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Financial Analysis for Business Performance: Data-Driven Decision Making

Use your financial analysis to encourage data-driven decision making within your business.

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Create a data-driven culture within your organisation

Using facts, analysis, and metrics to drive strategic decisions within an organisation is associated with higher profits, stronger performance, and business longevity. However, this often involves better communication, cultural change, and much stronger data analysis skills throughout the company.

On this four-week course. you’ll learn how to help your organisation become more data driven by improving your analysis skills, learning new reporting techniques, and sharing key data to support business decision making. By the end, you’ll have the knowledge and confidence to turn financial insights into positive action.

Improve the financial performance of your organisation

You’ll learn the various approaches that can be used to improve the financial performance of your organisation. The tools and techniques you will employ in this course can be used to justify recommendations for improving financial performance based on the business’ specific requirements and situation.

Put data-driven decision making at the heart of your business

Once you have the data and the analysis needed to drive better business performance, you now need to share it and turn it into strong strategic decisions. You’ll learn how to articulate key data and processes required to support business decision making to make your organisation stronger as a whole.


  • Week 1

    Introduction to the course and financial performance

    • Welcome to the course

      Introduction and welcome to the course.

    • Levers to improve financial performance

      In this activity, we’ll cover the main cost control levels that drive financial performance, specifically value drivers and cash flow management.

    • Week 1 wrap up

      Summary of this week's activities.

  • Week 2

    Improving financial performance

    • Welcome to Week 2

      Introduction to Week 2

    • Data-driven performance decisions

      In this activity, we’ll cover the key metrics to track business performance, best practices for presenting metrics, and how to use a decision tree.

    • Delivering actionable value

      In this activity, we’ll present an overview of the insight generation process and explain how to manage it. We’ll also discuss how to build a data-driven culture and the fundamentals of actionable insights.

    • Week 2 Wrap-up

      Summary of this week's activities.

  • Week 3

    Business decision making: Part 1

    • Welcome to Week 3

      Introduction to Week 3

    • Introduction to data analytics and data-driven decision making

      You will be introduced to data analytics and its importance for data-driven decision making. You will also explore the skills needed for an organisation to make data-driven financial decisions.

    • Week 3 Wrap-up

      To complete the week, let’s recap the key points.

  • Week 4

    Business decision making: Part 2

    • Introduction

      Introduction to Week 4: Business decision making. Familiarise yourself with the week’s topics and listen to this week’s case study.

    • Types of data

      You will learn how to define data, identify various sources of data, and discuss some of the challenges of working with data for businesses and organisations.

    • Data-driven decision making

      You will learn why we make decisions with data, the types and value of business analytics, roles and responsibilities in data-driven organisations and creating a culture that values data-driven decision making

    • Week 4 Wrap-up

      To complete the week, let’s recap the key points.

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...

  • Explain the various approaches which can be utilised to improve financial performance of an organisation
  • Justify recommendations for improving financial performance based on the situation of the business
  • Articulate key data and processes required to support business decision making

Who is the course for?

This course is designed to support learners who need to engage with large volumes of financial data. This includes entry-level finance or accounting professionals who would like to progress to higher-skill positions, and current finance professionals. It would also be useful for new managers and leaders, as well as business workers and entrepreneurs.

If you want to build on your knowledge, you may be interested in these courses, from the same provider:

What software or tools do you need?

During this course we’ll be using Excel. If you don’t have Excel, you might find this online version useful.

We recommend you use a computer to access this course.

Who will you learn with?

Commercially focused Finance Director / CFO with experience working with fast growth online SMEs in different sectors, including two successful exits (Amazon acquisition & Funding Circle’s IPO)

Who developed the course?


FutureLearn is jointly owned by The Open University and The SEEK Group and has been providing online courses for learners around the world over the last eight years.

In collaboration with

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Endorsers and supporters

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