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ALS 350: Finance and Accounting Principles

Course Number:  ALS 350
Course Name:  Finance and Accounting Principles
Year:  First-year
Semester:  Fall
No. Units:  1.5
Faculty/Instructor(s):  Peter M. Bergevin

Focus Areas

Core Course:Required


ALS 350 is a half course survey of Financial Accounting. Accounting is frequently referred to as the "language of business," and thus, is an essential tool for all managers who strive to be effective communicators.  ALS 350 involves the study of accounting from the perspective of the data user (an investor, manager, or lender), not the data provider (controller, CPA, etc.). Because of the breadth of this course, it is not reasonable to expect a student to master the subject matter. Instead, the goal of the course is to gain an appreciation and understanding of the topics covered.  This does not mean that the technical aspects of accounting will be ignored, but rather that they will not be the central focus of learning.  The educational goal of ALS 350 is for each student to become a competent user of accounting information. Students will learn how to interpret, understand, and use the basic financial statements.  As part of this learning process, we will investigate the various rules utilized in the preparation of financial statements, the

flexibility that exists in the application of these rules, the possible incentives that corporate managers face when selecting the various rules to apply, and the alternative outputs that result from these accounting policy choices.


Mandatory first-year MBS students. No prior background in accounting or finance is assumed.

Topics Covered

Basic accounting concepts

Balance sheet account categories

                        Current assets

                        Non-current and Intangible assets

                        Property, plant and equipment

                        Current liabilities

                        Long term liabilities

                        Off-balance sheet debt

                        Shareholder's equity

Income statement accounts including revenue and cost recognition

Cash Flow and Funds Flow statements (cash versus income)

Financial statement analysis

Financial ratios

Learning Objectives

After completing this course, students should be able to:

1.)     develop income statements, balance sheets and cash flow statements from raw data

2.)     use basic accounting concepts to evaluate a firm's financial strength

3.)     assess the impact of various business events on a firm's financial statements

4.)     correctly calculate and interpret financial ratios


Participation           15% In-class exercises    15% Final exam               45%

Final Statement Project    25%

Required Texts

Click here for required texts.

Category: Financial statements

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