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Finance & Accounting for Non-Financial Managers

Finance and accounting can feel a bit like learning a foreign language, but if you don’t know your assets from your reserves, why your working capital isn’t, or what goodwill means on a balance sheet, you’re not alone.

Don’t despair if you’ve never had the opportunity to learn the lingo, and you feel like you have been left in the dark. Finance & Accounting for Non-Financial Managers sheds light on finance and accounting for managers with very little or no prior knowledge.

Gain new skills, fast-track your career progression, make money talk, and make better business decisions.

The Cambridge experience = 3 days + 20 participants + maximum interaction time with faculty.

Become fluent in the language of finance and accounting. What are you waiting for?


As a manager, it is essential that you use the language of finance and accounting effectively.

A good grasp of key finance and accounting concepts is also often seen by employers as essential for career progression.

Using lectures, worked examples, and class discussions drawn from real-life business experiences, this programme demystifies the language of finance and accounting for managers with very little or no prior knowledge of the subjects.

The programme gives you a thorough, fundamental overview of finance and financial accounting, which you need to manage and discuss budgets, financial reports and different performance indicators. 

Why Cambridge?

Cambridge Judge Business School offers a distinctive approach born out of the University of Cambridge way.

  • Drawing on cutting-edge academic research, as you would expect from a business school with 19 research centres
  • The University of Cambridge has always emphasised smaller class sizes for maximum interaction and focused effort between world-class faculty and top quality participants. Cambridge Judge is no exception. We have class sizes of no more than 25 (Finance & Accounting for Non-Financial Managers is capped at 20). This makes your experience here one of unrivalled quality, relevance and impact.
It has been a while since I’ve attended a proper university-type course and attending this programme in Cambridge brought some memories from back then. I thought both lecturers were excellent and I picked up some useful information and got myself re-engaged with this type of material.
Geoff Langham, COO, Europe, FXCM


  • Interpreting company accounts and financial disclosures
  • Using accounting for management decisions
  • Performance measures
  • Budgeting and forecasting
  • Performing project and investment appraisals using discounted cash-flows, internal rate of return (IRR) and net present value (NPV) techniques
  • Capital structure: understanding financial strategies to achieve the optimal financing mix
  • Foundations of business valuation
  • Sustainable growth versus acquisitions-based growth
  • Executive compensation, corporate governance and value creation
  • Value-based management.
I thoroughly enjoyed this course. It was insightful and entertaining in equal measure. Dr Chu (Academic Programme Director) was extremely engaging and the topics covered were thought-provoking for everyone involved. We were regularly challenged and the full cohort bought into the programme – ensuring that there was a genuine energy and pace to the discussions. Participants came from a variety of sectors and travelled from all around the world to be involved (from throughout Europe and Africa and even Australia and the USA) which also added additional elements to the debate.
Ben Sedgemore, Head of Commercial, MM Flowers

Related articles

Getting to grips with financial terminology

Dr Jenny Chu shares five reasons why it’s important for senior managers to have an understanding of finance and accounting, even if their day-to-day role is non-financial. Read on if you are a manager that struggles with the language of finance…

Read the article


  • Learn to communicate more effectively with colleagues, senior management and other stakeholders using finance and accounting terms
  • Understand how annual reports and financial information are used to make better business decisions
  • Learn how to interpret a company’s profitability, solvency and liquidity
  • Understand the economics of corporate investment decisions
  • Understand the metrics used to assess performance and decision making
  • Explore alternative business valuation principles and understand how you can impact the value drivers of your organisation.
Icon: Executive Education Certificates of Achievement.

This programme counts towards the Cambridge Judge Business School General Management Certificate of Achievement. On completing the GMCA you will be eligible to become an associate member of Cambridge Judge Business School’s global network of graduates and business-focused University of Cambridge alumni, faculty and staff.

Excellent, engaging teacher, with a clear sense of purpose and a real understanding of how managers work and think. The programme introduced me to new concepts, helped identify solutions to challenges, and boosted my confidence in the finance arena.
Adrian Mills, General Manager, BBC North
Two businessmen discussing a document.

Who should attend

  • Professionals and emerging managers with P&L responsibilities
  • Those moving into financial management roles
  • Those wishing to refresh their financial acumen
  • You have experienced success and promotion in your career, but need to better understand the language of finance and accounting to progress further.

