Fundamentals of Accounting Specialization

Started May 22

Fundamentals of Accounting Specialization

Accounting Basics for Managers and Entrepreneurs

Apply principles that underlie financial statements and facilitate business decisions and goals.

About This Specialization

Accounting is the “language of business.” Being able to understand this language allows individuals both inside and outside of an organization to join the “conversation” about how the organization is performing and how it can improve future performance. Financial accounting focuses on the reports that managers generate to provide interested external parties a summary of the firm’s financial position and operations. Managerial accounting focuses on the information and the analytical tools and techniques that help managers and employees make the right business decisions. In this Specialization, you will learn the fundamentals of both of these purposes of accounting. More specifically, you will understand the financial statements that managers create, and be able to interpret and analyze these statements to assess the financial position of the organization. You will also identify and understand the nature, purpose, and importance of different types of decision-useful accounting information, and use analytical tools and techniques to use this information to make business decisions. Via the capstone, you will apply these fundamentals via the lens of a new business, creating a business plan, forecasts and budgets, and anticipated information needs for decisions made by you as owner and manager, your employees, and external parties such as future shareholders, creditors, and other constituents.

Created by:

courses
5 courses

Follow the suggested order or choose your own.

projects
Projects

Designed to help you practice and apply the skills you learn.

certificates
Certificates

Highlight your new skills on your resume or LinkedIn.

Courses
Beginner Specialization.
No prior experience required.
  1. COURSE 1

    Understanding Financial Statements: Company Position

    Current session: May 22 — Jun 26.
    Commitment
    4 weeks of study, 2-4 hours/week
    Subtitles
    English

    About the Course

    This course is designed to provide a basic understanding of financial statements with an emphasis on the balance sheet. However, to understand accounting driven financial statements, it is important to recognize that accounting is less about counting and more about measuring. “What is it that is being measured?” Well, as the course unfolds, you will learn about the three measurement questions and how the balance sheet helps to answer the first two of these questions. By touring a real company and interviewing real business people, the course describes the basic content of financial statements in a simple yet relevant context. The goal of the course is to leave a lasting impression about what balance sheet consists of and what it reveals. The next course in the Fundamentals of Accounting Specialization completes the conversation by addressing the remaining measurement question. Upon successful completion of this course, you will be able to: • Describe the purpose of a balance sheet. • Define the three components of a balance sheet. • Recognize and understand the meaning of several items typically presented on a balance sheet. • Explain the broader purpose of financial statements and the role of accounting in producing the financial statements. • Read and, to some extent, interpret real-world balance sheets. If you enjoy this business course and are interested in an MBA, consider applying to the iMBA, a flexible, fully-accredited online MBA at an incredibly competitive price offered by the University of Illinois. For more information, please see the Resource page in this course and onlinemba.illinois.edu.
  2. COURSE 2

    Understanding Financial Statements: Company Performance

    Current session: May 22 — Jun 26.
    Commitment
    4 weeks of study, 2-4 hours/week
    Subtitles
    English

    About the Course

    This course is designed to provide a basic understanding of financial statements with an emphasis on the income statement. Building on the foundation formed in the first course, you will learn about the third of our three measurement questions and how the income statement helps to answer this final measurement question. Returning to the real business people introduced in the first course, this second course describes the basic content of income statement in a simple yet relevant context. The course ends by summarizing many of the lessons learned in both courses to leave you with a lasting impression about what financial statements are and how accounting can work for you. We all know that accounting is “the language of business”; let’s make learning this language engaging, and perhaps even fun! Upon successful completion of this course, you will be able to: • Describe the purpose of an income statement. • Define the basic components of an income statement. • Recognize and understand the meaning of several items typically presented on an income statement. • Explain the broader purpose of financial statements and the role of accounting in producing the financial statements. • Read and, to some extent, interpret real-world income statements. If you enjoy this business course and are interested in an MBA, consider applying to the iMBA, a flexible, fully-accredited online MBA at an incredibly competitive price offered by the University of Illinois. For more information, please see the Resource page in this course and onlinemba.illinois.edu.
  3. COURSE 3

