You are here

Finance and Accounting for the Nonfinancial Executive


In five days of hands-on, interactive sessions, Finance and Accounting for the Nonfinancial Executive provides you with a unique opportunity to deepen your expertise of finance and accounting for better management and decision-making capabilities.

The program features sessions on the role of accounting, key concepts of managerial and financial accounting, ratio calculation, and analysis of your company and shareholder value management.

A hallmark of this program that is unmatched in other Executive Education programs is the Corporate Financial Analysis, a hands-on detailed financial analysis of your company, or a company of your choosing with the help of faculty coaches. The analysis results in a customized financial profile that summarizes how the specific business is doing. Faculty coaches help you read this profile on different levels, discuss the importance of each number for your business and be able to tell how your business is doing based on the figures, assessing strengths and areas for improvements.

At the end of the program, you will have mastered key finance and accounting concepts and understand the relationships among profitability, cash flow, liquidity and growth, and identify the red flags in financial statements -- highly important in the current volatile financial context.

For a complete program schedule download the agenda.

Please Contact Us

Please contact our Learning Solutions Specialists at 212-854-3395 for a personal conversation to learn more.


Finance and Accounting for the Nonfinancial Executive blends broad financial principles with practical applications.

How You Will Benefit in the Current Context

Participants report appreciating the thoroughness of the program: rigorous, but rewarding. The personal attention participants receive from faculty brings concepts into clearer focus more readily and helps participants quickly gain confidence in their new finance and accounting skills.

Summary of Benefits
  • Understand accounting's role in business and master the language of accounting
  • Learn and apply key concepts of managerial and financial accounting
  • Calculate ratios and develop a sound ratio analysis
  • Receive faculty coaching on your Corporate Financial Analysis
  • Apply finance and accounting concepts to shareholder value management
  • Identify red flags in financial statements

Upon completion of this program, you will earn five days towards a Certificate in Business Excellence. Learn more.


Topics include:

Day One

Articulating Principles of Accounting Building Blocks
Balance sheet
Income statement
Statement of cash flows
Income measurement: Cash flows versus earnings

Applying Accounting Principles
Revenue recognition
Manipulations and red flags

Day Two

Using Accounting Information to Make Better Decisions
Integrating financial and managerial accounting
Identifying profit opportunities with activity-based costing (ABC)
Understanding the balanced scorecard and efficient budgeting
Mastering net present value (NPV) calculations

Day Three

Understanding How to Analyze a Business
Review actual financial statements
Reformulate the financial statements to facilitate informative profitability analysis
Develop a systematic ratio analysis to evaluate profitability

Hands-On Application: Corporate Financial Analysis
Review the financial statements of a company of your choosing, analyze its profitability, and discuss the analysis in small groups

Day Four

Determining What Makes a Business Valuable
Develop a systematic ratio analysis to evaluate earnings quality, growth prospects, risk, and market pricing
Describe and demonstrate the application of fundamental and relative (price-multiple) valuation methods
Learn the role of valuation in mergers and acquisitions (M&A)

Hands-On Application: Corporate Financial Analysis
Applying the comprehensive ratio framework and valuation methods to analyze a company of your choosing, and discuss the analysis in small groups 

Day Five

Financial Statement Analysis and Valuation
Evaluate the firm's strategy
Understand its accounting choices
Analyze its current performance
Forecast its future performance
Estimate its fundamental value

Real-World Experience in Real Time
Examining effective financial management in the real world
Talking to finance professionals

Audience & Testimonials

Finance and Accounting for the Nonfinancial Executive is designed for midlevel to senior-level executives with five or more years of experience in corporate or divisional roles who seek a deeper understanding of finance and accounting.

The program is well suited for those in creative or technical fields and can also serve as a refresher for executives with some knowledge of finance and accounting.

Read More Success Stories

Alumni and up to four of their colleagues are eligible for a 25 percent tuition benefit for programs lasting up to seven days. More on the Alumni Tuition Benefit.


Sharon Katz, Co-Faculty Director
Associate Professor of Accounting

Sharon Katz’s research focuses on private equity and the financial behavior of private versus public firms. For his achievements in research, he has been awarded such honors as the American Accounting Association Competitive Manuscript Award (2007) and the Best Paper in Private Equity from the Financial Economics and Accounting Conference (2008). Katz is frequently cited in the popular press and trade publications, like The New Yorker, Mergers & Acquisitions Journal, Financial News, Private Equity News, and Directorship. He brings real-world practice to his research, having first worked as a corporate lawyer in Israel before moving into investment banking at Citigroup in New York, specializing in Mergers and Acquisitions for Private Equity Sponsors. Prior to joining the Columbia Business School faculty, he was faculty at Harvard Business School, teaching business analysis and valuation to both MBA students and executives.

Doron Nissim, Co-Faculty Director
Ernst & Young Professor of Accounting & Finance

Professor Doron Nissim, noted by the Financial Executive Research Foundation for research that has “had the greatest import for users and preparers of financial reports,” has received several industry nominations and awards, including the prestigious Brattle Prize at the Journal of Finance. His research has been published in leading trade publications such as the Journal of Accounting Research, the Accounting Review, the Review of Accounting Studies, the Journal of Finance, and the Financial Analysts Journal, and his research is frequently cited in the popular press, including the New York Times, Chief Executive Magazine, Time, The Economist, and the International Herald Tribune. He consults in industry on earnings quality, fundamental analysis, valuation, investment management, and financial institutions. Nissim served as the chair of the accounting division from 2006 to 2009 and is a recipient of the Columbia Business School Dean’s Award for Teaching Excellence.

Along with Professor Katz and Professor Nissim, additional Columbia Business School faculty contribute to and teach in the program.


Special Features

Corporate Financial Analysis: A unique element of the program is the Corporate Financial Analysis: a customized financial analysis of your own company or company of your choosing. A Columbia Business School faculty member studies the company, then coaches you and a small group of participants in similar industries and companies through the process of analyzing the firm. For the Corporate Financial Analysis, you may use your own company's annual report, or the annual report of a competitor or a supplier—it is up to you. Not only do participants receive personal attention on their specific situations, but they also feel that this is where many of the concepts that they've studied come together because they are learning by doing.

Field Experience in New York City: Meeting with a finance professional and examining effective financial management in the real world. Previous guests have included Tracey Travis, senior vice president of finance and chief financial officer of Polo Ralph Lauren, Robert Herz, the former chairman of the Financial Accounting Standards Board, Mark Gallogly, the co-founder of Centerbridge, and John Martin, the chief financial officer of Time Warner.

Related Programs

Other Finance Programs:

  • Family Wealth Management
    Developed for those with portfolios that exceed $20 million in investible assets and provides substantive training on evaluating and making wealth management decisions.
  • Value Investing
    Building on the seminal work of Professors Benjamin Graham and David Dodd '21, this program extends the legacy of value investing at the place where it all began.


Find the right program for you, a blend of scholarly research and practical approaches, delivered as only Columbia can deliver.

Find programs by date

Find programs by topic


2015 Program Catalog

        Download Now       

Learn more about programs for
groups or organizations.

Earn Your Certificate

The Certificate in Business Excellence (CIBE) is awarded to participants who complete a total of 18 program days within a four-year period.

Learn more about the benefits of earning a CIBE.