Learn the language of business

Financial literacy is a fundamental component of management and leadership. Regardless of your role in your organization, you should understand how different decisions impact your organization’s bottom line today, and in the future. Financial Analysis for Non-Finance Leaders (virtual) introduces you to the essential elements of financial reporting, including managerial and financial accounting.  You’ll learn to interpret financial statements, develop a greater understanding of the ways financial information is used as a strategic tool for decision making, and develop the capability to communicate operating, marketing, sales, and growth strategies in financial terms.

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Accounting faculty member, Bill Mayew, who instructs this program, offers his perspective on the virtual program format.

“The blended format was a better experience than an online class. Seeing the professor in real time during the virtual class was critical to my level of engagement and movitation. Also, being able to see the other students in the class pulls you into a group learning experience. You learn from each other and you build camaraderie with the others in the class."--Michael Gutierez, National Account Manager, Chiesi USA

"For me, the blended learning format made learning outside work more accessible and efficient. The pre-reading of case studies, working through the textbook, and watching the well-produced videos helped me prepare for class. The professor's energy and engagement with students was amazing."--Eric Hermans, Director of National Accounts, Chiesi, USA


Who Should Attend?

This live, online program is ideal for self-motivated, ambitious professionals looking to fit classroom development into your already-hectic schedule. Regardless of your level, your functional role, your industry, and your geography, if you find being away from the office for four days in a row challenging, if not daunting, Financial Analysis for Non-Finance Leaders (virtual) delivered in this format is the ideal program for you. 

  • The virtual format allows you to work at a pace that suits your learning style, whether you have little to no exposure to financial statements or you regularly invest as a hobby.
  • The live-streamed classes are recorded and available to participants online, so you may review them as frequently as you choose in order to master the material.

The Financial Analysis for Non-Finance Leaders (virtual) course is the optimal choice for professionals who will benefit from increased familiarity with financial concepts and fundaments in their decision-making, but who are unable to travel to Durham, NC, for the in-person program.

More About the Program

Our virtual program format consists of six weekly live, online class sessions, held on Wednesdays, starting at 11:00 a.m. EST, and varying from 90 to 150 minutes in duration. The same course content as the in-person program will be delivered in a format that consists of live-streamed class sessions (see schedule below) with individual or team assignments to be completed outside of class meetings, and online resources to assist with your learning.  You’ll engage in robust virtual class discussions with your instructor and interesting individual and team assignments and exercises with your classmates.

The class sessions and group discussions will be held using Zoom video-conferencing, which has been extended into a virtual teaching system. This technology creates a virtual classroom where:

  • You can see the faculty member  and any presentation material he/she may be sharing
  • You will be able to see the other participants in the classroom for that live-streamed virtual session
  • The faculty instructor will be able to see all of the students engaged online during the group session
  • You will be able to communicate with both the faculty member and your classmates through the Zoom platform


Live Teaching Schedule
Date Topic

Sept. 1

Introducing Financial Statements (Part 1)
Sept. 8 Understanding Financial Statements (Part 2) --understanding balance sheets, income statements, and cash flow statements
Sept. 15

Profitability and Efficiency--analyzing financial statements

Sept. 22   Credit Risk
Online quiz completed by September 29
Sept. 29   Inventory Management
Oct. 6   Budgeting and Forecasting
Final exam week of October 6


Ensure that you're all set to participate before the program starts. We will be hosting a cohort introduction prior to the first class:



 Cohort Introduction
August 25  1.0 hour    11:00 am - 12:00 noon ET


For more information about our new format, please send us an email at execed-info@duke.edu.

To participate in this course you must have a working webcam, and have downloaded the Zoom Cloud Meeting app onto your laptop.

To earn a certificate credit for this course, which will count as a course toward the elective requirements for the Certificate of Leadership and Management, you must:

  • Be present at a minimum of five of the six live-streamed class sessions
  • Score a passing grade on the quiz and final exam for the course.

If you have questions about any of these requirements, call the Duke Executive Education team at +1.919.660.8011 or Toll Free +1.800.372.3932, or email us at execed-info@duke.edu.

Discussion topics are designed to provide an overview in financial management by introducing you to real-world financial reports and discussing the interpretation of financial information. Combined with basic practices and assessments of an organization’s financial stability, you’ll gain insight on how to leverage financial information to evaluate performance.

Discussion Topics

Financial Statements

  • Learn to read the 3 most common financial statements for product and service industries.
  • Analyze a company's financial health, including efficiency and profitability drivers, using DuPont decompositions.
  • Use key financial ratios to analyze customer credit risk.

Costs of Goods & Cost of Services Sold

  • Examine inventory costing and contribution analysis for specific products/services.

Budgeting & Forecasting

  • Develop division level income statements including direct, variable and "soft" costs and utilize for project selection.
  • Compare an actual P&L to budget variances; incorporate budget variance feedback into investment decisions, employee incentives and control systems to maximize division profitability.

Program Objectives

At the conclusion of the program you’ll be able to:

  • Read and understand financial statements to evaluate financial performance.
  • Design control systems and incentives that align objectives with profitability.
  • Build budgets that monitor and evaluate business performance.
  • Determine the cost and profit of business decisions.
  • Identify relevant costs, including overhead, when adjusting a mix of products and services.
  • Forecast division finances with a comprehensive treatment of costs and expenses beyond inventory.
  • Understand key deviations from forecasts and assess the impact of potential changes to business processes.

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Professor Bill Mayew

Bill Mayew

Bill Mayew is a Professor of Accounting at Fuqua. He received his Ph.D. in Business Administration (Accounting) from the University of Texas at Austin. He previously worked in accounting and financial reporting assurance at Ernst & Young. Professor Mayew studies the managerial communication of firm performance, including voluntary and mandatory financial disclosures in financial reports, and has received multiple awards for teaching excellence.

Rahul Vishishitha

Rahul Vishishtha

Rahul Vashishtha is an Associate Professor in the Accounting area. He received his PhD in Accounting from the University of Pennsylvania in 2012 and has been on the Fuqua faculty since graduation. Professor Vashishtha’s research focuses on the determinants of disclosure and its economic consequences. His recent work examines how mandated disclosure of public information affects corporate investment choices. He teaches financial accounting in the Daytime MBA program.

John Heater

John Heater

John Heater is an Assistant Professor in the Accounting area.  His research interests include disclosure, regulation, corporate governance, and financial intermediaries. Professor Heater’s current work on disclosure and managerial incentives investigates how increased performance disclosure requirements affect firm stakeholders and how the CEO and CFO  roles affect financial reporting. Professor Heater teaches Financial Accounting.

R.J. Reynolds Professor of Business Administration, Mohan Venkatachalam

Mohan Venkatachalam

Mohan Venkatachalam is the R.J. Reynolds Professor of Business Administration at Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business. Professor Venkatachalam received his Ph.D. from the University of Iowa in 1996 and is a Chartered Accountant from India. He has worked as an Accountant and Internal Auditor in India and the Middle East. 

Prior to joining Duke, Professor Venkatachalam was a faculty member at Stanford University, and has taught several courses including Financial Accounting, Financial Analysis and Executive Compensation. He has published research papers on a wide range of topics in valuation, nonfinancial performance measures, accounting disclosures, derivatives and corporate governance. His most recent work involves the role of verbal and nonverbal managerial communication in financial markets. He was an Editor of the Accounting Review and serves on the Editorial Boards of The Accounting Review, Review of Accounting Studies and Contemporary Accounting Research.

How to Register

For more information about how to register, please see our detailed instructions.

Registration Instructions

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Certificate Requirements: Attendance to the Duke Leadership Program and three electives within a three year period. More