This course, developed at the Darden School of Business at the University of Virginia and taught by top-ranked faculty, will teach you the tools you'll need to understand the fundamentals of financial accounting. Concise videos, the financial records of a small business, and "your turn" activities guide you through the three most commonly used financial statements: the Balance Sheet, the Income Statement, and the Statement of Cash Flows. Beyond recording transactions, you'll learn how to prepare these financial statements, and read and analyze them to draw basic conclusions about a company's financial health.
By the end of this course, you will be able to:
- Use journal entries to record transactions
- Prepare and use t-accounts to summarize transactions recorded during an accounting period
- Describe the three most commonly used financial statements and how they fit together
- Prepare these financial statements based on transactions recorded during an accounting period
- Draw basic conclusions about a company's financial health
Introduction to Financial Accounting, the Financial Statements, and the Balance Sheet
-During this first week, we’ll learn about the context for financial accounting, including the informational role it plays for both internal and external audiences. We’ll explain accounting standards, which ensure financial information is conveyed clearly and effectively. Finally, we’ll describe the three primary financial statements as part of a recurring accounting process, called the accounting cycle, and then dive into one of those statements: the Balance Sheet (BS).
Introduction to Recording Transactions
-After learning about the Balance Sheet, we’re ready to move on to using journal entries to record transactions, then t-accounts to summarize transactions recorded during an accounting period. We’ll apply those tools to record transactions for a fictional startup company, The Garden Spot, during its first year of operations (TGS Year 1). As we go along, we’ll also evaluate the effect of transactions on the balance sheet equation to ensure it remains balanced.
The Income Statement, Revenue and Expense Transactions, and Adjusting Entries
-Now that we’ve learned the fundamentals of recording transactions, we’re ready to dive into another financial statement: the Income Statement (IS). After learning about the Income Statement, we’ll record revenue and expense transactions, and summarize these transactions in a special account. Finally, we'll record adjusting entries in accordance with accrual accounting, prior to the preparation of the financial statements.
The Statement of Cash Flows, Financial Statement Preparation
-After learning about the Income Statement, revenue and expense transactions, and adjusting entries, we’re ready to move on to preparing our end-of-period financial statements. We’ll prepare the Income Statement and Balance Sheet based on the transactions that have been recorded. Then, we’ll dive into the Statement of Cash Flows (SCF) and learn how to prepare that financial statement. Finally, we’ll briefly discuss closing entries, since we've been preparing them as we've been going along!
More Transactions, Analysis of Financial Statements, and an Annual Report
-During this last week, we’ll walk through the second year of operations for our fictional startup company, The Garden Spot (TGS Year 2), for additional practice recording transactions and preparing our end-of-period financial statements. Then, we’ll do some analysis of The Garden Spot’s financial statements. Finally, we’ll take a look at PepsiCo’s Annual Report as an example of reporting for a publicly traded U.S. company.