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Financial Tools and Controls for Managers

Partners' Network Blog

Tonight is the second session of my “Managerial Accounting Applications” course, and the fourth consecutive semester I am teaching it. I also taught “Managerial Accounting” at the Fairleigh Dickinson MBA program a little over forty years ago. In both situations, the type of students were substantially similar. People wanting to advance in their careers that believe, rightfully, that the MBA skills they would learn would help them. However, the emphasis in the course has changed.

The earlier course was more concerned in the teaching of the skills needed to develop the information. The present course is concerned with the applications of the managerial accounting information they would be provided with. The current course is much more relevant to people that will become business leaders.

The curriculum is loaded with accounting terminology (of course), financial statements, schedules and reports, and other data that all use numbers, with an exception that I will describe later. Throwing numbers at non-accountants can be scary and including the word “accounting” in the course name can be intimidating. My previous teaching experience showed me that it takes a little while to debrief the students away from “accounting” and into the mindset that the course is designed to show them how to identify and use the right financial tools to enable them to be more effective managers, rather than to become accountants.

The other skills they will learn which is an exception to the use of numbers is how to evaluate and use the right controls that will assure the information they are getting is accurate and without bias. It can also be understood that very few controls would be able to stop a defalcation, theft or embezzlement if a group of people work in concert, but it can indicate a high predictability of it being uncovered and the perpetrators identified. Another way the best controls are not effective is when the data is not reviewed properly and timely – my students will be shown how to do this and in minimal time.

This is an exciting course and I look forward to every session with the enthused excited and energetic students that attend FDU. The only problem I see is the course name. I would rather it be called “Financial Tools and Controls for Managers” because that is exactly what they will learn.

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

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