Online: Understanding Company Financial Statements

A 15-hour interactive online course with a challenging written assignment giving you the skills and confidence to find stories in financial statements. Aimed primarily at journalists and activist campaigners and researchers, the course is officially certified for Continuing Professional Development.

Current facilitated course

Started October 12 2022. Applications closed on September 26 but you can see what is involved in that process here.

What is this course?

Launched in January 2022, this is a new interactive online course for national and international journalists and activists who want to find stories and follow the money by using companies’ financial statements.

The course is written for journalists by Finance Uncovered's own journalists – and demystifies the technical language used by companies, giving you the confidence to tackle material that many find intimidating.

This is not 'Powerpoint slides by webinar'. Instead, the course is of a high technical production standard. It is structured over four modules that contain animated graphics and video content, partly narrated by professional actors. You will also encounter regular interactive knowledge checks and quizzes along the way, which help learners understand accounting concepts and how to spot red flags and stories.

Certified and accredited by the CPD (Continuing Professional Development), this course gives a journalistic guide to the Income Statement, the Balance Sheet, the Cash flow statement and the narrative reports by company directors and external auditors. Experience suggests the course takes about 15 hours to complete.

Who it is aimed at

We believe that all news reporters, citizen journalists and activist researchers would better able to investigate leads if they had the confidence to read company financial statements and use them as an extra source of information.

The course will not make you an accountant! But it does give you an insight into their world.

If you are comfortable using financial statements, then it's probably not for you.

For everyone else, it's likely you will learn something new – and add to your skillset and even give you an edge over your peers.

The course is in English, but the beauty (!) of accounting concepts and financial statements is that they follow similar formats throughout the world.

What recent trainees told us:

In ten years, we have trained over 1,250 journalists and activists from over 90 countries. Participants work for the BBC, Reuters, leading investigative centres and over 100 from the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists and the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project.

Campaigning organisations whose activists have taken our training include Transparency International, Global Witness and Oxfam.

Our new e-learning course has received superb feedback from participants. These are some of the comments left by the brilliant reporting team at Lighthouse Reports:

“I wanted a crash course that allowed me to have meaningful conversations with experts. This is exactly what it allowed me to do.”
I went into the course really insecure about my skills in anything financial/numerical, but both Nick and Ted were incredibly helpful and understanding from day one - going through any questions, providing great case studies that were really engaging. Also, it gave me confidence to go through the course without doubting myself and I was very happy with the outcome of the assignment!”
“It was a great introduction for a newbie like me and overall it made working with numbers way more interesting than I had ever thought. I moved from a journalist who hated accounting jargon, to one who could challenge myself to understand it. And that is all thanks to your course material and the guidance from course instructors.”

How it's structured

The course takes about 15 hours to complete via four structured modules. You will be given time-limited logins to our learning platform.

Module 1: Basic Accounting and Business concepts

Module 2: Unpacking the Profit & Loss/Income Statement, the Balance Sheet and the Cash flow statement

Module 3: The Notes and the Audit Report

Module 4: Quiz and Assignment which we mark and send back to participants

How and when is it available?

There are two ways in which you can take the course:

  1. Entirely at your own pace and start at any time that suits you. You receive a username and password for up to 12 weeks and if you submit your assignment, we will give you prompt feedback. Price: £200.
  2. As part of a facilitated group of other individual learners, up to a maximum of 15 people and with full access to Finance Uncovered experts. These group/cohort courses will run at regular intervals when we are satisfied we have the right blend of people willing to commit to the training timetable. You will be asked to take the four modules and written assignment at a similar pace over six weeks, during which we will host four live group seminars over Zoom. These hour long calls, led mainly by Nick Mathiason and Ted Jeory, will include discussions and extra tests and knowledge checks to augment your learning. You will also have a chance to bring your own stories and case studies to the table as live examples. Price: £400

As well as applications from individuals, we also welcome enquiries from groups of journalists and activists working in the same organisation.

The course is not free, but there may be occasions when we offer bursary places.

We encourage you to contact us for upcoming dates and other information using the 'Enquire now' button above.

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