This is an introductory course in Corporate Finance.
The emphasis is on the financing and investment decisions of the financial manager. Topics include planning and control, working capital management, financial analysis, time value of money, risk and return, valuation of bonds and stocks, capital budgeting, and cost of capital.
By the end of this course students should have an understanding of:
The nature of financial management and the objectives of financial management and mangers.
The basic techniques of financial analysis and planning.
The concept of time value of money and its application in the investment analysis.
The techniques of bonds, stock and capital budgeting
The methods of raising capital for project financing.
Finance is a broad subject, and financial decisions are all around us. Whether you work on Wall Street or in a small company, finance is vital to every business. Therefore, understanding the fundamentals of finance is vital to your business education. This introductory unit addresses fundamental concepts of finance, stocks, and bonds. Also, Unit 1 exposes the importance of understanding ratios for financial statement analysis and analysis of cash flows. The main ratios explained are: solvency (or liquidity ratios), financial ratios, profitability ratios, and market value ratios. In addition, you will learn about financial growth, what financial factors determine growth, the importance of maintaining a sustainable growth rate, and how to use financial statement information to manage growth. Consider this situation: You are the manager of a small retail chain and your boss has given you the task of deciding whether to invest in a second store. You know that adding a second store means greater potential for growth. However, you also know that adding a new store will require spending cash. Facing this tough decision, how could you determine whether the company can "handle" such an investment? The answer might lie in ratio analysis. This section will explain how to use financial ratios to help you make these types of business decisions.
Time Value of Money
Suppose you have the option of receiving $100 dollars today vs. $200 in five years. Which option would you choose? How would you determine which is the better deal? Some of us would rather have less money today vs. wait for more money tomorrow. However, sometimes it pays to wait. This unit introduces the concept of time value of money and explains how to determine the value of money today vs. tomorrow by using finance tools to determine present and future values. Also, this unit exposes the concept of interest rates and how to apply them when multiple periods are considered.
The capital budgeting unit will show you how a financial manager makes capital investment decisions using financial tools. It is especially the case that this unit addresses the concept of capital budgeting and how to evaluate investment projects using the net present value calculations, internal rate of return criteria, profitability index, and the payback period method. In particular, this unit will teach you how to determine which cash flows are relevant (should be considered) when making an investment decision. Say for instance, you have been asked to give your recommendation about buying or not buying a new building. As the financial manager, it is your task to identify cash flows that, in some way or another, affect the value of the investment (in this case the building). Also, this unit explains how to calculate "incremental" cash flows when evaluating a new project, which can also be considered as the difference in future cash flows under two scenarios: when a new investment project is being considered and when it is not.
Risk and Return
This unit provides an explanation of the relationship between risk and return. Every investment decision carries a certain amount of risk. Therefore, the role of the financial manager is to understand how to calculate the "riskiness" of an investment so that he or she can make sound financial and business decisions. For example, you are the financial manager for a large corporation and your boss has asked you to choose between two investment proposals. Investment A is a textile plant in a remote part of a third world country. This plant has the capacity to generate $50 million dollars in yearly profits. Investment B is a textile plant located in the United States, near a small Virginia Town with a rich textile industry tradition. However, investment B's capacity for profits is only $30 million (due to higher start-up and operating costs). You are the financial manager. Which option do you chose? While investment A has the capacity to yield significantly higher profits, there is a great deal of risk that must be taken into consideration. Investment B has a much lower profit capacity, but the risk is also much lower. This relationship between risk and return is explained in this unit. Specifically, you will learn how to compute the level of risk by calculating expected values and the standard deviation. Also, you will learn about handling risk in a portfolio with different investments and how to measure the expected performance of a stock investment when it is being affected by the overall performance of a stock market.
Does it matter whether a company's assets are being financed with 50% from a bank loan and 50% from investors' money? Does that form of capital structure, where 50% of assets comes from debt and 50% from equity, influence how a company succeeds in business? This unit addresses these questions by focusing on the theory of capital structure. Specifically, Unit 5 explains the concept of capital structure and introduces you to the most common formula used when comparing a company's return to the cost of capital: The weighted average cost of capital (WACC).