Accounting and Finance for Non-Financial Managers

Master the tools for making smart financial decisions


Through this highly successful program, managers with little or no financial training or experience can learn to use the language, tools, and techniques of accounting and finance. Complex principles are presented in practical, understandable terms and in a friendly, supportive environment. You will return to your organization with the confidence to analyze financial information and participate fully in making business decisions.

Key Benefits and Takeaways

  • Read and analyze financial reports to assess customer, competitor, supplier, and company performance
  • Use discounted cash flow, internal rate of return, economic value added, payback, and break-even analysis to make better investment decisions
  • Maximize shareholder value
  • Understand and evaluate financing strategies
  • Apply the principles of activity-based costing, target costing and open-book management
  • Prepare and present business cases
  • Use critical numbers and the scorecard to create a high performance organization

This program is designed for managers at all levels, including those in technical and non-financial areas, who are seeking to make better business decisions by understanding financial information. This diversity is one of the program’s strengths – it builds on the experiences of participants from all types of companies, not-for-profit organizations, and government services.

The registration fee includes facilitation by our highly rated faculty members, course materials, results-oriented exercises, meal service (breakfast, lunch and breaks)*, and a certificate of completion from the McGill Executive Institute.

*Meal service is included for in-person programs only.

Topics covered in this course

  • Define accounting and finance terms
  • Follow the complete accounting cycle, from recording transactions to reporting results
  • Interpret balance sheets, income statements, and cash flow statements
  • Read annual reports
  • Learn generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP)
  • Identify key limitations of financial reporting
  • Understand the rationale and pitfalls of cost allocations and cost-plus pricing
  • Use activity-based costing, activity-based management, and target-costing
  • Apply the cost-volume-profit model to business decisions
  • Identify and manage structural cost drivers and life-cycle costs
  • Evaluate the contracting-out option
  • Define and use performance metrics and the balanced scorecard
  • Apply the principles of open book management
  • Understand budget preparation and interpret results of financial reporting
  • Use multi-attribute, accounting, and financial models to analyze investment decisions
  • Understand risk, inflation and opportunity, and weighted average cost of capital
  • Calculate and interpret net present value and internal rate of return
  • Apply sensitivity analysis
  • Grasp the role of finance and finance staffing in an organization
  • Evaluate and manage financial risk
  • Use the capital asset pricing model and beta to assess cost of equity
  • Acquire the fundamentals of financial derivatives such as options, swaps, and futures
  • Calculate and understand financial ratios
  • Learn about financial and operating leverage
  • Appreciate the role of the auditor
  • Employ strategic evaluation tools
  • Determine limitations of financial analysis
  • Connect financial information to other strategic measures
  • Financial and strategic evaluation
  • Recommendations and presentation

Course Leaders

headshot of Philippe Levy

Philippe Levy


Philippe Levy

Philippe Levy, CA, teaches a variety of accounting and finance courses at McGill and is the recipient of several Distinguished Teaching Awards by the Desautels Faculty of Management and the Order of Chartered Professional Accountants in Quebec. His professional experience is well-rounded, as he is a former Vice President of a public company, a practicing Chartered Accountant and a business advisor. He provides consulting services relating to mergers and acquisitions, as well as business planning; he is also called upon to provide expert testimony in criminal and civil lawsuits. Mr. Levy provides custom business and executive programs in Canada, Europe and Asia, with clients ranging from small to large corporations and governmental agencies.

headshot of Julia Scott

Julia Scott


Julia Scott

Julia Scott (CPA, CA, CFA, MBA) joined McGill University in 2000 and currently leads the CA and CPA programs at the Desautels Faculty of Management. She is an industry leader in financial accounting and business analysis, and advises people who are working towards their CA designation. She is also a Chartered Financial Analyst and an active member of the CFA Institute. Prior to joining McGill, Julia worked for TD Bank in Toronto and earned her Chartered Accountant designation from Ernst & Young (Clarkson Gordon).