    Accounting for Business Decision Making: Measurement and Operational Decisions

    Upcoming session: May 29 — Jul 3.
    Commitment
    4 weeks of study, 1-3 hours/week
    Subtitles
    English, Arabic

    About the Course

    Accounting information is the lifeblood of the organization as it facilitates and influences operational and strategic decisions intended to achieve organizational goals. Organizations benefit from three decision-oriented roles of accounting: measurement, control, and communication. This course provides an introduction to accounting’s measurement role inside of an organization and how accountants communicate information that helps managers and employees make operational decisions. In particular, you will learn how cost information is created and organized to help managers and employees conduct profitability analyses, develop and choose products, make pricing decisions, and make common business decisions. Upon successful completion of this course, you will be able to: • Identify the nature, purpose, and importance of different types of decision-useful accounting information. • Create, organize, and communicate cost information to best suit common operational decisions. • Use accounting information to manage products, control costs, and leverage other drivers of operational success. If you enjoy this business course and are interested in an MBA, consider applying to the iMBA, a flexible, fully-accredited online MBA at an incredibly competitive price offered by the University of Illinois. For more information, please see the Resource page in this course and onlinemba.illinois.edu.
  4. COURSE 4

    Accounting for Business Decision Making: Strategy Assessment and Control

    Upcoming session: May 29 — Jul 3.
    Subtitles
    English

    About the Course

    Accounting information is the lifeblood of the organization, as it facilitates and influences operational and strategic decisions intended to achieve organizational goals. Organizations benefit from three decision-oriented roles of accounting: measurement, control, and communication. This course provides an introduction to accounting’s role in helping managers develop and implement, and improve the organization’s strategy. In particular, you will learn how non-financial and financial information is created, organized, and communicated to help managers make strategic decisions, as well as measure strategic success. This course also provides an introduction to accounting as a control function inside the organization, which helps influence the alignment of managers’ and employees’ decisions with organizational goals. You will learn about different types of controls, including process controls, budgets, and performance measurement and evaluation tools and techniques. Upon successful completion of this course, you will be able to: • Create and communicate accounting information that facilitates strategic decisions. • Use accounting information to develop, implement, and improve organizational strategy. • Implement controls that align managers’ and employees’ decisions with organizational goals. • Measure and evaluate manager and employee performance to control and motivate operational and strategic decision-making. If you enjoy this business course and are interested in an MBA, consider applying to the iMBA, a flexible, fully-accredited online MBA at an incredibly competitive price offered by the University of Illinois. For more information, please see the Resource page in this course and onlinemba.illinois.edu.
  5. COURSE 5

    Fundamentals of Accounting Capstone

    Upcoming session: Jun 26 — Aug 14.
    Commitment
    6 weeks of study. 4-6 hours/week
    Subtitles
    English

    About the Capstone Project

    **You should complete all other courses in the Fundamentals of Accounting Specialization before beginning this course.** The capstone project will be set in the context of a realistic small-business enterprise, and will require you to think deeply and apply the accounting concepts presented in the other courses in the Fundamentals of Accounting. While navigating the daily operations of the business, you will have an opportunity to consider the accounting implications of the economic events encountered, as well as how these economic events should be communicated to decision makers. If you enjoy this business course and are interested in an MBA, consider applying to the iMBA, a flexible, fully-accredited online MBA at an incredibly competitive price offered by the University of Illinois. For more information, please see the Resource page in this course and onlinemba.illinois.edu.

Creators

  • University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

    Founded in 1867, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign pioneers innovative research that tackles global problems and expands the human experience.

    The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is a world leader in research, teaching and public engagement, distinguished by the breadth of its programs, broad academic excellence, and internationally renowned faculty and alumni. Illinois serves the world by creating knowledge, preparing students for lives of impact, and finding solutions to critical societal needs.

  • Gary Hecht, Ph.D.

    Gary Hecht, Ph.D.

    Associate Professor of Accountancy
  • Kevin E. Jackson

    Kevin E. Jackson

    Associate Professor of Accountancy and PwC Faculty Fellow
  • Sharon P. Cox, Ph.D.

    Sharon P. Cox, Ph.D.

    Lecturer

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