Are you looking to gain a better understanding of corporate finance?
Corporate finance is an essential part of any business, and it’s important for anyone who wants to succeed. Whether you’re just starting or have been working in the industry for years, having a good grasp on corporate finance fundamentals can help you make smart decisions that will benefit your company.
Not only will we walk you through the fundamentals, but we have gathered the best online courses to learn corporate finance. You can learn everything from financial statement analysis to capital budgeting and more to become an expert in no time. These courses are taught by experienced professionals who know what they’re talking about and will give you real-world examples to help bring the material alive.
Check out the content below and sign up now for one of our best online courses to start learning today!
What Is Corporate Finance?
Corporate finance is a specific area of finance that deals with the financial decisions corporations make and the tools and analyses utilized to make these decisions. The primary goal is to maximize shareholder value.
This discipline covers a wide range of activities, including:
- Investment Decisions: These include identifying which projects a company should invest in (capital budgeting), whether it should pay for the investment with equity, debt, or a combination of both (capital structuring), and whether or not profits should be returned to shareholders in the form of dividends.
- Working Capital Management: This involves managing the company’s current assets (like cash, inventories, and receivables) and liabilities (like payables and other short-term debts) to ensure it has enough to meet its short-term obligations and operating expenses.
- Financial Risk Management: This includes identifying, analyzing, and taking steps to minimize or eliminate the possible financial risks a corporation might face, such as fluctuations in exchange rates or interest rates.
This ensures a company has the funds necessary to continue its operations, minimize costs, and maximize value.
Corporate Finance Fundamentals
Corporate finance revolves around the financial decisions businesses make and the strategies used to make these decisions. It deals with investment decisions, working capital management, and financial risk management.
Capital budgeting is deciding the capital structure, and which long-term investments or projects a company should undertake to grow or maintain its business. This requires estimating the expected cash flows from the project, determining WACC, and evaluating the profitability of the project. For instance, if a manufacturing company decides whether to buy a new machine, they’d use these techniques to determine if the expected profits from increased production outweigh the cost of the new machine.
Cost of Capital
The cost of capital is the return a company needs to provide to its investors (both equity and debt holders) for investing in their company. It’s crucial for deciding whether to launch a new product or expand to a new location. A lower cost generally means the project is less risky and more likely to provide a good return on investment.
Financial Risk and Management
Risk management involves identifying and mitigating potential financial risks. This could be anything from interest rate fluctuations to failing to meet sales projections. Effective risk management can involve diversification, hedging, and other strategies. For example, a company might enter different markets to spread risk.
Cash Flow Management
Cash flow management is about managing the inflow and outflow of cash within the business. It ensures the company has enough cash to cover expenses and invest in growth opportunities. Finance teams will work with capital markets to generate cash when needed. Tools like cash flow forecasting can help businesses with money management by predicting future cash flows.
Understanding Financial Statements
Financial statements, including the balance sheet, income statement, and cash flow statement, provide an overview of a company’s financial health. These statements are produced by the financial accounting team but used heavily by finance.
- Balance Sheet: Shows a company’s assets, liabilities, and shareholders’ equity at a specific point in time.
- Income Statement: Provides information about a company’s revenues and expenses, resulting in net income or loss over a period.
- Cash Flow Statement: This breaks down a company’s cash inflows and outflows into operating, investing, and financing activities.
Financial Planning & Analysis (FP&A)
FP&A teams help businesses allocate their resources efficiently and cope with financial challenges. Risk management is crucial for identifying potential threats and taking steps to mitigate them. Both are essential for the sustainability and success of a business.
Implementing Financial Systems and Tools
Budgeting software can help businesses plan their finances more effectively by tracking income and expenses and providing forecasts. Tools like Excel or specialized financial modeling software can help analyze financial data and make projections.
Remember, understanding the fundamentals of corporate finance is essential for making informed business decisions that can drive your company’s growth and success.
The 3 Best Corporate Finance Courses
Here is our list of the best corporate finance courses we could find to help you climb up the corporate ladder:
1) Corporate Finance Institute – Corporate Finance Fundamentals
Best All-Around Corporate Finance Training
The Corporate Finance Fundamentals course by the Corporate Finance Institute (CFI) is designed to provide learners with a solid foundation in the key concepts of finance. The course is part of the Financial Modeling & Valuation Analyst (FMVA)® certification program.
