Building Financial Acumen

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Course Description

Raise your game. Expand your financial knowledge so you can ask better questions, spot problems, make better decisions, and increase your impact and influence in the organization. Duke CE has partnered with Professor Joe Perfetti, who has wealth of real world knowledge and industry expertise, to create an online finance program for non-financial managers.

This course is available for individuals and is also customizable for cohorts at your organization to meet your unique business needs. Learners can experience the program in a variety of ways, from self-paced online learning to a customized and flexible hybrid model consisting of online course modules supplemented by tailored virtual or in-person sessions with subject-matter experts to ensure the application of learning into the workplace.

$299 per individual participant
Contact us to discuss pricing for your cohort

What You’ll Learn

This program will use financial data to analyze performance, provide a framework to understand changes in business models, and use key performance metrics to help interpret financial statements.

  • Speak the language of finance
  • Identify financial levers and drivers of value to influence your business real-time
  • Learn and practice applying key financial concepts and tools such as
    • Cornerstones of Value Creation
    • Key Value Drivers
    • Financial Statement Analysis
    • Cash Flow Cycle
    • Income Statements
    • Balance Sheets
    • Selling a Business Case
    • Time Value of Money

Building Financial Acumen

This Course Includes

  • 8 modules, each with:
  • a 5-8 minute video
  • supplemental reading
  • an assessment of 5-10 questions
  • an application exercise

Course Content

Module 1: Welcome + Introduction

The course is composed of 8 self-paced modules. Each module includes: readings, a 5-8 minute video, an application exercise with a solution video, and a quiz to assess comprehension. Expect a 60-90 minute time commitment per module (8-12 hours total).

Module 2: The Four Cornerstones of Value Creation

This module covers the four cornerstones of creating value for your organization: positive spread, healthy cash flows, investor expectations, and the sustainability of competitive advantage. Throughout this module, we will view the concept of value creation from an investors perspective, and introduce the most important levers and metrics managers can use to create sustainable value for their companies.

Module 3: The Key Drivers of Value Creation

This module will drill down on the concepts of spread, growth, and sustainability. After this module, you will be able to explain how the spread of a business contributes to value creation, why growth can sometimes destroy value, and the importance of sustainability to investors.

Module 4: Cash Flow Cycle

This module introduces the concept of the cash flow cycle—or how a business or even a single project generates cash on a recurring basis. Understanding this will allow you to better understand a company’s business model. We will also discuss how investors use the cash flow cycle in their decision-making process through the concepts of spread and Financial Cycle Time.

Module 5: The Balance Sheet

The balance sheet tracks the first two stages of the cash flow cycle: the financing stage and the investment stage. This statement is important to investors because it details what a company owns, what it owes, and its value to shareholders.

Module 6: The Income Statement

The income statement, which is also known as a profit and loss statement (P&L) is the only financial statement that shows a company’s sales and net income. From this document, investors, analysts, and a company’s internal finance team are able to derive and use important measurements like earnings per share (EPS), return on equity (ROE), return on assets (ROA), earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT), and earnings before interest taxes and amortization (EBITDA). A P&L is an important step in a manager’s career. Controlling costs and driving revenue means your actions will directly influence a company’s allocation of resources.

Module 7: ROIC vs. Free Cash Flow

Another metric of financial performance is free cash flow. This metric can be used to identify companies that have the financial ability to sustain long-term competitive advantage by funding growth opportunities while also paying back investors and bond holders.

Module 8: Four Elements of a Business Case

Explore key factors that corporate finance professionals, venture capitalists, and private equity firms use when making funding decisions. These factors include: market opportunity, meeting customer needs, developing a business model that is responsive to the concerns of finance professionals, and the importance of having the right team to drive performance.

Module 9: Time Value of Money

In this module the core concepts are reviewed. The point is made that in order to move cashflows and values between periods, you need three things: the total amount of cash spent or received, the interest or discount rate applied to the cash, and the number of periods before cash is spent or received.

Module 10: Course Evaluation

After you complete the 8 modules we invite you to offer feedback in a short survey to help us improve our approach and expand our content. We hope you will have fun learning while expanding your financial knowledge & raise your game.

Meet the Faculty

Joe Perfetti


Joe’s experience across industries and depth of knowledge in the areas of strategy and finance, coupled with his creative nature, position him well to redefine business metrics and create a new dashboard for the future. Joe’s cutting-edge work is helping businesses learn how to be more forward-looking and “pre-active” in the market.

Learn more about Joe.