CPE for Government Auditors

How to Interpret Financial Statements: The Basics of Finance for Non-Financial Professionals

No doubt about it, the more you know the language of business, the more you will be able to contribute to your organization’s success. Understanding the ins-and-outs of business finance, budgeting, and costs leads to wise and profitable decisions.

This fun and interactive course starts with a humorous DVD starring John Cleese, of Monty Python fame, and includes a competitive board game called Profit & Cash where participants simulate running a business.

Leita Hart-Fanta, CPA, the author of the McGraw-Hill book, Accounting Demystified is your guide.


In this workshop, you’ll learn:

  • How profits are made and why profit can’t be your only focus
  • How to use the three key financial statements to tell a story about the financial health of an organization
  • What key financial metrics mean and how you impact them
  • How the concepts of liquidity, solvency, and profitability impact a business
  • How to scrutinize a P&L statement
  • How to use cost terminology including variable, fixed, indirect, and direct costs
  • How to develop revenue, expense, and capital projections
  • How to determine the true cost of new hires
  • How to increase cash flow
  • How to best manage working capital
  • How to determine a decision’s impact on profit and cash
  • How to extract the information you need to manage from the organization’s financial reports
  • How to link your strategic plan to your budget and performance metrics


  • The three key financial statements

– The balance sheet
– The income statement (P&L)
– The cash flow statement

  • The concepts of liquidity, profitability, and solvency
  • The common metrics used to determine the health of a business and the viability of a proposal
  • The principles of cash flow and work flow management
  • The terminology accountants used to discuss costs
  • The line item budget and performance based budget
  • The balanced scorecard and strategic plan and how to link them to the budget
  • The family of performance metrics that keeps you on track with your budget
  • The evidence necessary to back up budget projections
  • The reports used by your organization to report on budget performance and financial results


  • Professionals understand how to manage their departments using financial information
  • Professionals become more confident in discussions with executive, customers, suppliers, employees, budget analysts, and controllers
  • Professionals realize the tradeoffs between liquidity, profitability, solvency, and growth


Financial Acumen is designed to be interactive and engaging for participants. Self-discovery is aided by numerous self-checks and discussions. The methods of training include:

  • Terminology quiz
  • Small group exercises
  • Group discussions and questions
  • John Cleese DVD
  • Profit & Cash board game



Who should attend: Professionals

Program level: Beginning

Prerequisites: No prerequisites or advance preparation required

Delivery method: Group live

Recommended CPE credit: 16 hours

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