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Financial Analysis for Business Decisions: Introduction to Data Analysis Tools and Capital Projects

Discover essential financial analysis tools for data-driven decision making, in this business fundamentals course.

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Use financial analysis tools for data-driven decision making

Data has always been fundamental to the discipline of finance. In recent years, however, we have seen a greater drive towards data-driven decision making in all sectors.

Financial analysis is central to this, helping organisations to understand the costs, risks, and benefits of different methods. There is an increased expectation, therefore, that finance professionals or managers with financial responsibility will possess fundamental data analysis skills.

On this four-week financial management course, you’ll begin to learn about financial analysis tools for data-driven decision making.

You’ll be introduced to key data analysis tools that can help you to support data-driven decision making. You’ll also explore capital projects, and understand the role that financial analysis can play in these.

Build finance skills to support decision making

You’ll learn about fundamental data analysis tools, such as regression and sensitivity analysis. You’ll explore these data analysis tools, and discover how to evaluate which are best for decision making in different contexts.

These business fundamentals will be beneficial to both finance professionals and general managers looking to strengthen their finance skills.

Discover the importance of financial analysis

Financial analysis is particularly key to making good business decisions in relation to these large, expensive projects. You’ll also explore capital projects, discovering what these are and their relevance to organisations. By developing your finance skills on this course, you’ll be able to contribute to successful capital projects at your organisation.


  • Week 1

    Introduction to the course and financial data analysis

    • Welcome to the course

      You'll be introduced to the fundamentals of financial analysis as well as the course and assessment, in general.

    • Introduction to financial analysis

      In this week you will be introduced to the fundamentals of financial analysis, and how it can be used to make data informed decisions.

    • Wrap-up

      To complete the week, test your knowledge of this week's content and recap the learning outcomes for the week.

  • Week 2

    Financial analysis tools

    • Introduction

      Overview of learning outcomes for the week.

    • Regression analysis

      Regression analysis and the types of linear regression are major statistical methods adopted by experts to make certain conclusions. Learn how to complete an analysis using a regression formula in Excel.

    • Sensitivity analysis

      What will a certain change in variable do to the other variable, while establishing a relationship of financial analysis with risk management? Explore that with learning the why and how of performing a sensitivity analysis.

    • What-if analysis

      You will get an insight into the variation of sensitivity analysis in the form of what-if analysis, and learn about a simulation method of analysis.

    • Wrap-up

      Well done! You’ve now completed Week 2. Here is a wrap-up of what you learned.

  • Week 3

    Tools for evaluating projects

    • Introduction

      You will be introduced to capital budgeting; specifically, ways to evaluate a capital budgeting project and decide whether to undertake the project or not.

    • Time value of money

      What makes a decision a capital budgeting decision and why is it important? You will learn concepts associated with the time value of money, and how it relates to the capital budgeting process.

    • Tools for project evaluation

      What are the main tools used in corporations in making project valuation decisions? Learn the various tools and understand the connection between each of the tools.

    • Wrap-up

      Congratulations! You’ve now completed Week 3. Here is a wrap-up of what you learned.

  • Week 4

    Tools for decision-making

    • Introduction

      You will be introduced to the advantages and disadvantages of the tools used for capital budget projects, followed by learning about Modified internal rate of return (MIRR).

    • The best approach

      Now you will evaluate which of the tools is the best for decision-making.

    • MIRR

      Modified internal rate of return (MIRR) is an extremely useful tool that essentially overcomes the drawback of the other methods. Calculating MIRR solves most of the issues with IRR, as covered in the previously week.

    • Wrap-up

      Congratulations! You’ve now completed the 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 common financial data analysis tools such as regression and sensitivity analysis/what if to inform business decision making
  • Describe what a capital project is and its relevance to an organisation
  • Explain the five basic tools to evaluate the project
  • Evaluate which of the tools are best for decision making

Who is the course for?

This course is for those who want to support data-driven decision making based on financial analysis. You could be a finance professional seeking career advancement or better communication skills, or a manager looking to strengthen key finance skills.

Build on what you learn during this course with these courses, from the same provider:

What software or tools do you need?

During the course we’ll be using Tableau Public and 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.

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