Welcome to FIN361: Financial Analysis and Modeling in Excel
This course focuses on using Microsoft Excel to conduct a wide range of financial analysis and modeling that reinforces and extends students' understanding of fundamental topics in corporate finance that were covered in FIN 331. It concentrates on corporate finance rather than investments. It is a "hands-on" course in which students work directly in Excel to explore most of the powerful features of this and similar spreadsheet software. You will develop a valuable and marketable skill set that will serve you well in any career path that you pursue.
This course builds on the content of FIN 331 (Business Finance I) which is required as a prerequisite. It will also be helpful as a precursor or follow-up course for FIN 338 (Intermediate Financial Management) and will serve you well in any other finance course you take.
Above all, this course is intended to be practical, useful, and interesting. As with any course, what you get out of it will be directly related to what you put into it. If you take it seriously and work hard at it, you will gain some very valuable skills to take away from it.
After completing this course, a student should be able to:
- Understand and be able to use Microsoft Excel with a moderate to high level of proficiency for financial analysis and for other purposes
- Know how to compose complex formulas and use the main financial functions in Excel
- Know how to properly employ layout and visual enhancement tools in Excel to produce spreadsheets that are professional in appearance
- Understand and be able to create a spreadsheet model for the basic financial statements, a cash budget, several time value of money problems, an interactive amortization table, a financial forecasting example, and a complex capital budgeting decision scenario.
This course began as a temporary elective that I wanted to offer in a January intersession (2007) to help pay for some new musical gear that I wanted. We had not yet had an undergraduate finance course that focused on using Excel for financial analysis, but I had included a great deal of that content in the MBA finance course that I had taught for many years. So I put together material similar to what is now in this course, and taught the class in our interactive computer classroom so students could work along with what I was showing them during the class sessions. It worked well, and I got my gear.
I didn't teach it again until the Fall of 2009. We were short a few faculty members in the Finance department, and I volunteered to teach this course again that Fall and Spring, again in the interactive computer classroom. While teaching and refining the material, it dawned on me that this course coud be a great platform for an online course. I used those two semesters to record the tutorials and get the course ready to take online, and then offered it for the first time in the online-only format in Summer, 2010. I have been teaching it every Fall, Spring, and Summer as an online course since then.