Managers use managerial reports to more effectively operate their unit of responsibility, maintain a competitive market position, and ensure a safe working environment. Distinguish between accounting and economic profit, know when to consider opportunity costs, use management control systems, understand the value chain, and make decisions from management reports.
Week 5: Activity Based Costing and Cost-Volume-Profit Analysis
Learn how managers use activity based costing to promote business activities that result in higher profits. Make pricing decisions using various methods, including customer behavior in response to price changes and pricing changes in the competitive market. Compute the cost and volume of sales necessary to break even or achieve a desired profit level. Use cost-volume-profit analysis to make pricing, marketing, and other operational decisions, such as quality control.
Week 6: Budgeting & Forecasting
Create master, static, and flexible budgets based on historical information and projected results in the future. Use budgets and other financial information to forecast future economic and financial trends, and create pro forma financial statements.
Week 7: Capital Budgeting
Prepare capital budgets for better long-term investment decisions. Compare alternative capital improvement projects and accept or reject proposed projects. Make outsourcing decisions.
Week 8: Final Assessment

Taught by

Dr. Monica Sava Bruenn and Dr. Sharon L. Levin


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