Finance for Non-Financial Managers

Financial for Non-Financial Managers is suitable for managers, prospective managers, and anyone else within an organisation involved in making business decisions. It provides a practical and interactive introduction to understanding finance in business. The course clearly explains and demonstrates the principles underlying the recording of financial data. It shows how the key financial statements are analysed and demonstrates how the information they contain is used to construct the financial ratios vital to making business decisions – including the key ratios used to measure past and (projected) future business performance.

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Finance for Non-Financial Managers


To give learners a thorough, practical understanding of the basics concerning the structure and use of the key financial statements and financial analysis ratios. This will empower them to analyse – and potentially improve – the financial performance of their own business.


  • Explain the function and purpose of the three key financial statements.
  • Describe the structure and use of the P&L account.
  • Explain how a Balance Sheet is used and formatted.
  • Demonstrate how to calculate and manage a company’s Cash Flows.
  • Explain how companies analyse their cost structures.
  • Describe how businesses can use the information in their Financial Statements to gain insights into key performance areas.
  • Compare and describe the key investment evaluation concepts and models.
  • Demonstrate the potential uses of the Profit Margin, Asset Turnover and Return On Capital Employed (ROCE) ratios.


10 – 12 Hours

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Finance for Non-Financial Managers

1. Introduction to Financial Statements

  • Overview of the three main financial statements (e.g. Balance Sheet, Profit and Loss Account and Cash Flow)
  • The function of the financial statements in measuring and directing performance

Give a detailed overview of the three main financial statements (e.g. Balance Sheet, Profit & Loss Account and Cash Flow) and an explanation of the principles of accounting that underpin them. Explain their function in measuring and directing the performance of a company, and how they reflect the different business activities that a company engages in.

This module aims to give learners an overview of how financial statements are used by a business, and an understanding of the different ways in which accountants construct and use them.

  • Describe the main uses of the P&L, the Balance Sheet and the Cash Flow Statement
  • Explain why companies create financial statements
  • Distinguish between financial accounts and management accounts
  • List the four different ‘account types’ used to record financial activities
  • Describe how the four main conventions of accounting are applied

60 Minutes

2. Profit and Loss Account

    • The elements used to construct the P&L
    • Distinguish between different costs and expenses
    • Build a P&L using your own specific figures


Describe the elements used to structure a P&L. Distinguish between the different types of costs and expenses that impact the profits generated by a company. Build a P&L using specific figures of your own.

This module aims to provide a high-level overview of the key elements of the P&L, and the different categories of costs a typical company will incur.

  • Describe the main elements that make up a P&L, and explain their functions
  • Recognise the different costs and expenses recorded on a P&L
  • Explain why a business classifies costs as being either fixed or variable

45 Minutes



3. Balance sheet

    • The purpose of the Balance Sheet
    • Classification of assets and liabilities
    • Definition of Working Capital
    • Format a Balance Sheet in order to asses financial performance and enhance decision making


Describe the purpose of a Balance Sheet, explaining what it communicates about the financial structure of a company. Explain how assets and liabilities are classified. Define working capital. Format a Balance Sheet in order to assess financial performance and enhance decision-making within a business.

This module aims to provide a high-level understanding of the Balance Sheet in terms of what it is used for; the elements that make it up; the different formats that can be used to organise it; and how it links to the P&L.

  • Explain what a Balance Sheet is
  • List the three sources of financing for a company, explaining how they are recorded both in liability accounts, and as capital employed
  • Describe and evaluate the three main approaches to formatting a Balance Sheet, explaining how they handle account items

30 Minutes

4. Cash Flow Statement

  • The difference between profit and cash
  • The importance of managing cash effectively
  • Different sources of cash
  • Operational decisions that enhance cash flows
  • Calculate cash flow from the information from the financial statements

Explain how cash is not the same as profit – and that it is essential for a business to manage cash effectively. Describe the different cash sources for a business, and list the operational decisions that can enhance cash flows. Calculate cash flows using the information contained in financial statements.

This module aims to provide an overview of cash flow, and how a company can positively manage such flows.

  • Explain how cash and profits are different
  • List the different sources of cash for a business
  • Describe how operating and non-operating cash flows are different
  • Explain why both cash and loans need to be managed in both the short-term and the long-term
  • Use the numbers in a P&L and Balance Sheet to calculate cash flows

60 Minutes

5. Costing Decisions

  • Distinguish between fixed and variable costs
  • Impact of costs on contribution margin
  • Application of break-even analysis
  • Using cost and break-even analysis to make business decisions concerning production, pricing and product selection

Distinguish between fixed and variable costs and how these impact on both calculating contribution margin, and the application of breakeven analysis. Apply these financial concepts to make business decisions concerning production, pricing and product selection.

This module aims to provide an overview of cost structures, and the impact they have on a company.

