Online ExpertTrack in Business & Management

Financial Analysis for Business Performance

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

Created by

FutureLearnFutureLearn

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In collaboration with

XeroXero

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Endorsed by

Coventry UniversityCoventry University

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Explore how proper financial analysis can optimise business performance

Are you struggling to translate your finance data into valuable insights? The finance sector has seen dramatic digital transformation in recent years, with the Financial Services Skills Taskforce identifying Big Data, Cloud Computing and AI as driving seismic change across the sector’s jobs & skills landscape.

These changes have resulted in the finance, accounting and insurance sectors experiencing a skills shortage, with analytics reported as the most in-demand skillset. In fact, 38% of organisations surveyed are experiencing a skills deficit in this area.

Learn how to understand and interpret financial data

This ExpertTrack will help you to move into entry-level finance roles across all sectors. You’ll learn how to manage, analyse and communicate insights gained from financial data, and make data-driven decisions that will optimise the business performance of your organisation. You’ll be able to input on profit and loss responsibility, team and budget-management, and financial forecasting.

Build your financial and data analysis skills

The reliance on tools and technologies to improve productivity is an increasing trend across business finance functions. This means financial professionals - as well as other business professionals - are expected to be proficient in using a range of accounting, finance and data platforms, including spreadsheets and databases like Excel and Google Sheets.

Use Xero for business finance functions

Xero is the leading online accounting platform in both Australia and the UK, with upwards of 1.8 million subscribers. It’s a must-have tool for anyone looking to gain and apply knowledge of new financial concepts, which can then be reapplied across many areas. Business intelligence tools can be employed to communicate insights that drive effective decision-making through data visualisation and storytelling techniques.

Content for this ExpertTrack has been adapted from the Financial Analysis and Decision Making Microcredential - if you want to find out more, take a look at this Microcredential which offers smaller cohorts with tutor interactions and academic credit.

Industry statistics

  • Median base salary£60,000
  • UK job openings/month2,231

Key skills you will learn

  • Financial analysis
  • Budget planning
  • Budget forecasting
  • Insights
  • Communication
  • Data analysis
  • Xero
  • Tableau
  • Excel

Learning outcomes

By the end of the ExpertTrack, you’ll be able to...

  • Explain the purpose of financial planning and budgeting, and how they contribute to achieving business goals
  • Produce reporting-systems to support business decision-making
  • Analyse the various cost-types of a business
  • Discuss the numerous approaches to enhance an organisation’s financial performance
  • Articulate key data to support business decision-making

Experience required

If you’re looking to move into an entry-level finance position, or you’re a professional with increasing responsibility for managing, analysing and communicating insights gained from financial data, this ExpertTrack will equip you with the skills necessary to succeed.

No prior experience is required, but some knowledge of financial analysis and/or accounting will prove advantageous.

During this ExpertTrack 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 these courses.

Getting started

This ExpertTrack will help grow your confidence when it comes to engaging with financial data, conducting financial analysis and communicating useful business insights.

It’s particularly suited to:

  • entry-level finance or accounting professionals looking to progress into higher-skill positions
  • current finance professionals required to engage with increasing volumes of data and who need to communicate critical insights across diverse audiences
  • new managers, leaders and business owners who are responsible for budgets, forecasts and profit-and-loss performance

ExpertTrack course overview

  • Course 1

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

    1 test

    4 weeks

    4 hours per week

    • Week 1

      Introduction to the course and financial analysis
      • Welcome to the course
      • Introduction to planning, budgeting and forecasting (PBF)
      • Fundamentals of effective budgeting
      • Week 1 wrap-up
    • Week 2

      Financial planning
      • Welcome to Week 2
      • Fundamentals of effective forecasting
      • Technology driven success
      • Effective planning, budgeting and forecasting in the digital age
      • Week 2 wrap-up
    • Week 3

      Analysis tools for business insights
      • Introduction
      • What is financial analysis?
      • Types of financial analysis (Part 1)
      • Week 3 wrap-up
    • Week 4

      Business planning and operations
      • Introduction
      • Types of financial analysis (Part 2)
      • Set financial targets and performance metrics
      • Week 4 wrap-up
  • Course 2

    Communicate and report to key business stakeholders and use your financial knowledge to aid decision making.

