Accounting fundamentals - University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia

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Accounting fundamentals

Know your numbers

This course is specifically designed for anyone who wants to understand the basic fundamentals of accounting, analyse and interpret the main accounting reports prepared for decision-makers, prepare cash budgets and build basic business plans for controlling costs and setting prices. This series of three modules is particularly useful for small business owners and managers, and will help them to handle professionally the basic accounting needs of their businesses. No prior knowledge of accounting is necessary and bookkeeping is not covered in the Modules. Please bring a calculator and actual accounts that you use (if you wish).

Gain a robust foundation in accounting through:

  • understanding the basic nature and concepts of accounting and the key accounting principles and rules
  • constructing profit and loss statements, balance sheets, and cash flow statements
  • understanding the differences between cash and accrual accounting
  • understanding the cash flow cycle and ways to manage and improve cash flows
  • understanding the nature of different types of costs incurred in running a business and understand how to manage those costs and how to set prices to achieve targeted outcomes (such as breakeven points).
  • using accepted ratios to assess and improve financial performance
  • understanding financial reports and financial news articles about major corporations
Module 1: The Basics of Accounting
  • Risks and returns, accounting assumptions, concepts, definitions, principles, classifications, internal and external reporting, accounting reports
  • Cash and accrual accounting
  • The accounting process (not bookkeeping)
  • Key financial performance measures to analyse any business
  • Using accepted ratios, interpreting the analysis and tactics to improve performance
  • Analysis of the annual reports of two ASX companies
Module 2: Financial Statement Analysis
  • Key ratios for analysing and interpreting financial statements
  • Analysis of an ASX company
  • How an appraisal of past performance may assist with identifying current issues and improve future performance
Module 3: Cash Flow Management
  • The cash flow cycle; the nature and management of working capital
  • Cash budgeting
  • Assessing cost behaviour and level of activity to “break even” and/or increase profit
  • Setting budgets through a lens on revenues and expenses

Each module includes practical exercises, case studies and interaction with other participants.





Register your place

Choose one or two modules/days: $480 per day (GST exempt). Register for the entire series (three modules/days): $1,200 (GST exempt).

There are currently no dates scheduled for this course. Please register your interest by sending an email to

Robert Coombes

Meet the presenter

Emeritus Professor Robert John Coombes has been an academic working in Australian and US universities from 1971 to 2019. He has taught subjects in financial accounting, management accounting and corporate finance and held leadership roles as Head of School, Dean and Deputy Vice-Chancellor. He led and/or participated in many strategic projects such as amalgamations of organisations, internal organisational restructures, policy development, and enterprise bargaining.

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