Syllabus and module content

Following is an indicative layout of the programme syllabus you will cover.

Module one, day one – strategic corporate finance

  • Enterprise value and its significance in corporate finance;
  • Business risk, financial risk and the cost of capital;
  • Cost of capital, return on capital employed and shareholder value added;
  • The impact of business strategy on shareholder value added;
  • The application of business strategy and ABC analysis in business restructuring;
  • The impact of the business cycle and the asset price cycle on asset returns.

Module one, day two – communicating effectively

  • Understanding and communicating effectively with different types of people;
  • Adapting your approach in order to get results;
  • Asserting yourself without upsetting others;
  • MBTI – individual personality assessment.

Module two, day one – strategy analysis

  • Introduction: the financial manager as referee versus the financial manager as coach looking forward instead of back;
  • Managing ambiguity and change;
  • Is the finance function driving growth or driving down cost?;
  • Corporate finance basics – adding value versus subtracting value;
  • Business strategy analysis;
  • Knowing your industry: what is your business trying to achieve?;
  • Value chain analysis;
  • Determining corporate strategy;
  • Useful sources of information on the internet.

Module two, day two – strategic costing

  • Activity based costing;
  • Enterprise resource planning;
  • Life-cycle costing;
  • Target costing;
  • Enterprise resource planning;
  • Value chain analysis;
  • Pricing for advantage.

Strategic cost accounting

  • Strategic cost accounting;
  • Key performance indicators (KPIs) and the balanced scorecard;
  • Strategic benchmarking – measuring the performance of other companies;
  • Enterprise resource planning and activity-based-costing (ABC) analysis;
  • The implications of ABC analysis for business strategy;
  • Analysis as a tool to solve problems/make better decisions;
  • What do the numbers tell you?;
  • Financial planning, modelling, forecasting and variance analysis;
  • Analysis of costs, margins, product mix, etc.

Module three, day one – budgeting and strategic planning

Be clear on your business case and confident in it.

  • Financial planning;
  • Analysis of order backlog, book to bill ratio etc.;
  • Forecasting;
  • Budgeting and phasing of budgets;
  • Capital expenditure;
  • Reporting;
  • Balanced scorecard and KPIs;
  • Benchmarking.

Module three, day two - influencing key people

  • Building your influencing tool-kit - getting buy-in;
  • Four-step influencing model;
  • The psychology of persuasion;
  • Influencing practice and feedback;
  • Influencing upwards;
  • Personal influence and impact;
  • Using social and emotional intelligence to get results.

Module four, day one – structure, strategy and organisation

  • Structure and strategy;
  • Capacity planning - management of staff numbers based on the above, including getting right balance between own staff and contractors;
  • Design effective partner strategy balancing sales imperatives with financial constraints;
  • Incentives - designing remuneration systems to accord with strategic objectives;
  • Business restructuring;
  • Financial restructuring.

Module four, day two - presenting persuasively

  • Building credibility as a business leader;
  • Presenting financials in a meaningful way;
  • Delivery that connects, engages & gets results;
  • Selling yourself and your message;
  • Presentation practice and feedback.

Module five,  day one – the analytical toolbox

Introduction to Analytics

  • What is data analytics?;
  • Business case for analytics;
  • Types of analytics – predictive, descriptive.

Introductory case study – data science and the Titanic

Working with data

  • Types of data – nominal, ordinal, categorical, numerical;
  • Types of data sources;
  • Data preparation and data cleaning.

Basic data exploration

  • Investigating a new data set;
  • Get summary information;
  • Ranges and deviations;
  • Using R and R studio.


  • Basic linear regression;
  • Application of regression model;
  • Analysing performance of model;
  • More complex regression types.


  • Decision trees;
  • Application of decision tree – loan applications;
  • Decision rules;
  • Comparison of trees and rules for application;
  • Bayes theorem;
  • Bayesian classifiers;
  • Application  - fraud transaction analysis.


  • Types of association;
  • Association rules;
  • Using support and lift;
  • Application – market basket analysis.

Cluster analysis

  • Looking for sets of similar items;
  • K nearest neighbours method;
  • Other cluster methods;
  • Applications in the accounting domain.

Black box methods

  • Neural networks;
  • Support vector machines;
  • Using neural networks on loan data.

Text analysis

  • Categorisation;
  • Concept extraction;
  • Twitter text application.

Data visualisation

  • Types of visualisation;
  • Choosing the right visualisation method. 


  • When to use different analytical methods;
  • Other tools which may be useful.

Module five, day two – building an analytical capability

The data analytics pipeline

  • Extract, transform and load;
  • Data cleaning;
  • Feature extraction;
  • Online analytical processing;
  • Tools and techniques;
  • Case study.

The big data revolution

  • Sources of data;
  • Dealing with unstructured data;
  • Hadoop and other big data tools;
  • Big data and the cloud.

 Case Study – Netflix

 Competing on analytics

  • Using analytics to gain competitive advantage;
  • The key attributes of analytical companies;
  • Using analytics on internal processes – financial, manufacturing and HR;
  • Applying analytics on external processes – customer, supply chain;
  • Case study.

Building an analytical capability

  • A maturity model for analytical capability;
  • Managing analytical people;
  • An architecture for business intelligence;
  • Future of analytical competition;
  • Case study.


  • Key action points to take from the programme;
  • Further directions;
  • Checklist;
  • Reading list.

Module six – current topics

  • Introduction to corporate risk management;
  • Yield management;
  • Supply chain analysis, outsourcing and the make/buy decision;
  • Joint ventures and strategic partnerships;
  • Acquisition and divestiture decisions.