  • Explain what variable and fixed costs are
  • Describe the effect of different cost structures on the generation of profits from revenues
  • Explain the use of marginal contribution
  • Work out break-even points using variable costing
  • Utilise the break-even formula to answer different business questions
  • Explain how a marginal contribution ratio can be used to determine optimum product mix

60 Minutes

6. Introduction to Financial Analysis

    • Using financial analysis to guide decision making
    • Using financial analysis ratios to assess and enhance operating performance
    • The function of the financial statements in measuring and directing performance


Explain the relevance of using financial analysis to guide financial management decisions. Explain how financial analysis ratios are utilised to assess and enhance operating performance.

This module aims to provide a high-level outline of financial analysis, the thinking behind it, and how it can be used.

  • Explain what is meant by ‘financial analysis’
  • Describe how the process of financial analysis is applied in practice
  • Explain how ratios can be used to make comparisons and assess trends

30 Minutes



7. Investment Appraisal

  • Application of key methods of assessing investment projects
  • Analysis of cash flows
  • The ‘Time Value’ of money
  • Using sensitivity analysis to assess risks and refine assumptions

Describe the application of a number of key methods of assessing the feasibility/potential financial impact of investment projects. Explain how to analyse cash flows and apply the concept of the ‘Time Value’ of money. Use sensitivity analysis to assess risks, and refine assumptions.

This module aims to provide an overview of Investment Appraisal.

  • Recognise the main costs that a project’s cash inflows must cover
  • Decide which costs apply to a particular business scenario
  • Explain the uses and limitations of the Payback method
  • Define ‘present value’, explaining both how it is applied – and how to calculate discount factors
  • List the three approaches to evaluating discounted cash flows (DCF)
  • Explain what sensitivity is
  • Calculate both discounted cumulative cash flow and DCF yield to identify a project’s most sensitive elements

120 Minutes

8. Profit Margin

    • Calculating profit margin
    • Using profit margin to ‘benchmark’ performance
    • Using profit margin analysis to guide decision making


Explain how profit margin is calculated, and used to ‘benchmark’ performance within and between different industries. Apply the use of profit margin to making business decisions.

This module aims to provide an introduction to both the profit margin ratio, and its application in comparing different businesses.

  • Calculate the profit margin ratio
  • Explain how the profit margin ratio is used to compare the performance of different companies both within and between industries
  • Describe how the different elements of profit margin can be laid out in a flow chart – and the uses of such a format

45 Minutes



9. Asset Turnover

    • Calculating asset turnover
    • Using fixed asset and working capital ratios to assess and improve performance
    • Calculate and asses asset turnover using your own figures


Explain what asset turnover is, and how it is calculated. Use fixed asset and working capital ratios to assess and improve business performance. Calculate and assess asset turnover using your own figures.

This module aims to provide an overview of what asset turnover is, its potential to enhance business performance – and how asset turnover can be managed within a business.

  • Explain what asset turnover is
  • Recognise an asset turnover flowchart
  • Explain how and why businesses should seek to apply the asset turnover ratio to enhance performance
  • Define and apply the main working capital ratios
  • Calculate and apply both forms of fixed asset turnover with an appreciation of its limitations
  • List the key approaches to managing asset turnover

120 Minutes

10. Return on Capital Employed

  • Examine the use of ROCE/RONA as an integrated approach to performance analysis
  • Using ROCE/RONA to asses business scenarios
  • Application of ROCE/RONA flowchart to assess business scenarios within your own organisation

Explain how ROCE offers an integrated way of analysing a company’s business performance. Use ROCE to assess a number of key business scenarios. Apply a ROCE flow chart to assess business scenarios within your own company.

This module aims to provide an overview of how Return On Capital Employed is calculated, and how it can be applied to assess a company’s financial performance.

  • Explain how ROCE is calculated
  • Describe the uses of ROCE
  • Explain the connections between ROCE, asset turnover and profitability
  • Apply ROCE to assess financial performance

45 Minutes



Modular assessments

Modular assessments provide a quantitative grade at the end of each module to determine that the learning objectives have been met. Each modular assessment is randomised and individually generated from a wider set of questions held in modular question banks. Feedback is provided upon marking the assessment. Certificates are made available upon reaching the completion score.


Professionally recorded audio narration is used to help communicate the key learning objectives and to provide instruction to the student.

Sequenced animations and illustrative explanation

Animations are sequenced with the audio narration to clearly and visually introduce and explain complex topics. Where ever possible a diagrammatical approach is taken to support the teaching of the key learning objectives.

Case studies

Interactive case studies have been written and designed to illustrate how the topics and approaches we teach work in practice.

Interactive exercises

  • Multiple choice questions
  • True/false questions
  • Numerical input questions
  • Matching exercises (drag and drop)
  • Click to reveal
  • Interactive financial dashboards

Additional features

  • Financial glossary
  • Index
  • Supplementary resources (videos, documents, interactive tools, links)
  • Learning notes
  • Bookmarking
  • Certification
  • Summary ‘take-away’ documents and infographics



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