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University of Pennsylvania

Introduction to Financial Accounting

University of Pennsylvania and Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania via Coursera


Master the technical skills needed to analyze financial statements and disclosures for use in financial analysis, and learn how accounting standards and managerial incentives affect the financial reporting process. By the end of this course, you’ll be able to read the three most common financial statements: the income statement, balance sheet, and statement of cash flows. Then you can apply these skills to a real-world business challenge as part of the Wharton Business Foundations Specialization.


  • Week 1: Introduction and Balance Sheet
    • To learn a foreign language like Accounting, you need quite a bit of practice in the basic foundations (grammar, syntax, idioms, etc.). This material is absolutely essential for being able to read and to understand books written in the language (in our case, financial statements.). This week, we will start building these foundations. We will start with an overview of financial reporting. What types of reports are required? Who makes the rules? Who enforces the rules? Then, we will cover the balance sheet equation and define/discuss Assets, Liabilities, and Stockholders' Equity. We will introduce debit-credit bookkeeping and do lots of practice in translating transactions into debits and credits. Finally, we will introduce a case of a start-up company to provide you insights into all of the steps necessary to go from recording the first transactions of a new business all the way through its first set of financial statements.
  • Week 2: Accrual Accounting and the Income Statement
    • We will start with a discussion of Accrual Accounting and how it affects the recognition of the Income Statement accounts: Revenues and Expenses. Then, we will cover adjusting entries, which are needed to prepare our internal books for the upcoming financial statements. Finally, we will discuss closing entries and the preparation of the Balance Sheet and Income Statement. At each stage, we will continue to work on the case of our start-up company. If you are not sick and tired of journal entries by the end of this week, then I have not done my job!
  • Week 3: Cash Flows
    • Cash is King! We will start with the classification of cash flows into operating, investing, and financing activities. Then, we will work on preparing and analyzing the Statement of Cash Flows. We will wrap up the case on the start-up company by preparing and analyzing its Statement of Cash Flows. Finally, we will discuss the differences between Earnings, Cash from Operations, EBITDA, and Free Cash Flow.
  • Week 4: Ratio Analysis and Final Exam
    • We will have our final exam this week. Because of the exam, I will cover Ratio Analysis, which will not involve any "new" material. While we will define and discuss a number of ratios, they will all basically involve dividing one accounting number by another. But, the analysis of what those ratios mean will involve a deep understanding of Balance Sheet and Income Statement accounts. Thus, the Ratio Analysis videos will help provide a nice review of the material, which will help you prepare for the exam. However, there will be no questions about ratio analysis on the exam. The only thing left to do after this exam is to impress your family, friends, and co-workers with your vast knowledge of Financial Accounting!

Taught by

Brian J Bushee


4.5 rating, based on 66 Class Central reviews

4.7 rating at Coursera based on 7709 ratings

Start your review of Introduction to Financial Accounting

  • Anonymous

    Anonymous is taking this course right now.

    I found it a little misleading saying that I could "Audit" the course for free. I enrolled and when I got to the end of the 1st section and took the test before moving on, I was informed that I would need to pay for the course in order to have my test...
  • Skill A Day

    Skill A Day completed this course and found the course difficulty to be hard.

    It turned out to be one of the best courses I’ve taken so far on any platform, for several reasons. First, the weekly videos were just hokey enough to be entertaining in a way that sort of hid all the math we were doing. Math is not so complicated, but...
  • Anonymous

    Anonymous completed this course.

    A wonderful course, excellently delivered. Professor Bushee has clearly invested a significant amount of time developing the course, and it shows from the first video to the last. As a novice to financial accounting, I was impressed with the way the Professor...
  • Cratecruncher

    Cratecruncher completed this course, spending 5 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be medium.

    I signed up for this thinking I'd get a refresher but soon realized the instructor, Brian Bushee, is a gifted teacher. He has a way of explaining things that drill right to heart of confusion for students and makes things perfectly clear using examples,...
  • Jayanta Das

    Jayanta Das is taking this course right now.

