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BUS 860 - Foundations of Business Finance C21

Academic Credit Value:
3 units
Course Delivery Mode:
Hours of Study:
39 hours
Course Prerequisite(s):
Course Anti-requisite(s):
HRM 817 / Business Finance and Accounting
Instructor Name:
Thomas Francescutti
Course Dates:
05/03/2021 - 08/01/2021

Required Course Materials:
Custom Courseware: BUS 860 – Foundations of Business Finance Must be purchased directly from Ivey Cases (see instructions below) and NOT from the McMaster Campus Store.
Optional Course Materials:
Course Description:
An understanding of financial literacy is essential to anyone who is tasked with reviewing or analyzing financial data to make business decisions.  This practical course covers the basic concepts and applications in financial accounting, managerial accounting and managerial finance, and it is geared toward people whose primary responsibility is managerial in nature (non-financial). The interpretation of financial information rather than the steps to generate it, will guide the students’ learning.
Learning Outcomes:
Upon completion of this course, students will:
  • Explain the importance of financial management
  • Identify financial management tools and techniques
  • Use financial tools and techniques to evaluate business profitability, sustainability and growth
  • Define terms applicable to financial management
  • Apply financial vocabulary to communications
  • Interpret financial statements
  • Analyze key financial information
  • Create budgets
  • Relate financial information to managerial decision-making
  • Demonstrate ethical and professional conduct applicable to education and business environments
  • Apply effective communication strategies
Course Evaluation


Per Cent


Quiz #1


This Quiz reviews understanding of basic concepts related to financial statements. Multiple-choice

Quiz #2


Chapters 1-5. Multiple-choice

Final Exam


Culminating exam that students will work on for all chapters. Multiple-choice

Discussion Topics


Discussion topics will be posted in this course shell. Participation in these discussions will enhance the learning experience of students and reinforce course concepts.

Course Format:
This course is designed to present the fundamental concepts and theories in business finance and promote the application to the workplace and professional practice. Course activities will include instructor presentations, required readings and experiential learning activities (i.e. case studies, group discussions, projects, etc.).

This course emphasizes student participation through weekly online discussion boards. It is expected that students will read the assigned chapters per the weekly requirements. 
Assignment Submission:
Course assignments are submitted to the appropriate A2L Assignment folder by the specified due date
Late Coursework:
Late assignments will be subject to a 2% per day late penalty (includes weekends and holidays) for up to seven (7) days. After this date, no assignments will be accepted and a grade of zero (0) will be applied. Extensions for course work must be approved by the instructor before the due date (see Academic Regulations below), and will be granted for illness or emergencies only. Students may be asked to submit supporting documentation for an extension request.  

Policy & Procedures:

Academic Regulations (Attendance, Coursework, Tests/Exams):
In accordance to McMaster University’s General Academic Regulations, “it is imperative that students make every effort to meet the originally scheduled course requirements and it is a student’s responsibility to write examinations as scheduled.” Therefore, all students are expected to attend and complete the specific course requirements (i.e. attendance, assignments, and tests/exams) listed in the course outline on or by the date specified. Students who need to arrange for coursework accommodation, as a result of medical, personal or family reasons, must contact the course instructor within 48 hours days of the originally scheduled due date. It is the student’s responsibility to contact the Program Manager to discuss accommodations and procedures related to deferred tests and/or examinations within 48 hours days of the originally scheduled test/exam, as per policy. Failure to contact the course instructor, in the case of missed coursework, or the Program Manager, in the case of a missed test/examination, within the specified 48-hour day window will result in a grade of zero (0) on the coursework/exam and no further consideration will be granted.

*Note: Supporting documentation will be required but will not ensure approval of accommodation(s).
Academic Integrity
You are expected to exhibit honesty and use ethical behaviour in all aspects of the learning process. Academic credentials you earn are rooted in principles of honesty and academic integrity. Academic dishonesty is to knowingly act or fail to act in a way that results or could result in unearned academic credit or advantage. This behaviour can result in serious consequences, e.g. the grade of zero on an assignment, loss of credit with a notation on the transcript (notation reads: “Grade of F assigned for academic dishonesty”), and/or suspension or expulsion from the university.

