• University of Padova

Corporate Finance: A Beginner’s Guide

Master the fundamentals of corporate finance as you learn how to use tools and techniques to increase the value of your business.

615 enrolled on this course

Business Consulting meeting working and brainstorming new business project finance investment concept

Corporate Finance: A Beginner’s Guide

615 enrolled on this course

  • 5 weeks

  • 8 hours per week

  • Digital certificate when eligible

  • Introductory level

Find out more about how to join this course

  • Duration

    5 weeks
  • Weekly study

    8 hours
  • 100% online

    How it works
  • Unlimited subscription

    $244.99 for one whole yearLearn more

Learn how to use tools to make sound financial decisions

Understanding the basics of corporate finance is key in making the right financial decisions. Armed with this knowledge, you can identify investment opportunities, attract investors, and increase the value of your organisation.

On this five-week course, you’ll gain critical skills to leverage corporate finance tools and techniques to make sound financial decisions.

You’ll practise on real-world examples to gain practical skills in financial analysis, investment decisions, and more.

Gain core financial analysis skills

First, you’ll learn fundamental financial analysis skills to evaluate profitability, performance, and stability.

This will help you make data-driven decisions using key metrics like revenue growth, profit margins, and cash flow.

Learn how to estimate the cost of capital

Next, you’ll explore risk and return models to understand the risk-return tradeoff in corporate finance.

This knowledge will help you estimate the cost of capital as you delve into the Capital Asset Pricing Model (CAPM) to learn how to optimise a portfolio’s returns.

Understand capital budgeting

Then, you’ll master capital budgeting to help you understand your organisation’s cash in flows and cash outflows.

With this knowledge, you’ll have the finance skills to make strategic decisions that will increase the value of your organisation.

Gain knowledge of capital structure

Finally, you’ll explore the different types of funding companies use to grow their business.

You’ll learn the difference between debt and equity and how they mix, as well as how different payout policies affect the value of a company.

This knowledge will help you make sound funding decisions.

Download video: standard or HD

Skip to 0 minutes and 4 seconds In Italian, we have an expression that goes, “chi più spende, meno spende”, which translates to whoever spends more spends less. Whoever spends less spends more. In short, it means that important things in life require investment. And investments must be evaluated contrasting costs and benefits. While this could apply to almost every situation in life, it makes perfect sense in business. When you invest in or run a company, almost every decision that you make has financial implications. Every decision that revolves around financial resources is a corporate finance decision. Corporate finance focuses on how to maximize business value by fine tuning, investment, financing and payout decisions. I am Marco Ghitti Assistant Professor of Business Administration here at University of Padua.

Skip to 0 minutes and 53 seconds Together with Ronny Zappella and Claudio Colombetti, my teaching assistants, we created this online course covering the main topics of corporate finance. This course will focus on the fundamentals of corporate finance, mixing important theories ranging from accounting to financial mathematics. Borrowing tools and techniques from statistics. With this skill set, you will get insights on the financial health and performance of any company. As well as tracking investments that maximize returns and minimize risks. The beauty of corporate finance is that it is truly global. Its principles and rules applies to every company and every investor in the whole world. So then why choosing the University of Padua to learn more about corporate finance?

Skip to 1 minute and 38 seconds For 800 years, the University of Padua has been an important cultural center fostering knowledge and research, as well as connecting people from all around the world. Our Department of Economics and Management is strongly research oriented with faculty members working at the frontier of knowledge and regularly publishing in the leading academic journals of their respective fields. We split the topics of this course into five weeks, each one of them relying on a wide range of different activities. Week one focuses on financial statements analysis. Week two focuses on discount rates and the time value of money. Week three focuses on risk and return. In week four, we will cover capital budgeting decisions.

Skip to 2 minutes and 19 seconds Finally, in week five, we will study capital structures of companies. This course is a great opportunity to build a solid base in corporate finance. Well rooted in the theory and connected to real life examples. Join it and have fun.


  • Week 1

    Financial analysis

    • Introduction to the course

      Get to know the course fundamentals.

    • Reformulation choices

      Reclassify and interpret financial statements

    • Ratio analysis

      Apply ratio analysis to gauge a firm's financial performance

    • Cash flow statement

      What are cash flow statements and how different are they from profits? Learn about cash flow statements.

    • Wrapping it up!

      A synthesis of this week's lessons

  • Week 2

    Discount rates

    • Time value of money

      Determine the value of money at different points in time

    • Annuities and perpetuities

      Learn what annuities and perpetuities are and how they differ from one another.

    • Interest rates

      Recognize different interest rates and choose the right one according to needs

    • Wrapping it up!

      A synthesis of this week's lessons

  • Week 3

    Risk and return models

    • Types of risk

      Deal with risk and recognized the different types of risk they'd could be exposed to

    • Risk and return

      Understanding the trade-off existing between risk and return

    • The Capital Asset Pricing Model (CAPM)

      Incorporate a proper measure of risk into discount rates and investment decisions

    • Wrapping it up!

