Analytical Thinking

working on a laptop

This course leads you through a journey on key finance and accounting principles that enable you to understand and interpret financial data and make immediate key financial management decisions in your firm.

It has been said that the language of business is accounting; it is how firms communicate essential information about the business to external stakeholders and tells the story of how an organization operates and competes in the marketplace. Finance interprets that information to make critical business decisions. This Analytical Thinking course leads you through a comprehensive journey of key finance and accounting principles to translate a balance sheet into a management tool.

This course incorporates real examples with a focus on decision-making to help you interpret financials like a P&L owner. You will understand how to measure the value generation process in your firm. By the end of the course, you’ll have developed a toolkit to make and understand key financial decisions at a firm.

Outcomes include:

  • Identify the key value drivers in your organization
  • Diagnose the current performance of your organization using financial statements
  • Build a scorecard to track performance while understanding its tradeoffs
  • Learn how to select investment projects at your organization
  • Consider how a financial investor would determine the value of your organization
  • Explore how the capital markets work and how to evaluate an optimal capital structure

What sets this program apart?

  • Live sessions with the professor
  • Assessments at the end of the course provide assurance of learning
  • Opportunities for group work as well as learning on your own
  • Expand your perspective and network by interacting with cross-functional faculty and participants with diverse backgrounds
  • Learn from a Financial Times Top 10 global executive education provider
Who Should Attend
  • Director, Senior-Manager, Entrepreneur, and persons recognized as High Potentials in the organization
  • Managers moving into greater organizational responsibility in the areas of Finance and Accounting
  • Next-level leaders who are on the path to gaining additional finance and accounting management responsibilities
  • Individuals seeking professional or entrepreneurial growth
  • Professionals without prior formal finance expertise and/or who lack a formal business education background in accounting and finance

The Program Structure*

This online course consists of eight asynchronous modules with two live synchronous sessions. The combination of the online platform, discussion groups and interactive live sessions fosters a dynamic learning environment.

Module 1: The Language of Business

  • Understand the content and purpose of the income statement and balance sheet
  • Apply accounting principles: revenue recognition

Module 2: Evaluating the Financial Condition of an Organization

  • Cash vs profits 
  • Accruals accounting
  • Recognize the impact of judgment and bias on financial statements and accounting practices

Module 3: The Three Pillars of Value Creation

  • Understand the building blocks of financial analysis
  • Explore the three pillars of value creation and how to achieve them
  • Apply your knowledge to identify companies by reviewing their financial statement

Module 4: Tracking Performance 

  • The value of having a scorecard  
  • The four principles of designing a scorecard
  • Live session

Module 5: Making capital allocation decisions

  • Discuss capital allocation and the use of free cash flow: NPV and IRR
  • Understand economic value added
  • Analyze the various options companies have for investing their cash through reinvestment or distribution
  • Live session

Module 6: Valuation

  • Understand present value
  • Determine how the future affects value today

Module 7: Cost of capital

  • Risk and beta
  • Cost of debt and equity capital; Weighted average cost of capital

Module 8: Introduction to capital markets

  • Building a strong understanding of debt and equity 
  • Contemplate the capital structure and leverage
  • Live session

*This sample schedule is intended to represent the program structure and content. Timing and session topics are illustrative and subject to change.

Time Commitment

Duration: 6 weeks
Weekly Coursework: 5-7 hours/week
Format: Asynchronous & Synchronous sessions
Badge: Earn a digital social media-friendly badge upon successful completion of the Analytical Thinking program

Program Certification

This course is part of the Accelerated Management Development Certificate Program. This six-month program helps you strengthen your business acumen, broaden your management capabilities, and gain actionable tools to advance your career. This fully online and customizable program will help you achieve a managerial mindset through an integrated exploration of business functions and strategy. Earn a digital certificate upon completion of the full online Accelerated Management Development Certificate Program. For more information on this new online program click here.


After successful program completion, you will earn 1 credit toward the Distinguished Leader Certificate from Michigan Ross Executive Education.

  • Learn to “Speak Accounting and Finance” to better collaborate within your organization
  • Develop data-driven decision-making skills to maximize financial ROI 
  • Upskill or Refresh knowledge in managing through Accounting and Financial practices
  • Immediate Application - Learn on Monday, Apply on Tuesday
  • Earn a digital badge to share on social media with colleagues and friends after successful course completion  

Faculty Thought Leadership
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Tuition & Fees

Fee includes program materials, assessments and simulations.

Fee must be paid in full in US dollars (net of any tax) before access to the course platform can be granted.

Program discounts may be available for selected programs; contact us for specific details.

See our Cancellation, Transfer and Substitution Policy.

Contact us for special team pricing. 

For more information, please contact: | +1.734.763.1000.