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Macquarie University

Management and financial accounting: Know your numbers 1

Macquarie University via Coursera


Financial literacy is a fundamental capability for any business leader, whether you are running your own small business/start-up or working at a large organisation. This course will provide you with a sound foundational understanding of financial and management accounting, and how to use accounting to facilitate and align decisions made by owners, managers and employees. Via structured learning activities (video lectures, quizzes, discussion prompts and written assessments) you will develop the ability to seek out financial opportunities and avoid financial misadventure. You’ll learn how to organise, create, interpret and communicate important financial information effectively, which will help you improve your organisation’s internal procedures and processes.


  • The building blocks
    • Welcome to the first week of Know Your Numbers 1. This week, we are going to take on the basics of two important topics in MBA programs: accounting and finance. Accounting is primarily concerned with the classification of financial values (expressed as assets, liabilities, and equity), while finance expands on this to consider the valuation of our assets and the way that we have funded them through debt or equity. As such, the two concepts are closely related, though their focal points differ somewhat.
  • Ratios and data: Why and how
    • Welcome to Week 2! This week, we are going to focus on some of the most useful ratios and measurements that are commonly used in business, so that you can take your skills in this area and apply them to the rest of your studies, and more importantly, your career and your life. These will serve as a starting point for looking into quantitative analysis for your own organisation as well as for considering the strategic choices available to competitors, or other firms in which you may have an interest.
  • Strategy and accounting
    • During this week, we shift our focus from financial analysis and ratios to broader questions regarding the strategy of our organisation. The reason we do this is so that we have a first glance into what links exist between qualitative change and the downstream quantitative impacts that we can expect.
  • Budgeting and forecasting
    • This week, we begin to explore the connection between strategy, tactics, operations, and the numbers that demonstrate the financial health of our organisation. The role of management accounting in this context is also drawn into the discussion here, as is the nature of our role as managers in having to interpret technical accounting analysis on one hand, and influence strategic change on another.
  • Modelling financial performance
    • This week, we are shifting up a gear as we start to consider the use of financials to model the financial performance characteristics of an organisation into the future. we are getting our hands on some basic tools that will help us to build the frameworks and the fundamental techniques that will be used for financial projections, and even business valuation, in the future. This starts with a clear understanding of financial and cash flow performance, as we have explored in previous weeks.
  • Corporate governance and accounting
    • As we conclude our first Know Your Numbers course, our focus shifts towards the application of concepts like agency theory, and some examples of where the pursuit of financial performance alone has led to the failure of an organisation. By exploring such failures in some detail, we are better equipped to avoid similar occurrences in the future, as well as to find ways to manage and govern organisations successfully with regard to a multitude of stakeholders.

Taught by

Dr John-Paul Monck

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