Knowledge of accounting is a core requirement to any career in business – whatever you
choose to specialize in - finance, marketing, strategy or human resources. The accounting system
provides much of the data needed to make business decisions. The aim of this course is to ensure
that this essential building block is firmly in place at the outset of your business education.
This course is designed to provide you with a comprehensive, graduate level introduction to
accounting. It will provide you with the foundations of accounting - the concepts and mechanics;
and to help develop a perspective for the intelligent use of accounting information. You will
learn about the system used by firms for providing reports to external constituents such as stock
holders, debt holders and potential investors. At the beginning of the course, I will assume
that you have never seen accounting before! But, by the end of the course you should be
able to read and interpret financial accounting reports and evaluate any firm’s economic
performance and financial position.
The course is organized into two interrelated modules. First, we will learn the accounting
process - how information is recorded, organized and collated to produce the reports. This
includes an examination of the main financial statements, the nature of accrual measurement,
revenue recognition, assets, liabilities and equity. The first half of the course is the foundation.
In the second half, we will dissect the balance sheet by systematically going through financial
reports and learn to analyze the relevant information provided in the balance sheet and related
Professor of Professional Practice
Professor Ziv stepped down in 2013 from the Vice Dean position at Columbia Business School and became a Professor of Professional Practice. As a Vice Dean, among other responsibilities, he was overseeing Admission, MBA Students Affairs, EMBA, Career Management and the Samberg Institute for Teaching Excellence. Before rejoining Columbia Business School as a Vice Dean, Professor Ziv served on the faculties of Yale...