• Discover how balance sheets, income statements, and cash flow statements are developed and how each interacts
  • Evaluate the financial health of a business using financial statements
  • Understand GAAP and IFRS standards
  • Prepare and evaluate financial forecasts to make strategic decisions
  • Value a venture, project, or investment opportunity and perform a sensitivity analysis

About the Professor

V.G. Narayanan is the Thomas D. Casserly, Jr. Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School and chair of the MBA program’s second-year elective curriculum. He has served as the course head for the first-year required accounting course for MBA students, Financial Reporting and Control, and chairs several executive education programs. His research in management accounting focuses on understanding how firms can use incentives and feedback to improve performance.


College Students and Recent Graduates

Learn the language of business through accounting as you gain the skills and knowledge to analyze financial statements.

Those Considering an MBA

Prepare for the MBA classroom with the program Harvard Business School offers to incoming students.

Mid-Career Professionals

Gain confidence in your ability to understand financial statements and communicate financial results.


Financial Accounting consists of approximately 60 hours of material delivered over an eight-week period. You can complete the coursework on your own time while meeting regular deadlines.

January 2022
Length:9 Weeks
Program Dates: 01-12-2021 - 05-02-2021
Cost: $500
Application Deadline: Jan 6
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January 2022
Length:6 Weeks
Program Dates: 01-12-2021 - 05-02-2021
Cost: $900
Application Deadline: January 12
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March 2022
Length:9 Weeks
Program Dates: 01-12-2021 - 05-02-2021
Cost: $2500
Application Deadline: November 09
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This course is also part of our three-course Credential of Readiness (CORe) program—consisting of Business Analytics, Economics for Managers, and Financial Accounting—available for $2,250.

Interested in mastering business essentials in CORe?

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Note: Participants that enroll in the Financial Accounting course are not eligible to enroll in the CORe program. And if enrolling in the CORe program, participants are not eligible to enroll separately in the Financial Accounting course.


Business Analytics introduces quantitative methods used to analyze data and make better management decisions. This course is not based on rote memorization of equations or facts, but focuses on honing your understanding of key concepts, your managerial judgment, and your ability to apply course concepts to real business problems.

Learning requirements: In order to earn a Certificate of Completion, participants must thoughtfully complete all 5 modules, including satisfactory completion of associated quizzes, by stated deadlines.



  • World-class faculty
  • Edge-of-your-seat online learning
  • Global peer collaboration and networking
  • Real-world, case-based learning

Harvard Business School Online offers a unique and highly engaging way to learn vital business concepts. Immerse yourself in real challenges faced by business leaders across a variety of industries. Financial Accounting puts you in the shoes of an equity research analyst, yoga studio owner, and leader of one of the largest nonprofits in the United States. You’ll wrestle with the same issues they faced, while problem-solving and interacting with fellow learners from around the world.

Stories From Our Learners

“A few weeks into the course, accounting terminology came alive as I realized why accounting is the language of business. I can now talk confidently with clients and understand the business aspect of their problems.”

Gaurang Manjrekar, Technology Consultant

“Daily, I use the accounting principles succinctly enumerated by Professor Narayanan. I especially use what I learned in the volunteer work that I do as a board member for two nonprofit organizations.”

Richard Pitts, Chief Medical Officer

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Sign up to receive additional information about this course. Find out what other learners are doing with the skills they gained, and evaluate if this course is the right fit for you.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Do I have to log in at a set time? How does the grading process work? At this point, you probably have a few questions, and we’ve got answers.

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Enrollment Eligibility

Our easy online application is free, and no special documentation is required. All applicants must be at least 18 years of age, proficient in English, and committed to learning and engaging with fellow participants throughout the course. We confirm enrollment eligibility within one week of your application.

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Earn Your Certificate

Enroll today in Harvard Business School Online's Financial Accounting course.

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