Finance for Non-finance Professionals

Knowing financials, especially in terms of meeting financial objectives, is arguably one of the most important skills in business.

Whether you are managing a team, working your way up in any business-related industry, or simply trying to improve your business skills and resume, understanding finance is vital to successHowever, without a formal financial background – and therefore a limited understanding of the techniques and vocabulary – you can be at a severe disadvantage to other employees, managers or candidates that do. 

This course provides a fluent and invaluable understanding of fundamental financial theory. It aims to equip all professionals with the techniques, terminology and financial skills required in business.


Combining written material, videos, screenshots and exercises this course will teach users:

  • How to understand and use key financial statements: Profit and Loss Statements, Balance Sheets and Cash Flow Forecasts
  • Budgeting and forecasting techniques to improve planning, control, and decision-making
  • How to use key performance indicators (KPIs) effectively
  • How to apply important investment-appraisal techniques
  • How to develop a business plan


Course Content

Course Content

Course Content

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Course Certificate


Section 1: Introduction


Unit 1.1 - Financial Information and Decision-making   

Financial information is core to yours and other needs. The unit covers the language of finance to enable you to communicate your needs to others and theirs to you; the financial drivers of business, and balancing profitability against cash flow. This sets the big picture for the course content.

Section 2: Using Financial Information for Business Planning and Control


Unit 2.1 - Management Accounts    

Using management accounts as a rich source of financial information.


Unit 2.2 - Costs / Using Costs in Business Decisions    

Knowing the difference between fixed and variable costs underpins budgets and decision-making. Knowing the minimum volume of sales to needed to cover costs and how to allocate them between functions is equallyimportant.


Unit 2.3 - Using Budgets    

Budgets help us to plan the financial year ahead. Each month’s actual performance can be compared against budgeted income and costs providing control over business activities. The unit covers the key master budgets essential for a business.


Unit 2.4 - Control Using Variance Analysis

Being able to identify the reasons for the difference between actual and budgeted income and costs is essential. It provides an indicator of where action is needed to correct adverse performance if needed, that is, if it is controllable and not due to unforeseen circumstances.


Unit 2.5 - Section Plenary

Summarise what you have learned so far

Section 3: Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)


Unit 3.1 - The Usefulness of Business Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)

Key performance indicators as a distillation of considerable financial information are a simple and direct way of communicating to all staff essential financial targets and whether they are being met of not.


Unit 3.2 - How to Choose Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)

What drives each business may differ so choosing what conveys the most important information needs careful consideration.


Unit 3.3 - How to Use KPIs    

For your KPIs to have impact choosing how to present them is important.


Unit 3.4 - KPIs in Practice

There are many different types of business sectors, from manufacturing, retail, banking, the petro-chemical industry and many others. Same sector businesses often use the same KPIs to provide comparison the users of financial Filtered Unit Template Commercial in Confidence information.


Unit 3.5 - Section Plenary

Summarise what you have learned

Section 4: Project Investment Appraisal


Unit 4.1 - Project Investment Appraisal    

The amount of financial capital to invest either in internal or external business opportunities is usually limited. This unit explains why using methods to choose between a range of opportunities is essential. It also covers alternatives to using capital to invest for example, in buying new or replacing business fixed assets.


Unit 4.2 - Appraisal Methods and Risk

You take a risk in choosing between opportunities unless you use a tried and tested method to select the best opportunity. Even then another risk is inflation and how it erodes the opportunities net gain.


Unit 4.3 - Appraisal Methods and Inflation

When faced with a range of project investment opportunities that promise a high return in practice that net income will be eroded by inflation, since it tends to rise.


Unit 4.4 - Comparing Appraisal Methods

The unit compares what happens using the same project information but applying different appraisal methods to select the best one. The results are surprising.


Unit 4.5 - Section Plenary

Summarise what you have learned so far

Section 5: Building Your Business Case (Portfolio)


Unit 5.1 - Building a Business Case

Being able to put a successful business case is a useful skill. They are used to get approval for internal and external project opportunities.


Unit 5.2 - Identifying Your Resources    

The financial and non-financial resources (existing and new) needed must be identified. Never understate what is needed.


Unit 5.3 - Sales, Production and Pricing

The market dictates what room there is for your product or service and the volume of sales. The sales can only be met if the resources are in place; chief amongst them is production capacity and staffing. The price you set should be based on what it is worth to the customer balanced against competitive pressure.


Unit 5.4 - Financial Planning for Your Business Case    

The financial plans are core to your business case. They demonstrate you understand the importance of them and have the ability to successfully control and monitor the project. They include the financial planning, the income forecast, the cash flow forecast, and a mini-balance sheet showing net project business worth.


Unit 5.5 - Section & Course Plenary

Revise and apply what you have learned throughout this course, its sections, units, and modules


Pricing is for 12 months access.

*The AUD price shown above is an estimate. Actual charges are based on the current exchange rate from GBP



  • Required: none

Completion Time: 15 hours (average)

About the Authors

Dr. Janet Cole

Dr. Janet Cole has over 20 years of finance experience. She trained as a chartered accountant with Hays Allen and worked in financial and management accounting roles as well as audit, information systems and business change. Dr. Cole worked for a range of firms during her finance career such as ARRI, Hoechst and Moss Chemists. She worked closely with managers and directors helping them to understand and make decisions based on key financial data.

Dr. Cole has been involved in providing finance and information systems training in her commercial roles and as an Associate Professor at Kingston University where she teaches on Finance, Information Systems and Business Change courses. She is the current chair of the Business Change special interest group for the British Computer society and contributed to the review of the Change Management Institutes body of knowledge.