Module Two: Bean Counting - Student Elements

Interpreting Financial Statements

See NOTE at foot of text below.

Isn’t it funny how professionals tend to hide behind their profession!? Accountants are as guilty as any. We tend to speak as if you know what the financial statements mean, while knowing you probably don’t. What use is that!

So, let’s get you to the point where you can be the one asking your accountant tricky questions! Where you know how the numbers came together (from our Allocating Beans course) and what the numbers mean – so when the Beans Talk, you listen (and understand).

This course covers the make-up of the financial statements themselves – the different types of profit mentioned in the Profit & Loss (Statement of Financial Performance), how overheads can get under your feet, what depreciation is, why cash doesn’t necessarily equal profit, and what a good Balance Sheet (a Statement of Financial Position) should look like.

Then we move on to the time-proven ratios used by banks and others to judge how the business is performing and how secure its position is. These are part of the key performance ratios (KPIs) section of the course.

As you can see, there are plenty of options here for better understanding enabling you to make better decisions, and better decisions mean more profit … A good return on your investment (ROI) in the course, then!

Who Is The Target Audience?

We want everybody to do it! Seriously! The course is designed for:

  • Students (high school and above, if not earlier)
  • People in the workforce, and
  • People wanting to get (back) into the workforce.

Why This Module?

The majority of people end up working (for money) within an organisation for which accounts are prepared. For most people this employer is a business, maybe even one they own themselves! Yet, in spite of this, schools do not teach an understanding of Financial Statements. So, most people end up not knowing what they mean, how they go together, or how they can be used to understand and improve the performance and position of the organisation.

This module, which follows on from Module 1, is a start in changing this. It’s a start in making people more valuable to the organisation they work for, more able to manage that organisation, and more able to help strengthen it.

How Does It Work

How Long Will This Take?

It depends how hard out you want to go. But we envisage you should be able to get through the module in around ten hours total.

How is the Course Structured?

The module includes a number of KnowHow papers, with accompanying Quizzes. You then move on to Examples, followed by parallel Exercises. Finally, there is a multi-part Test, just to make sure you’ve grasped it all. We cover accounting jargon, trial balance, depreciation schedule, balance sheet, income statement, cash flow statement, key performance indicators, budgets and more.

What Do I Get?

You get a login to enable you to access:

  • The PDFs of:
    • The KnowHow papers
    • The Examples
    • The Exercises
    • The Exercise Answers
    • The Tests
    • The Test Answers
  • The Quizzes (and their answers), which are hosted online.

PLEASE NOTE this is the Student Elements version of this course. As such the Answers are not included.


Crystal Paine - Money Saving Mom

"I never really understood the why behind many of my tasks. While working through this program in preparation for my daughter, I was able to gain a better understanding of the why behind how I do things, such as; balance sheets, fixed assets and depreciation. With this new understanding, I am able to do my job much more efficiently. This in turn makes me a more valuable asset to my company."

Your Instructor

Steve Watkins-Barlow
Steve Watkins-Barlow

I have worked in a variety of industries – from retail to printing, an international airline to a government health enterprise – and in organisations of various sizes – from global engineering giant to boutique accounting firm.

My roles have encompassed financial and management accounting, company and tax accounting, finance and operations management. My focus has always been on improvement – processes, my role, results – whatever I could do to contribute to bettering the organisation.

I’ve worked closely with Medical Professionals from various specialities, Engineers, Logistics professionals, Printers, Manufacturing specialists, Retail gurus, and clients from all over the spectrum – and, yes, I’ve tried to make things better for all of them.

Frequently Asked Questions

When does the course start and finish?
The course starts now and never ends! It is a completely self-paced online course - you decide when you start and when you finish.
How long do I have access to the course?
How does lifetime access sound? After enrolling, you have unlimited access to this course for as long as you like - across any and all devices you own.
How do online courses work?
With BeansTalk KnowHow online courses, you will learn the exact skills you need to gain financial proficiency and have the flexibility to plan study around your own schedule. The online modules are just as effective as in-person classrooms and provide all the tools you need to succeed.

Get started now!