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Financial Analysis for Business Performance: Planning, Budgeting, and Forecasting

Learn how to conduct financial-performance analysis, forecasting and budgetary planning.

Financial Analysis for Business Performance: Planning, Budgeting, and Forecasting
  • Duration4 weeks
  • Weekly study4 hours
  • 100% onlineTry this course for free
  • Included in an ExpertTrackCourse 1 of 3
  • Get full ExpertTrack access$39/month

Strong skills in budgeting and planning are in demand for a variety of roles - whether you’re interested in starting a career as an accountant, business analyst, or consultant, or even if you want to start your own business and need to manage these areas yourself.

This course provides an introduction to financial analysis, showing you the main tools that you have in order to start analysing and optimising for business performance. You will learn to find your way around a balance sheet, understand financial performance analysis, and determine which analysis tools to use for each.

Demonstrate how planning and budgeting help meet business goals

Countless businesses fail because of a poor grasp of their financials, and a lack of proper analysis when making key business decisions. You’ll explore the key function and purpose of business planning and budgeting, and how they contribute towards business goals.

Build your skills in financial analysis

Financial analysis includes interpretation of a business’ financial statements to diagnose profitability, helping the business to make sound decisions with full knowledge of its performance, expected revenue, and margins. You’ll learn to differentiate and deploy different analysis tools to provide business insights.

Create a set of business performance metrics to inform your work

Putting your knowledge into practice, you’ll perform and interpret key analyses to create a set of performance metrics to inform business planning and operations.

Syllabus

  • Week 1

    Introduction to the course and financial analysis

    • Welcome to the course

      Introduction and welcome to the course.

    • Introduction to planning, budgeting and forecasting (PBF)

      This activity is an introduction to the fundamentals of financial planning, and will set the context for the rest of the course.

    • Fundamentals of effective budgeting

      In this activity we’ll learn about the fundamentals of effective budgeting.

    • Week 1 wrap-up

      To complete the week, let’s discuss and recap the learning outcomes for the week.

  • Week 2

    Financial planning

    • Welcome to Week 2

      Introduction to Week 2.

    • Fundamentals of effective forecasting

      In this activity, we’ll explore the fundamentals of effective forecasting and provide you with an understanding of the role and function of forecasting, and types of organisational forecasts.

    • Technology driven success

      This activity introduces you to fintech, what it is, and why it has become prevalent. You’ll also learn about some cloud-based technologies for real-time reporting and continuous improvement.

    • Effective planning, budgeting and forecasting in the digital age

      In this activity, you’ll learn about the key concepts for the success of effective planning, budgeting, and forecasting, and the most common techniques required to ensure the effectiveness and efficiency of the PBF process.

    • Week 2 wrap-up

      To complete the week, test your knowledge and recap the learning outcomes for the week.

  • Week 3

    Analysis tools for business insights

    • Introduction

      Introduction to Week 3.

    • What is financial analysis?

      In this activity, you will be introduced to financial analysis, its value, use, and common reporting mechanisms.

    • Types of financial analysis (Part 1)

      In this activity, you will learn in greater detail how to prepare different types of financial statements and gain an understanding of financial analysis. You will also learn about the basics and analysis of the Balance Sheet.

    • Week 3 wrap-up

      To complete the week, let’s discuss and recap the learning outcomes for the week.

  • Week 4

    Business planning and operations

    • Introduction

      Introduction to Week 4.

    • Types of financial analysis (Part 2)

      In this activity, you will learn in greater detail how to conduct financial analysis using common size financial statements and financial ratios.

    • Set financial targets and performance metrics

      In this activity, we explore how to set financial targets and performance metrics which ensure that businesses meet their financial goals.

    • Week 4 wrap-up

      To complete the week, let’s discuss and recap the learning outcomes for the week.

What will you achieve?

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

  • Explain the key function and purpose of financial planning and budgeting, and how they contribute to various business goals
  • Explain the key function and purpose of financial performance analysis
  • Determine the appropriate use case of key analysis tools to provide required business insights
  • Perform and interpret key analyses, creating a set of performance metrics to inform business planning and operations

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.

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

The social learning platform with hundreds of online courses from a quarter of the world’s top universities.

In collaboration with

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About this ExpertTrack

Discover how sound financial analysis and the employment of cutting-edge technologies can transform business performance.

Start learning today - free 7-day trial

After your free trial you can:

  • Pay $39 per month to keep learning online
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  • Work at your own pace and set your own deadlines at every stage
  • Only pay while you’re learning; the subscription will cancel automatically when you finish
  • Complete online assessments to test your knowledge and prove your skills
  • Earn digital course certificates and a final award that you can share online, with potential employers, and your professional network
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