Accounting is the language of business. Being conversant in this language means you have a better ability to proactively plan where your business is going and to work effectively with your accountant, bookkeeper, lenders, and other members of your entrepreneurial advisory team. The Small Business Development Center at UW-Madison offers two primary open-enrollment opportunities to learn more about business finances and concepts.
We recommend that, before taking either financial course, you begin to plan out some basics of your business.
- Start your exploration process with First Steps to Starting a Business. This free, interactive, online class will help you explore your business idea and assess your entrepreneurial readiness as well as identify your own strengths and weaknesses as a business owner. Discover what information you need and where to find it. The class includes downloadable worksheets, hands-on exercises, local entrepreneur stories, and additional resources to determine your next steps.
- Get a broader business overview with Biz Smart Sprint OR dive more deeply into your business planning process with the Entrepreneurial Training Program (ETP). Both classes – which cover business basics at two different levels of depth – with give you an understanding of business basics and help you make foundational decisions for the direction of your business.
Compare: Financial Management – Sprint! vs. Building Financial Confidence in Your Business
|Course Element||Financial Management – Sprint!||Financial Management: Building Financial Confidence in your Business|
|Timing||Offered in spring or early summer||Offered in the fall|
|Time commitment||7.5 hours of instructional time (live virtual). The course content is recorded, so you’ll have the opportunity to review a session.||14 hours of instructional time (in person). The course content is not recorded.|
|This course is best suited for those who…||…are building their first financial models for their business
…may be uncomfortable with “the numbers side” of the business and are looking to increase familiarity
…are trying to build their financial vocabulary
…are looking for an introduction to key financial tools and concepts, or those who are looking to revisit these topics
…have recently taken on financial management support roles in their business, or who need a general understanding of financial management to be successful in their roles
… has a brand-new or not particularly complex business (consultants, solopreneurs, service-based businesses that do not require extensive supplies or licensure)
|… have basic familiarity with business financials and terminology
… want to learn how to read and understand financial information
… want to take their knowledge to the next level in order to analyze financial information to improve business management decisions
… want to improve and manage profitability using budgets and better manage working capital
… want to improve and manage cash flows using budgets.
… has some complexity in the business and its operations (employees, inventory, depreciating assets)
|Tone and layout of the course||Learning-focused course primarily focused on accounting and financial management terminology, exploration of “big 3” financial statements, and covering more of the “what” of financial management||More detailed course providing more in-depth exploration of topics, especially the “so what” and “what now?” of financial management|
Both courses generally cover the following topics. The difference is the level of depth between them:
- Financial statements (balance sheet, income statement, and cash flow statement) and why they are important
- Accounting Systems and Processes (how to set up simple financial systems)
- Using Financial Information to Make Operational Decisions (Sprint covers this topic at a broad, conceptual level, whereas our full financial management series provides more specific examples of how to analyze financial statements to make business decisions)
- Pricing, Profit Planning, and Budgeting
- Sprint iLearning objectives for this session:
- Understand importance of business planning
- Use financial tools to manage your resources
- Understand basics of pricing a product or service using breakeven analysis
- Session 5 – Cash Flow Planning and Management
- Learning objectives for this session:
- Understanding importance of cash.
- Understand the basics of cash flow planning and management process.