It is your responsibility to understand what constitutes academic dishonesty. For information on the various types of academic dishonesty please refer to the Academic Integrity Policy, located at

The following illustrates only three forms of academic dishonesty:
  1. Plagiarism, e.g. the submission of work that is not one’s own or for which other credit has been obtained.
  2. Improper collaboration in-group work.
  3. Copying or using unauthorized aids in tests and examinations.
Academic Accommodations:


Students with disabilities who require academic accommodation must contact Student Accessibility Services (SAS) at 905-525-9140 ext. 28652 or  to make arrangements with a Program Coordinator. For further information, consult McMaster University’s Academic Accommodation of Students with Disabilities policy.

Academic Accommodation for Religious, Indigenous or Spiritual Observances (RISO)

Students requiring academic accommodation based on religious, indigenous or spiritual observances should follow the procedures set out in the RISO policy. Students will need to contact their instructors as soon as possible to make alternative arrangements for classes, assignments, and other coursework. It is the student’s responsibility to contact McMaster Continuing Education to discuss accommodations related to examinations. (if applicable)

On-line Elements:

As a McMaster student, you have the right to experience, and the responsibility to demonstrate, respectful and dignified interactions within all of our living, learning and working communities. These expectations are described in the Code of Student Rights & Responsibilities (the “Code”). All students share the responsibility of maintaining a positive environment for the academic and personal growth of all McMaster community members, whether in-person or online.

It is essential that students be mindful of their interactions online, as the Code remains in effect in virtual learning environments. The Code applies to any interactions that adversely affect, disrupt, or interfere with reasonable participation in University activities. Student disruptions or behaviours that interfere with university functions on online platforms (e.g. use of Avenue 2 Learn, WebEx or Zoom for delivery), will be taken very seriously and will be investigated. Outcomes may include restriction or removal of the involved students’ access to these platforms.

Copyright and Recording:

Students are advised that lectures, demonstrations, performances, and any other course material provided by an instructor include copyright protected works. The Copyright Act and copyright law protect every original literary, dramatic, musical and artistic work, including lectures by University instructors.

The recording of lectures, tutorials, or other methods of instruction may occur during a course. Recording may be done by either the instructor for the purpose of authorized distribution, or by a student for the purpose of personal study. Students who wish to record sessions need to acquire permission from the instructor. Students should be aware that their voice and/or image may be recorded by others during the class. Please speak with the instructor if this is a concern for you.

Course Changes:

The instructor reserves the right to modify elements of the course and will notify students accordingly.

Extreme Circumstances:

The University reserves the right to change the dates and deadlines for any or all courses in extreme circumstances (e.g., severe weather, labour disruptions, etc.). Changes will be communicated through regular McMaster communication channels, such as McMaster Daily News, A2L and/or McMaster email.

Course Withdrawal Policy:

Policies related to dropping a course and course withdrawals are posted to the Centre for Continuing Education’s program webpage, FAQs & Policies (

Storm Closure Policy:

In the event of inclement weather, the Centre for Continuing Education will abide by the University’s Storm Closure Policy:, and will only close if the university is closed. All in-class courses, exams, and room bookings by internal and external clients will be cancelled if the Centre for Continuing Education is closed. On-line courses will take place as scheduled.

Grading Scale:
Grade Equivalent
Grade Point
Equivalent Percentages
A+ 12 90-100
A 11 85-89
A- 10 80-84
B+ 9 77-79
B 8 73-76
B- 7 70-72
C+ 6 67-69
C 5 63-66
C- 4 60-62
D+ 3 57-59
D 2 53-56
D- 1 50-52
F 0 0-49
Course Schedule:



Learning Goals






Overview of Financial Management

- Key drivers of the financial performance of an organization;

- Organizational structure of a typical finance function in an organization;

- Key financial metrics (liquidity, efficiency, etc.) that contribute to business decision-makers looking to incorporate the financial information into decision-making;

- Corporate governance and financial reporting standards (domestic/global accounting standards).


