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Financial Modeling for Entrepreneurs 301: How to Understand and Analyze Financial Statements

Understanding the financials is crucial to your business or technology's success. This focused course will help you nail it.

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Why Should Entrepreneurs Learn About Financial Statements?

Watch this short video to find out (05:10)


About this course

You need to speak the investors' language and you need to understand your business' financials, but you should not have to become a chartered accountant or financial analyst to do so.

Don't get tripped up by investor questions during your pitch or run out of cash because you can't interpret your financials.

This course teaches you to understand, interpret and analyze the 3 main financial statements (income statement, balance sheet and cash flow statement) with confidence.


Financial Ratios Analysis Spreadsheet

Included in the course is a Financial Ratios Analysis Spreadsheet that will automatically calculate all the relevant financial ratios for your own or someone else's business. All you need to do is enter the relevant numbers from the financial statements and the spreadsheet does the rest!

Here is a screenshot of the results:

What will I gain? What will I be able to do?

  • Understand and use the core concepts and terms relevant to financial statements with confidence
  • Understand and interpret the 3 main financial statements (income statement, balance sheet and cash flow statement)
  • Understand and do unit economics calculations
  • Analyze financial statements using vertical, horizontal and ratio analysis and understand the implications

Your Instructor


Dr. Sean Moolman
Dr. Sean Moolman

Dr. Sean Moolman has a broad range of experience stretching across chemical plant design and cost engineering, R&D (research and development), management of innovation, technology transfer, intellectual property management and entrepreneurship. He is an inventor on several international patent families.

Sean is a co-founder of PowerOptimal (Pty) Ltd, a renewable energy technology company, and has served on the boards of several other early-stage companies. Before his first start-up, Sean was the head of technology transfer (licensing & ventures) at the largest R&D institute in Africa, the CSIR in South Africa.

He has a PhD in Chemical Engineering, is a Registered Technology Transfer Professional (RTTP) with the ATTP, is a member of the Licensing Executives Society of South Africa (LES) and has completed the Management Advancement Programme at Wits Business School.

Sean regularly presents courses in financial modeling and technology & startup valuation, including for the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), the Licensing Executives Society of South Africa (LES) and the Southern African Research and Innovation Management Association (SARIMA).

Sean is passionate about innovation, entrepreneurship, reason and science, life-long learning and inspiring people!


Course Curriculum



Course duration, difficulty and background required

Background required: Basic spreadsheet skills and a basic understanding of financial concepts are recommended.

If you do not have any spreadsheet skills, consider doing Course 201: Kick-start Your Spreadsheet Skills first. If you have no understanding of financial concepts, consider doing Course 101: Master the Key Financial Concepts first.

For an explanation of all course gradings, click here.


❓ FAQ - Frequently Asked Questions


Course questions
This course is for entrepreneurs, innovators, inventors, technology managers and technology transfer professionals.

You need to understand and interpret financial statements, and you need to make strategic decisions based on what they tell you, but you don't have a strong financial background. This course has been designed and developed specifically for you.

Financials are core to any business or technology’s success, and everyone who wishes to succeed has to be able to read and understand financial statements.
  • Video lectures
  • Graded quizzes and exercises
  • Course completion certificate
  • Downloads:
    • Reference sheets: Profit, Mark-up & Margin; Types of Costs; Unit Economics Formulas and Step by Step; Financial Statements; Ratio Analysis
    • Templates: Ratio & Du Pont Analysis Spreadsheet; Unit Economics Calculation Spreadsheet
  • Access to student discussions on lectures & lecturer answers to questions
  • For the Coaching package: One-on-one consultation with lecturer
Financial Modeling for Entrepreneurs Course Series This course (Financial Modeling for Entrepreneurs 301: How to Understand and Analyze Financial Statements) is the third of four courses in the Financial Modeling for Entrepreneurs Course Series.

The first three courses (courses 101 to 301) provide skills sets in 3 different areas, building up to the 4th course (course 401), where you will learn to build your own full financial model and use it to analyze your business or technology.
Yes, definitely - each course is a fully standalone course. You can enroll and do any individual course or combination of courses as per your needs and skills gaps. (See "Course duration, difficulty and background required" section above for background required for this course.)
The course starts now and never ends! It is a completely self-paced online course - you decide when you start and when you finish.
You have unlimited access to the course for two years - across any and all devices you own.
The course has 2 hours of video lectures. Together with the exercises, worked examples and quizzes, you should be able to complete the course in only 2 weeks, if you commit just 90 minutes per day. You can do this!
I would never want you to be unhappy! If you are unsatisfied with your purchase, contact me in the first 30 days and I will give you a full refund.
  • 2-year access to the course materials
  • Work at your own pace
  • Review or redo any part whenever you want to
  • Pause and pick up again at any point
  • Downloadable materials, quizzes and exercises reinforce the learning and provide practical tools that you can apply in your own business or activities immediately
General questions
Don't waste your time wading through avalanches of generic and poor-quality information. I know what you need, because I have been through it myself (from commercializing my own patented inventions to managing R&D technology and patent portfolios, to running the commercialization arm of a large R&D institution, to serving on start-up investment panels, to starting my own technology business).

With the overload of information that we all have to deal with, curation and synthesis of quality and value-added content have become critical in efficient and effective learning.

A paid course means that I have put in the hard work and effort to synthesize useful knowledge into a quality, structured and usable package that can help you develop your skills much faster and more effectively.
Financial modeling refers to the process of building a model (typically spreadsheet-based) of the financial aspects and implications of things in the real world (such as technologies, intellectual property, businesses, etc.) for analysis and decision-making.

It is widely applied in the innovation space, for example:

  • Assessing commercial potential of products, processes, services and business models;
  • Company valuation;
  • R&D and other investment decisions;
  • Building budgets;
  • Valuing IP (intellectual property);
  • Monitoring & evaluating project or business performance.

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