Chicago Booth Approach to Finance


In this six-week online program taught by Chicago Booth Professor Haresh Sapra, you'll acquire the tools and frameworks to interpret financial statements to better understand the financial performance and health of an organization.

Today’s unpredictable and fast-changing business world requires executives from every level to have a solid understanding of core finance and accounting principles to make impactful business decisions. Practical financial decision-making is critical to an organization’s ability to combat competition, make strategic growth decisions, and create shareholder value.

You’ll discover key concepts such as interpreting balance and income statements, cash flow principles, asset and liability analysis, and risk and forecasting tools - all to make more impactful financial decisions. You’ll acquire the tools to quantitatively evaluate choices and how these choices affect your institution’s incentives and resources. This program offers a practical guide to using financial instruments when making allocation decisions, and are immediately applicable to you and your organization.

By attending this program, you will:

  • Build up your financial decision-making by learning core finance and accounting principles.
  • Learn how to evaluate and identify red flags in financial statements and balance sheets.
  • Discover how the relationship between profit and cash flow is crucial to the health of an organization.
  • Learn how to gain insight into an organization’s efficiency and profitability by using tools such as ratios and liability analysis.
  • Acquire the tools to financially forecast for proper business planning.
  • Strengthen your finance and accounting terminology to better communicate across your organization.


This program is designed for mid- senior managers from across an organization, within a wide-range of industries, who do not have formal training in finance and accounting and wish to develop or update their knowledge of core finance and accounting principles.

This program will also benefit those in professions such as consultants, scientists, engineers, healthcare, small- medium size business owners, and other professionals who want to increase their financial acumen to make better business decisions.

Haresh Sapra

Charles T. Horngren Professor of Accounting
Haresh Sapra studies the real effects of accounting measurement policies, disclosure regulation, and corporate governance. His current research deals with issues of disclosure, transparency and financial reporting for financial institutions. For example, how do accounting measurement rules impact the optimal design of prudential regulation for financial institutions? To what extent should accounting and prudential regulation be linked? What is the impact of loan loss provisioning models on banks’ risk-taking behaviour? His research has been published in journals such as The Accounting Review, Journal of Accounting Research, Games and Economic Behavior and the Journal of Accounting and Economics. He teaches financial accounting to Executive students and a PhD course on the economic modeling of accounting issues. He has previously taught an MBA elective on Mergers and Acquisitions and Corporate Restructuring Issues to full time and part time students

Sapra has won numerous teaching awards in all the programs at Booth. Sapra has been named one of the top-ranked professors in BusinessWeek's Guide to the Top Business Schools. Sapra has also the Ernest R. Wish Accounting Research Award for his paper "Do Mandatory Hedge Disclosures Discourage or Encourage Excessive Speculation?"

Sapra earned a PhD in Business Administration in 2000 from the University of Minnesota and then joined the Chicago Booth faculty in 2000.

Sapra is an accomplished runner who has competed in over thirty marathons with a personal best time of 2:53:06.

Introduction to Accounting and the Accounting Process

  • Introduction to the key financial statements (balance sheet, income statement and cash flow)
  • Accrual vs cash accounting
  • Deriving the formula for the cash flow statement Operating activities
  • Investment activities 
  • Financial activities

The Profit & Loss Statement

  • Revenue recognition 
  • COGS and operating expenses 
  • Discontinued operations
  • Corporate taxes

Asset Analysis

  • Key asset groups analysis 
  • Long-term asset 
  • Brands, R&D and other intangibles
  • Depreciation methods
  • Inventory accounting methods 
  • Other current assets topics

The Liability Analysis

  • Key liability groups discussion
  • Financial debt and leases
  • Provisions and other contingencies
  • Current liabilities
  • Off balance sheet items

The Financial Statement Analysis & Performance Measure

  • Learn terminology, review of financial statements
  • Common size and trend analyses
  • Evaluate return on assets (ROA) & return on equity (ROE)

Upcoming Program
Start Date: Fall 2020 dates coming soon

Learn More and Register