Skip to Main Content

Finance for Non-Financial Professionals

Practical skills with bottom line results.

An understanding of basic principles of finance and accounting is instrumental to making sound business decisions and contributing at any level of your organization.

Finance for Non-Financial Professionals will give you the grounding you need to manage cash flows, make good financial decisions and discuss statements with your finance and accounting colleagues.

Through case studies and exercises, you become the decision maker, enhancing your financial acumen and ability to connect financial implications to strategy. As you build your understanding of accounting and finance, you will have the opportunity to work with Ivey faculty to better understand and interpret your own organization’s statements, and determine the key questions you should be asking when you return to the office.

Upcoming Sessions

Join us for one of our upcoming sessions.

Sending multiple employees? This program is offered in a customized format for groups of 15+. Contact us for details.

Who should attend?

Individuals looking to further augment their decision making with sound financial and accounting analysis.

What You Learn

The program is designed specifically for those with little to no financial background. It starts with the basics and builds a foundation of knowledge. You won’t feel that you’re “behind” or that others are speaking a different language, and you will feel comfortable asking questions and participating in class discussions.

The program is practical: as you explore each business case, you’ll have an opportunity to compare them to your own firm’s financial issues, and will be able to return to your role with practical solutions.

Understand the basics of financial statements

  • Become proficient in interpreting the income statements, balance sheets and cash flow statements of your own firm
  • Understand the financial performance of key customers and competitors
  • Discover the limitations of financial statements and the impact of management’s choice throughout the statements
  • Gain insight into the relevance and limitations of key financial statements in annual reports
  • Develop a familiarity with financial ratios and key performance measures

Better manage day-to-day cash flows and working capital

  • Identify and use relevant costing to make sound decisions
  • Understand cost measurement and cost behaviour
  • Forecast financial needs and manage working capital
  • Make effective capital budgeting decisions by incorporating relevant cash flows, cost of capital, sensitivity analysis and qualitative factors

Learn how to use financial information to make good decisions

  • Identify key economic and industry factors, risks and opportunities, and financial implications
  • Understand the pitfalls of using full cost information for decision-making purposes
  • Understand time value of money concepts
  • Understand hurdle rates and return-on-investment requirements

Improve your ability to communicate decisions by fully incorporating the financial concepts into your day-to-day decisions

  • Become more effective at interacting with the accounting and financial groups using their capacities to your benefit

How You Learn

This is Not about Text Books and Lectures

If you are having a hard time imagining yourself in a classroom again, keep in mind that Finance for Non-Financial Professionals is designed with busy leaders in mind. It is an engaging, interactive experience that draws on the vast perspectives that you and your classmates will bring to the program. Our real-world Case-Method of Learning is not about textbooks and lectures – it’s about learning by doing. Using case studies you’ll put yourself in the role of decision-maker and take on real challenges faced by real companies to gain practical hands-on experience. You’ll come away with new knowledge and ideas that are directly applicable to your business and that will have immediate impact.

Create Immediate Impact

Throughout the program, you will track your learning outcomes and pinpoint specific initiatives to implement. You leave knowing exactly how you will apply your new knowledge and skills, and a self-developed implementation plan to start your impact once back in the office.

Participant Testimonials


“No matter when you take this class during your career, it is a great investment.”

—Susan Wilson, Director, Human Resources, J.D. Irving Limited

“For those who have an interest in Finance and Accounting but no background in the subjects, I can’t think of a better way to introduce the topics at a high but thoroughly understandable level. The program left one looking forward to further courses.”

—Jason Green, Director, Industrial Relations, J.D. Irving Limited

“It has considerably broadened my knowledge in accounting and finance in a way that I could not have done on my own or over such a short period of time.”

—Nicole Blanchette, Executive Director, La Ribambelle


M.A. (Mary) Gillett

Faculty Director
M.A. (Mary) Gillett

Mary Gillett is a Lecturer in the Managerial Accounting and Control group at the Ivey Business School and a past Faculty Director of the HBA Program. She has a BA in Business Administration from Western University. She earned her CPA designation with Clarkson Gordon (now Ernst & Young). In 2011, Mary was elected a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Professional Accountants of Ontario in recognition of her career achievements as well as service to the community and the profession.

Mary has served on the Boards of several small to medium sized non-profit organizations and has been involved in two significant amalgamations in this sector.

Read more

D.A. (Rick) Robertson

D.A. (Rick) Robertson

Professor Emeritus

Where You Learn

Ivey Spencer Leadership Centre

London, Ontario, Canada

Housed in a Georgian manor situated on 30 beautifully landscaped acres of parkland, Ivey’s residential executive centre is minutes from Western University and the Ivey Business School.