The programme will be of particular appeal if you enjoy learning using practical examples that you can immediately relate to your own business experience.

Note: This course is not for you if you are an expert or seasoned practitioner in finance or accounting.

I found the programme extremely useful – interesting, challenging and thought-provoking. I will scrutinise Cognizant’s financials with a new level of insight from now on!
Simon Drury, Head of Marketing, Cognizant Worldwide

* Data taken from the last four cohorts.

Faculty & speakers

Jenny Chu

Associate Professor in Accounting

PhD (University of California, Berkeley)

Michael Willis

Senior Faculty in Management Practice

PhD (Wharton School of Business)

Dr Chu is a clear and energetic professor. She is extremely knowledgeable about the material and imparts it in an engaging and up-to-date way. She was fantastic.
Rachel Yeates, Attorney, Moye White LLP

Dates & fees



Fees *

30 November-2 December 2022

3 days

£3,300 + VAT

VAT is charged at the prevailing rate, which is currently 20%; e.g. £3,300 + 20% = £3,960.

* Fees include instruction, materials, lunch and breaks. Preferential rates may be available for groups, University of Cambridge alumni and members of the School’s Alumni Association. Please note prices pre-registration are subject to change.

For information regarding payment terms, cancellation rights, transfer policies and fees, please see our terms & conditions documents:

Terms & Conditions for Self-funded Applicants (pdf, 277KB) (updated 25 August 2021)
Terms & Conditions for Organisation-funded Applicants (pdf, 295KB) (updated 25 August 2021)

Registration closes at midday two working days before the programme start date.

Participants are expected to attend the full programme.

Please ensure that you have read our Frequently Asked Questions, which provide important additional information about our face-to-face and Live Online programmes, in particular during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Just wanted to say thanks for a fantastic two-day session last week. I found it challenging but extremely rewarding.
Peter Hills-Jones, Institute of Fundraising


How should I prepare for the Finance & Accounting for Non-Financial Managers programme?
We recommend that delegates give some time to consider what aspects of finance and accounting they feel they need to know about in order to for them to carry out their work duties effectively. Being able to apply key concepts of the programme to actual working situations is the main objective of the programme.

Does the programme involve any pre-programme tasks?
Programme delegates will be sent pre-reading materials prior to the session. It is expected that they would have read the materials and thought about the case studies prior to the start of the programme.

What are the programme hours and is hotel accommodation locally recommended?
Programme hours are 09:00-17:00 with 15-minute coffee breaks in the morning and afternoon and a 60-minute break for lunch. In order to get the most out of the programme, we recommend that participants arrange hotel accommodation nearby. Please contact the admin team for information about recommended hotels.

How many delegates are normally on the programme?
Attendee numbers are capped at 20. Experience shows that these delegate numbers make for optimum learning outcomes.

Does the programme involve any group work?
Delegates are strongly encouraged to be fully engaged in all aspects of the programme, which will include group activities. The Academic Programme Director will ensure that all delegates have the opportunity to fully explore and discuss the programme content together.

Is there a requirement to prepare any type of presentation during the programme?
No pre-programme preparation is required. However, there will be opportunities for informal study-group presentations as a result of class-room discussions. 

Will there be any reading to do at the end of each day?
No – all pre-reading materials will be sent before the start of the programme.

Will I be awarded any type of certificate on completion of the programme?
At the end of the three day programme, delegates receive a Certificate of Attendance that can be used for CV purposes. 

After the programme if I have some questions about applying what I learned, can I contact the Academic Programme Director?
Our Academic Programme Director is available to answer any questions participants may have after the programme.

This course demystified the common terms and concepts regularly used in today’s business environment, and laid the foundation for a proper understanding of more complex financial issues.

If you have any questions or would like to have a chat about this programme and how it could benefit you or your organisation, please get in touch with the programme advisor:

Jasmin Abdel-Moneim

Sales & Business Development Manager
Open Programmes
Tel: +44 (0)7850 949628

Schedule a call with Jasmin

[email protected]

Access Jasmin's profile

Jasmin Abdel-Moneim

Version 13 (28 May 2021)


Managing Organisations


3 days


30 November-2 December 2022

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