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University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Introduction to Finance: The Basics

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign via Coursera


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In the Introduction to Finance I: The Basics course, you will be introduced to the basic concepts needed to understand the financial manager’s decision-making process. To achieve that, you will learn about the basic forms a business can take and the goal of the financial manager. You will also learn the fundamentals of financial statements and how to measure a company’s financial health using financial ratios. In addition, you will explore how to allocate capital across time to create value. After learning the course, you should be familiar with major topics in modern finance and communicate with others within and outside of the business world. With a deep understanding of the financial side of the business, you will be in a better position to make informed decisions and plan for the financial future.


  • Course Orientation
  • Module 1: Introduction to Finance
    • In this module, you will be introduced to three basic forms to organize a business based on the nature of the business and its financing needs. Examining the goal of financial business helps us to develop a concrete framework to evaluate a corporate manager’s financial decisions. The corporation organization form is widespread because it can solve problems facing big business, but it also incurs the agency cost. You will also learn about some strategies companies are using to mitigate the agency problem.
  • Module 2: Financial Statements and Cash Flow
    • In this module, you will learn the basics of financial statements. The balance sheet captures the assets, liabilities, and stockholders’ equity of a company. The income statement is used to show profit and loss. You will explore the link between these two financial statements. You will also learn how to derive cash flows from financial statements, and the sources and uses of cash flow.
  • Module 3: Financial Statements Analysis
    • This module is the application of financial statements. You will be introduced to the concept of standardized statements. You will learn how to conduct ratio analysis to evaluate the financial health of a company. In addition, you will use financial ratios to measure the liquidity of the company, the leverage of the company, the profitability of the company, and the asset management of the company.
  • Module 4: Time Value of Money
    • In this module, you will be introduced to the basic concepts about the time value of money: the present value, the future value, and the net present value. You will also examine the difference between the quoted interest rate and effective annual rate. Two explicit patterns of cash flow will be studied in detail: annuity and perpetuity. There are widespread applications of time value of money in our daily life and business valuation. Some examples include mortgage plan selection, pension plan choice, and investment decisions.

Taught by

Xi Yang


4.7 rating at Coursera based on 364 ratings

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