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.
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.
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