Short Courses

Financial Acumen for Engineers

Develop your financial acumen with a practical understanding of finance and gain the confidence to apply this knowledge in your workplace.

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Develop your financial acumen with a practical understanding of finance and gain the confidence to apply this knowledge in your workplace.

As businesses become more competitive and complex, and engineers move into project or leadership roles, financial know-how is increasingly more important. Engineers need to understand the ‘big picture’ of financial performance, the key levers for influencing financial results, and the consequences of their decisions. 

This course will help you develop the financial acuity to make informed decisions that align with your organisation’s financial priorities and objectives. It will also help you to communicate more confidently with executives and financial specialists about financial issues. 

After completing the course, you’ll be able to: 

  • Make sense of financial concepts and terminology 
  • Easily interpret key financial statements 
  • Take an executive perspective on profit creation 
  • Explain the difference between profit and cash flow 
  • Recognise the interconnection of financial metrics 
  • Identify the financial variables you personally affect 
  • Use financial ratios to interpret financial performance 
  • Ask more insightful questions about the business 
  • Make better decisions by incorporating financial know-how 
  • Positively influence financial productivity and results. 
EA members

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*1% credit card surcharge applies.

Any questions?

10 hours over four sessions
Location & dates

8 August - 29 August


2 October - 23 October

Additional Information

This online short course will run on the following dates:

14 May – 4 June 2024

  • Session 1: 14 May, 1:30pm – 3:30pm AEST
  • Session 2: 21 May, 1:30pm – 3:30pm AEST
  • Session 3: 28 May, 1:30pm – 3:30pm AEST
  • Session 4: 4 June, 1:30pm – 3:30pm AEST

8 August – 29 August 2024

  • Session 1: 8 August, 9am – 11:30am AEST
  • Session 2: 15 August, 9am – 11:30am AEST
  • Session 3: 22 August, 9am – 11:30am AEST
  • Session 4: 29 August, 9am – 11:30am AEST

2 October – 23 October 2024

  • Session 1: 2 October, 12:00pm – 2:30pm AEDT
  • Session 2: 9 October, 12:00pm – 2:30pm AEDT
  • Session 3: 16 October, 12:00pm – 2:30pm AEDT
  • Session 4: 23 October, 12:00pm – 2:30pm AEDT


Registrations close three business days before the start of each session.


This course consists of seven sessions that are delivered over a period of 22 days.

There are four virtual workshops delivered via Zoom and three sessions that are self-paced. The virtual workshops are delivered one per week followed by a self-paced session, except for the last virtual workshop.

  • Four virtual workshops, 2.5 hours each: 10 hours
  • Three self-paced sessions, 1.0 to 1.5 hours each: 3.0 to 4.5 hours

We can customise this course for groups of six or more.

You choose the time, place, duration and format.

Find out how we can help you and your team by clicking on the button below to request a quote or calling us directly on +61 3 9321 1700.

Learning outcomes

Learning outcomes

Financial acumen

  • Easily make sense of balance sheets and income statements
  • Understand essential financial concepts and terminology
  • Understand the interrelationship of key financial variables and metrics
  • Understand how managers can and do influence financial performance
  • Gain an executive perspective on the financial drivers of a business

Organisational and interpersonal skills

  • Consider your organisation’s financial goals and priorities
  • Gain confidence in communicating with senior managers, executives and finance staff
  • Learn how to ask pertinent questions about financial issues and performance
  • Be able to justify proposals and projects from a financial perspective
  • Improved decision-making through consideration of multiple effects on financial performance
Is this course for you?

Is this course for you?

This course suits engineers and project managers who seek to gain a strong understanding of the fundamentals of finance from an executive perspective. Prior knowledge of accounting and finance is not required.


There are no prerequisites for this course.

Topics we'll cover

Topics we'll cover

1) The Financial Window of Business (Virtual Workshop 1)

This session uses a new business venture to introduce and explain the ‘Window Model’, which is based on three fundamental financial equations. The model links three key financial statements and provides a coherent foundation for the entire course.

The model will be used to explain important concepts and principles (financial jargon), such as funding of assets, how profit is generated and where it is retained, the inflow and outflow of cash, how a business can go bust showing a profit, and two survival criteria that apply to all businesses.

