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Learning Financial Fundamentals for Non-Accountants in 3 Days

May 10, 2022
Vanderbilt Executive Education program offers a crash course on the fundamentals of business finances

By Lacie Blankenship

Financial Fundamentals for Non-Accountants is a 3-day program offered through Vanderbilt Executive Education that leaves participants with the foundational knowledge needed to understand the numbers and speak the language of business. 

Pictured: Richard Willis, Vanderbilt Business, one of 3 faculty members involved in Financial Fundamentals for Non-Accountants.

Richard Willis

“The goal with Financial Fundamentals for Non-Accountants is to provide participants with insights and knowledge that they can then use to be more informed consumers and users of financial reports,” says Richard H. Willis, Senior Associate Dean for the Faculty and Anne Marie and Thomas B. Walker, Jr., Professor of Accounting. 

This course is especially beneficial to small business owners, entrepreneurs, marketing managers, operations managers, technology/product-line managers, and rising supervisors with budgetary responsibility. 

Financial Fundamentals for Non-Accountants is perfect for anyone interested in being a better user, communicator or interpreter of financial information, or that may not have gone the corporate finance route,” says Willis. “We aim to fill gaps that complement the students’ already existing skill sets.” 

Pictured: Rita Gunn, Vanderbilt Business, one of 3 faculty members involved in Financial Fundamentals for Non-Accountants.

Rita Gunn

This on-campus program consists of a series of discussions, exercises, and case studies. Students discover the meaning in the numbers and learn how to use financial data to build effective strategies for managing company financial resources.

Participants learn how to assess and recognize financial risks in advance and interpret financial strengths, unlock financial disclosure and practice methodology for identifying factors to improve cash cycles and communicating financial results to external stakeholders.

Financial Fundamentals for Non-Accountants is taught by Willis, Rita Nevada Gunn, Assistant Professor of Accounting, and Hunter M. Land, Assistant Professor of Accounting. Gunn and Land focus on the financial side of the house (i.e.: external reports like summaries/statements shared with stakeholders), and Willis primarily on the managerial side of the house (i.e.: internal reports like performance indicators used to make executive decisions). 

Pictured: Hunter Land, Vanderbilt Business, one of 3 faculty members involved in Financial Fundamentals for Non-Accountants.

Hunter Land

“With a firm grasp on metrics of financial position and performance, Financial Fundamentals for Non-Accountants participants are prepared to lead colleagues by helping them understand how their decisions impact the bottom line,” says Land. 

“With the financial acumen gained during this course, participants learn to confidently engage with financial professionals and communicate business value to executives, investors, and key stakeholders,” Willis notes.

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