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A Question-Based Approach to the Design of a Successful "Finance for Non-Financial Managers" Executive Education Program

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Document pages: 9 pages

Abstract: Many successful non-financial managers aspire to contribute at the larger table of management decision making. To do so necessitates broadening their skills to include financial acumen. For non-financial managers, learning new financial constructs can be daunting, and knowing when to use which tool is challenging. We describe a three-questions-based approach underlying the design and delivery of our successful one-week "Financial Management for Non-Financial Executives " program at the University of Virginia s Darden School of Business. We use a three-questions-based approach to facilitate the learning process in each of the following four financial arenas that comprise the overarching, larger financial acumen agenda: (1) Modeling the financial effects associated with typical internal operating decision alternatives; (2) Assessing the impact of operating decisions on the financial statements produced for external constituents; (3) Assessing the impact of operating decisions on popular financial performance metrics used to compare and contrast companies; and (4) Recognizing and incorporating the basic tax implications applicable to internal operating decision alternatives. For each of these four financial arenas, we outline three key questions tailored for each, using one comprehensive example to illustrate the application of our questions-based approach.

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