The curriculum covers various key topics, including financial analysis, company valuation, financial modeling, merger models, sensitivity analysis, and accounting fundamentals. This broad range of topics ensures a comprehensive understanding of how a corporation’s finance team works.
Format and Length:
The course is delivered online, allowing for flexibility and convenience. The length can vary depending on the learner’s pace, but typically, it might require several weeks to months to complete if studied part-time.
The course is structured to cater to a wide range of skill levels. Whether you’re a beginner just starting in finance or a seasoned professional looking to refresh your knowledge, the course has content appropriate for you.
This course is ideal for financial analysts, aspiring investment bankers, accountants, business owners, and finance students.
Learning Outcomes and Certifications:
Upon completion, learners should have a firm grasp of the fundamentals. They’ll be equipped with practical skills to analyze financial data, make informed financial decisions, and understand the financial implications of business strategies. Successful completion contributes to earning the FMVA® certification, recognized by businesses in various industries.
Self-study is $41.42 per month with a 30% discount for paying annually. Full immersion is $70.58 with the same 30% annual discount.
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2) Coursera – Introduction To Corporate Finance
Best To Learn Multiple Finance Skills
The Introduction to Corporate Finance course on Coursera, offered by the University of Pennsylvania, briefly introduces the fundamentals of finance. It emphasizes applying these principles to real-world situations spanning personal finance, corporate decision-making, and financial intermediation.
The course covers Time Value of Money (TVM), risk-return tradeoff, WACC, interest rates, retirement savings, mortgage financing, auto leasing, capital markets, asset valuation, discounted cash flow (DCF) analysis, net present value, internal rate of return, and hurdle rate for firms.
Format and Length:
This course is entirely online, offering flexibility for learners. It consists of video lectures, readings, quizzes, and peer-reviewed assignments. The course lasts approximately four weeks, assuming a commitment of about 6-8 hours per week.
Some basic economics and mathematics understanding could be beneficial, as well as an understanding of Microsoft excel. However, the course does start from the basics, making it accessible for beginners.
This course is ideal for students considering careers in investment banking, finance, or general management, as well as professionals seeking to enhance their knowledge.
Learning Outcomes and Certifications:
Upon completing this course, learners should have a solid understanding of the fundamental concepts of corporate finance and be able to apply them in various financial scenarios. Learners who complete the course can earn a shareable certificate.
CourseraPLUS is $59/month, including unlimited access to 7,000+ world-class courses, hands-on projects, and job-ready certificate programs—all included in your subscription. This lets you continue your learning journey after this course.
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3) edX – Introduction To Corporate Finance
Best Free Option
The Introduction to Corporate Finance course on edX is designed to provide learners with key financial concepts for evaluating and valuing investment opportunities. The course is offered in conjunction with Columbia University and taught by one of their professors. It includes understanding how to value stocks and bonds and provides a general understanding of financial valuation.
The course covers the time value of money, risk and return, capital budgets, corporate valuation, and equity financing. These topics are crucial in understanding and making financial decisions in a corporate environment.
Format and Length:
This course is delivered online and is self-paced, allowing learners to study at their own convenience. The estimated time to complete the course is around four weeks, assuming a commitment of 3-4 hours per week.
This is an introductory course, so it’s suitable for beginners with little to no prior knowledge in finance. However, a basic understanding of algebra might be helpful.
The course is ideal for people interested in finance, business owners looking to understand their company’s finances better, and anyone considering pursuing a career in finance.
Learning Outcomes and Certifications:
Upon completing the course, learners should have a solid foundation of finance principles. They’ll understand how to evaluate and value investment opportunities, essential in making informed financial decisions. Although the course can be audited for free, a verified certificate is available for a fee.
edX allows you to audit the course for free, although access to course materials will be limited, and you can’t be graded. You can purchase the course for $225 to receive graded assignments and a certificate of completion.
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Corporate finance is the financial decision-making process businesses use to invest, manage cash flow, and manage financial risks. Companies must thoroughly understand fundamentals such as capital budgeting, risk management, financial modeling, and valuation to maximize shareholder value. There are many online courses available to help you gain an understanding of corporate finance principles.
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