2) The Window Model in More Depth (Self-paced Learning 1)

This session starts with a few practice exercises so you can check and reinforce your knowledge from session one. It then extends your knowledge by going deeper into the Cash Flow Statement, Balance Sheet and Income Statement.

You will learn about types of operational expenses, multiple levels of profit, three basic types of cash flow, the meaning of ‘capital' and ‘funds employed', two key sources of 'free funding' of assets. These concepts will all be used in later sessions.

3) Window Model Thinking (Virtual Workshop 2)

This session starts with a brief review before focusing on the concept of recognition to clarify the essence of accrual accounting and the real meaning of profit. 'Window Model thinking' is introduced and explored in detail via numerous 'micro-scenarios'.

The scenarios include cash and credit sales, customer prepayments, accrued expenses, interest on borrowings, creditor and debtor payments, asset improvements and repairs/maintenance, asset losses and write-offs, depreciation of assets, cash vs non-cash transactions, and month-end adjustments.

4) The Profit Creation Cycle (Self-paced Learning 2)

This session starts by briefly considering two basic strategies for increasing profit. Next you will be introduced to the three fundamental levers of the Profit Creation Cycle. These are expressed in the form of the DuPont equation, which was developed by an engineer.

You will learn about the inherent role of financial leverage, the crucial role of asset utilisation, basic metrics for managing profit creation, the interpretation of return on equity (ROE), and the importance of ‘profit velocity’. The cycle will be applied to two engineering-led companies.

5) Metrics for Managing Performance (Virtual Workshop 3)

This session starts with a brief review, followed by a detailed look at metrics for assessing growth and profit generating efficiency. The latter is explained via the 'ROE Drivers Equation', which reveals the connection to return on funds employed (ROFE).

You will learn about the ‘nesting concept’, three financial 'levers' that operational managers can influence, the drivers of return on assets (ROA), and metrics that target specific financial performance. The ROE Drivers Equation and additional metrics will be applied to two engineering-led organisations.

6) Fast Financial Analysis (Self-paced Learning 3)

This session starts with a few practice exercises so you can check and reinforce your knowledge from session five. Two important areas that are covered are common-size analysis
of financial statements and the cash conversion cycle (CCC).

You will learn about common-size Balance Sheets and Income statements, the 'operating cycle' vs the 'cash conversion cycle', key metrics used to manage operating cash flow, relationship of common-size ratios to the ROE Drivers Equation, and ratios most relevant to service organisations.

7) Financial Acumen and the ROFE Model (Virtual Workshop 4)

This session starts with a brief review. The final component of the course is the ROFE Model, which consolidates prior learning and is a practical cognitive aid for day-to-day application
of the financial concepts and principle covered in previous sessions.

You will learn about the basic financial responsibilities of every manager, financial metrics influenced by using the ROFE model, the need to ‘sweat assets’ and optimise free money, relationship of the ROFE Model to cash flow drivers, and core and swing factors that influence operating cash flow.

How you'll learn

Prior to the course you will receive practical suggestions for getting the most out of the learning experience, including priming your brain to maximise learning.

The course is an engaging learning process that makes use of unique financial models, thought-provoking case studies, team and group discussions, reinforcement quizzes, and reflection questions,

Immediately after the course you will receive guidelines for reinforcing your learning, strengthening retention and maximising the benefits through application in your workplace.

Towards chartered

Towards chartered

Take this course to build skills and knowledge in the following Engineers Australia Chartered status competencies*:

6. Identify, assess and manage risks
9. Performance

Learn more about Chartered Status.

*Completing this course does not automatically guarantee you a competency. However, you will gain the base knowledge you need to develop these specific Chartered competencies.

Geoff Rip

I could not fault this course.  Geoff delivered everything I was looking for and then some. His written material and verbal presentations were engaging and informative. I left with confidence that I can now understand enough of the financial aspects of business to make a difference.  Thank you, Geoff! 


I found the content very well matched to my needs and Geoff's approach to engaging participants ensured maximum engagement and gave me a very good chance of retaining knowledge of the topic.

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