      A synthesis of this week's lessons

  • Week 4

    Capital budgeting

    • Investment decisions

      Evaluate alternative investments and decide which ones are worth undertaking

    • Cashflow construction

      Build cashflow statements associated with investment projects

    • Cost structure

      Understand what costs should be taken into consideration while evaluating investment projects

    • A classic case of investment decisions

      We're going to take stock through an example of investment decisions.

    • Wrapping it up!

      A synthesis of this week's lessons

  • Week 5

    Capital structure

    • Funding alternatives

      Decide when to use debt or equity as a funding source

    • Modigliani-Miller propositions

      What are the contributions of economists Franco Modigliani and Merton Miller in the world of corporate finance? Learn more about their propositions in this activity.

    • Dividend policy

      Understand how to decide how much of a firm's profits to distribute to its shareholders as dividends

    • Wrapping it up!

      A synthesis of the week and the entire course

When would you like to start?

Start straight away and join a global classroom of learners. If the course hasn’t started yet you’ll see the future date listed below.

  • Available now

Learning on this course

On every step of the course you can meet other learners, share your ideas and join in with active discussions in the comments.

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you‘ll be able to...

  • Apply key financial analysis tools and techniques (reformulations, ratios, …) to understand a firm overall performance over time and across comparables.
  • Apply the concepts of time value of money, present value, future value, and other basic tools of corporate finance.
  • Calculate net present value (NPV), internal rate of return (IRR), payback period, profitability index to evaluate projects.
  • Interpret the basic trade-off between risk and return in corporate finance and estimate the cost of capital.
  • Evaluate a firm’s capital structure, determine the optimal debt-equity position and dividend policy

Who is the course for?

This course is designed for anyone looking to better understand corporate finance.

It will be especially useful for graduate students, approaching a pre-experience MSc program, and aspiring entrepreneurs, looking to start their own business, who are in need of basic corporate finance knowledge.

It will also suit those planning to take an intermediate or advanced corporate finance course in the future since it lays the foundations of the discipline.

Who will you learn with?

I have been teaching corporate finance, financial analysis and business valuation for more than 12 years. My research is in the law and finance, environmental finance and corporate governance fields.

I'm a chartered accountant working as a junior consultant for an advisory boutique. My work revolves around corporate finance, business valuation and accounting.

I am a Manager at SGA - Studio Ghitti & Associati, a corporate finance boutique specialized in business valuation and consulting on corporate finance issues

Who developed the course?

University of Padova

The University of Padova is one of Europe’s oldest and most prestigious seats of learning; it aims to provide its students with both professional training and a solid cultural background.

Ways to learn

Buy this course

Subscribe & save

Limited access

Choose the best way to learn for you!

$134/one-off payment

$244.99 for one whole year

Automatically renews


Fulfill your current learning needDevelop skills to further your careerSample the course materials
Access to this courseticktick

Access expires 24 Jun 2024

Access to 1,000+ coursescrosstickcross
Learn at your own paceticktickcross
Discuss your learning in commentstickticktick
Tests to check your learningticktickcross
Certificate when you're eligiblePrinted and digitalDigital onlycross
Continue & Upgrade

Cancel for free anytime

Ways to learn

Choose the best way to learn for you!

Subscribe & save

$244.99 for one whole year

Automatically renews

Develop skills to further your career

  • Access to this course
  • Access to 1,000+ courses
  • Learn at your own pace
  • Discuss your learning in comments
  • Tests to boost your learning
  • Digital certificate when you're eligible

Cancel for free anytime

Buy this course

$134/one-off payment

Fulfill your current learning need

  • Access to this course
  • Learn at your own pace
  • Discuss your learning in comments
  • Tests to boost your learning
  • Printed and digital certificate when you’re eligible

Limited access


Sample the course materials

  • Access expires 24 Jun 2024

Find out more about certificates, Unlimited or buying a course (Upgrades)

Sale price available until 3 June 2024 at 23:59 (UTC). T&Cs apply.

Find out more about certificates, Unlimited or buying a course (Upgrades)

Sale price available until 3 June 2024 at 23:59 (UTC). T&Cs apply.

Learning on FutureLearn

Your learning, your rules

  • Courses are split into weeks, activities, and steps to help you keep track of your learning
  • Learn through a mix of bite-sized videos, long- and short-form articles, audio, and practical activities
  • Stay motivated by using the Progress page to keep track of your step completion and assessment scores

Join a global classroom

  • Experience the power of social learning, and get inspired by an international network of learners
  • Share ideas with your peers and course educators on every step of the course
  • Join the conversation by reading, @ing, liking, bookmarking, and replying to comments from others

Map your progress

  • As you work through the course, use notifications and the Progress page to guide your learning
  • Whenever you’re ready, mark each step as complete, you’re in control
  • Complete 90% of course steps and all of the assessments to earn your certificate

Want to know more about learning on FutureLearn? Using FutureLearn

Get a taste of this course

Find out what this course is like by previewing some of the course steps before you join:

Do you know someone who'd love this course? Tell them about it...

You can use the hashtag #FLCorporateFinance to talk about this course on social media.