    I am doing an MBA right now and taking this course to help me. This is an exceptional course and I am in the 7th week now. Professor Bushee is very thorough and great at explaining things. I am on the signature track. I will pay a $1000 for this course if I could get university credits on this one.
  • Vijayakumar Menon N completed this course, spending 5 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be hard.

    Introduction to Financial Accounting is an excellent course that teaches accounting to any one who is totally new to the subject. Prof Brian Bushee has no doubt taken a lot of pains in preparing the high quality study materials. His teaching style is excellent and one needs to do this course to learn how good an online course can be. The course has a lot of peculiarities as compared to most other MOOCs. Tests and home works are of a very high standard that checks your conceptual knowledge. There is activeparticipation in the forums and Prof Bushee interacts a lot with the students in the forums. I would recommend this course to anyone who wants to learn financial accounting, even if he knows nothing about the subject.
  • Anonymous

    Anonymous is taking this course right now.

    This class specifies no prior knowledge required. This is clearly not the case. Taking with zero background knowledge of the finance world and have never felt this overwhelmed by a course that is supposed to be logical and isn't.
  • Ana

    Ana completed this course.

    The class is great for sure, yet quite challenging because there is a lot of material covered in a short amount of time. However, you get to learn a lot about accounting. The professor is bit dorky in a funny and entertaining way. It is one of the best classes I have ever taken from Coursera.
    I am very happy with this course and I have learned a lot thanks for it and I want to learn more hope I can learn more from here.
  • Anonymous

    Anonymous completed this course.

    This is a great course. I have no background in accouting and start to sweat at the thought of doing math, but this course kept me interested and motivated. Prof Bushee has a gift for making things interesting and explaning things plainly. I enjoyed the "hokey" bits of the class. Definitely worth the $80.
  • Swap

    Swap completed this course, spending 5 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be hard.

    Best course from Wharton MBA Foundation series. I agree that the course based on American accounting system, hence not useful for the other country learners. But the introduction of Financial basics in the MOOC is simplified and useful to capture. Thanks
  • Kyomugisha Leticia

    Kyomugisha Leticia is taking this course right now.

    This is a very wonderful course that i have been able to understand the hard concepts that I never thought I would understand, if actually found it fun and very interesting and in all honesty,I am so moved by the essence at which this amazing course is to the business world for it indeed is the language of the business and also the rate at which it will enable me to accomplish my dreams as youth and also the positive big change it will bring about in these fast growing and developing world economies and the whole world as well.It has surely been a heartfelt experience and will be forever a remembrance.
  • Anonymous

    Anonymous completed this course.

    I am only at 3rd week of course but I already know that this is great course!!! :)

    Course is systematic and professor explain things perfectly.
  • i have a problem , i am unemployed man . so i have no maney .so plise help me.and i in refugie in ethiopea. so help me.
  • Josephy Chilombo completed this course, spending 4 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be hard.

    My name is Josephy chilombo I need much time to work on my career so that I will be able to maintain my position. I will be glad to complete my qualification.
  • Anonymous
    his course, developed at the Darden School of Business at the University of Virginia and taught by top-ranked faculty, will teach you the tools you'll need to understand the fundamentals of financial accounting. Concise videos, the financial records of a small business, and "your turn" activities guide you through the three most commonly used financial statements:
  • Anonymous
    I specialized in Law during my Bachelor and continued on to a Masters degree in Tax Law. During my years studying Law at University (Netherlands) I never revisited Maths. For some reason I decided to take on a job as a Finance Controller and decided I...
  • Anonymous
    Ainda não comecei a fazer o curso, porém tenho muito interesse em aprender sobre o assunto. Tenho uma base de conhecimento sobre, mas me aprofundar é necessário no momento, agregará muito conhecimento para eu utilizar em minha área profissional e pessoal.
  • Anonymous

    Anonymous completed this course.

    I concurr with almost everything is said before. This course is extremely useful. I found it specially interesting for non-US people who work at a multinational companies because Brian Bushee presents a great overview of the accounting practices in the United States.
  • Anonymous Coward completed this course, spending 6 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be hard.

    Definitely a useful course to help wrap your brain around the tough subject of financial accounting. The professor uses virtual students who ask questions to keep the class going. I wish he would do other subjects.

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