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Financial Accounting: End-User Applications

Partners' Network Blog

Tomorrow night I start a new semester at Fairleigh Dickinson University. The course with the same title as this blog is for MBA students that had no undergraduate courses in financial accounting. It is exciting for me as I will get to teach future managers and leaders how to navigate the information provided by financial statements.

I taught this course previously and also Managerial Accounting Applications, the next course in the curriculum and a core course. Because of this, my marching orders are to create the foundation they can build on. Through my too numerous to count interactions with clients, I know that understanding a company’s financial statement is essential for a manger’s or leader’s success. With that in mind, I designed a lesson plan that my students should truly benefit from as well as have fun acquiring this new knowledge.

Basically, this course shows how to understand the annual financial statements companies issue. These statements have a standard structure that applies to every issuer and is comprised of seven elements. These are a report of the independent accountant, statement of income, balance sheet, statements of cash flows, comprehensive income and changes in stockholders’ equity, and notes to financial statements.

My teaching method is to have each student obtain a financial statement of a profitable public company that sells products and has inventory. For teaching purposes, a company with a negative net worth, current year’s operating loss, no inventory or a noncommercial company would not be appropriate. Financial statements are easy to obtain either from the company or online. My instruction method will primarily be using these statements with the textbook as a resource with additional information that cannot be covered in class because of time constraints.

Because each student will have a different financial statement, there should be extensive classroom discussions of the presentation, amounts, ratios, notes to financial statements and the differences between the companies with some differences expected to be pretty large. Further, because of my teaching method, attendance, participation and interaction will be necessary and will be graded. I will also record the lectures and they will be emailed to students that could not attend or if any would like to review further what I said.

This is a fun course for me and the honor and pleasure of teaching an essential lifelong skill is something I will be treating in the most serious manner…while trying to transfer some of my knowledge and experience to my students.

I am organizing my lesson plans into a workbook and will make it available weekly to my students and, to clients and others when the semester is completed. I will post a blog at that time and will email it to those requesting it.

Course Goal: To teach to read, understand, analyze and use financial statements.

Do not hesitate to contact me with any business or financial questions at emendlowitz@withum.com or fill out the form below.

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