    1 test

    4 weeks

    4 hours per week

    • Week 1

      Introduction to the course and to financial reporting
      • Welcome to the course
      • Performance monitoring and reporting processing
      • Week 1 wrap-up
    • Week 2

      Financial performance reporting
      • Introduction
      • Creating performance reports
      • Presenting performance reports
      • Week 2 wrap-up
    • Week 3

      Cost types
      • Welcome to Week 3
      • Introduction to cost management
      • Costing methods
      • Week 3 wrap-up
    • Week 4

      Cost structures
      • Introduction
      • Standard costing and variance analysis
      • Week 4 wrap-up
  • Course 3

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

    1 test

    4 weeks

    4 hours per week

    • Week 1

      Introduction to the course and financial performance
      • Welcome to the course
      • Levers to improve financial performance
      • Week 1 wrap up
    • Week 2

      Improving financial performance
      • Welcome to Week 2
      • Data-driven performance decisions
      • Delivering actionable value
      • Week 2 Wrap-up
    • Week 3

      Business decision making: Part 1
      • Welcome to Week 3
      • Introduction to data analytics and data-driven decision making
      • Week 3 Wrap-up
    • Week 4

      Business decision making: Part 2
      • Introduction
      • Types of data
      • Data-driven decision making
      • Week 4 Wrap-up

Prove you're job ready

Highlight the new, job-relevant skills you’ve gained and supplement existing qualifications with a hard-earned, industry-specific digital certificate – plus one for every course within your ExpertTrack.

  • Learn the latest in your chosen industry or subject.
  • Complete each course and pass assessments.
  • Receive certificates validated by the educating organisation.
  • Create a shareable certificate link for your CV and LinkedIn.
  • Impress employers with learning outcomes you can add to your CV.
  • Make your career dreams a reality.

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How ExpertTracks work

Join an ExpertTrack to master new skills in your chosen specialist area. Work through a series of topic-focused courses at your own pace, and pass the final assessment to earn a digital certificate award which proves your expertise.

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Pay a monthly subscription fee of $39 for as long as it takes you to complete the ExpertTrack. You can learn at your own pace and cancel at any time.

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Use your specialist training to progress further in your career or build expertise in areas you’re passionate about.

World-class learning with FutureLearn

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.

This ExpertTrack is in collaboration with Xero

Learn how leading industry technology provider Xero supports the development of leading financial analysis skills and are used to drive business success.

This ExpertTrack is endorsed by Coventry University

This ExpertTrack is endorsed by Coventry University and delivered by FutureLearn as a quality professional development programme.

Meet your instructor

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)

Learning on FutureLearn

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Map your progress

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FAQ

ExpertTracks are a series of online courses designed to help you master new skills in specialist areas. You pay a monthly subscription fee which includes access to all courses within the ExpertTrack, as well as assessments and the final digital certificate.

Each ExpertTrack comes with a 7-day free trial period. You may cancel your subscription at any time and your subscription will automatically cancel when you finish the courses and assessments in your chosen ExpertTrack.

Yes. All of our ExpertTracks come with a 7-day free trial. You may claim one free trial period per ExpertTrack.

You have seven days before you will be charged your first monthly subscription fee. When you join an ExpertTrack you automatically receive a 7-day free trial period. You can cancel at any time during the trial period and no payment will be taken from your account.

Please see our full refund policy here.

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No. ExpertTracks are designed for you to master new skills in a specialist area. You will earn a digital certificate that proves your learning, but it does not carry accreditation.

If you’re looking for certified or accredited courses, many of our microcredentials offer university credit or professional certification.

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