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University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Understanding Financial Statements: Company Performance

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign via Coursera


This course is designed to provide a basic understanding of financial statements with an emphasis on the income statement. Building on the foundation formed in the first course, you will learn about the third of our three measurement questions and how the income statement helps to answer this final measurement question. Returning to the real business people introduced in the first course, this second course describes the basic content of income statement in a simple yet relevant context. The course ends by summarizing many of the lessons learned in both courses to leave you with a lasting impression about what financial statements are and how accounting can work for you. We all know that accounting is “the language of business”; let’s make learning this language engaging, and perhaps even fun!

Upon successful completion of this course, you will be able to:
• Describe the purpose of an income statement.
• Define the basic components of an income statement.
• Recognize and understand the meaning of several items typically presented on an income statement.
• Explain the broader purpose of financial statements and the role of accounting in producing the financial statements.
• Read and, to some extent, interpret real-world income statements.

If you enjoy this business course and are interested in an MBA, consider applying to the iMBA, a flexible, fully-accredited online MBA at an incredibly competitive price offered by the University of Illinois. For more information, please see the Resource page in this course and


  • Course Orientation
    • You will become familiar with the course, your classmates, and our learning environment. The orientation will also help you obtain the technical skills required for the course.
  • Module 1: How Did You Perform? Introducing the Income Statement
    • This module introduces you to the primary components of the income statement by focusing on the concepts of revenue and cost of goods sold.
  • Module 2: Finishing Out the Income Statement and Managing Cash
    • This module discusses examples of other income and expenses included in a typical income statement and introduces you to the statement of cash flows.
  • Module 3: Final Elements of Financial Statements
    • This module highlights common notes to the financial statements and provides insights from an expert.
  • Module 4: Wrapping Up Financial Statements and What Lies Ahead
    • This module revisits what the first two courses of the Fundamentals of Accounting Specialization have covered and examines how ratio analyses can help you evaluate a company.

Taught by

Kevin E. Jackson



4.7 rating at Coursera based on 703 ratings

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