Bergeron, Chapter 1




Accounting and Financial Statements

- Accounting frameworks (the accounting cycle, trial balances, key accounting concepts);

- Examination of accounting items from the balance sheet, income statement and cash flow statement;

- Leveraging accounting/financial data to make informative business decisions;

- General analysis of financial statements and the differing information that the three financial statements offer.


Bergeron, Chapter 2





Statement of Cash Flows

- A review of the three components that contribute to a cash flow statement (operations, investing and financing);

- How the balance sheet and income statement contribute to the cash flow statements;

- Examination of non-cash items that contribute to the cash flow statement;



Chapter 3





Financial Statement Analysis

- Financial statement analysis to assess the financial performance and liquidity of a business;

- Vertical and horizontal analysis to analyze the financial statements of a company between accounting periods (quarter-over-quarter, year-over-year, etc.) and proportionally over accounting items (revenues, etc.);

- Financial analysis and benchmarking;

- Dupont analysis and Return on Equity (ROE).


Online Quiz #1:

Chapters 1-2


Bergeron, Chapter 4





- Review Accounting Frameworks, Financial Statement Analysis and ways to optimize the use of financial information for decision making and planning purposes. A fictitious or real company will be used as a case study for this topic.

- Profitability analysis – an examination of the contributors to profitability (revenues – expenses = income before taxes);

- Breakeven analysis – the significance of this measure and contributors to mitigate business risk with determining a breakeven point to offset fixed expenses;

- Examination of different costs (fixed versus discretionary).



Bergeron, Chapter 5




Working Capital Management

- Continuation of Accounting Frameworks and overview of working capital management;

- Importance of managing current assets and liabilities efficiently to meet the daily operations of a company.




Bergeron, Chapter 6




Planning, Budgeting and Controlling

- Financial success via effective budgeting and control processes to alleviate “surprises”;

- The incorporation of SWOT-analysis, assumptions and current financial data to derive financial projections;

- Creating financial projections which are reflective of business plans;

- Financial projections of income statement, balance sheet and cash flow statement items;

- Types of controls and the Control System.

Online Quiz #2: Chapters 1-5



Chapter 7


Planning, Budgeting and Controlling

- Continued from above.

- Utilizing financial indicators to sensitize projections to reflect potentially unexpected variables which may impact financial projections;

- Guidelines and suggested good practices for budgeting.




Chapter 7


Cost of Capital

- Different sources of financing and specific criteria of each (advantages/disadvantages);

- Matching principle in terms of financing;

- Debt and equity financing (advantages/disadvantages, suitability of options for different size enterprises);

- Short- and long-term financing as well as contingent financing;

- To lease or to buy.



Bergeron, Chapter 9


Cost of Capital, Capital Structure and Financial Markets

- Overview of capital structure of a company;

- Cost of capital relative to business risks, debt, equity or alternative financing sources;

- Leverage analysis utilizing ratios (operational, financial and combined);

- Private and public markets in terms of raising capital (primary, secondary, equity markets).


Bergeron, Chapter 9


Time Value-of Money Concepts

- Time value of money and its significance relative to present and future values as well as discount rates;

- Relevance of time value of money relative to accounting/finance;

- Characteristics of present value, future value, internal rate of return and net present value;

- Simple and compounded values.



Chapter 10



Course Review

- A case study will be done on a publicly-traded company to apply the topics covered from week 1-11 including the below new topics.

- Significance of capital budgeting and the process involved;

- Different elements of capital budgeting (cash outflows/inflows, economic life of projects, sunk/opportunity costs);

- Limitations of the capital budgeting process;

- Risk modeling/sensitivity analysis to mitigate financial risks.

- Evaluating the valuation of a business with discount rates, book/market value comparisons, evaluating enterprise value incorporating qualitative factors (soundness of business, etc.);

- Return on investment analysis



Course Review of Material Covered



Final Exam

Final Exam…Online

All Chapters Covered