Introduction to Financial Accounting

A young student asked Warren Buffett’s advice on classes to take in school. Warren Buffett’s main advice was to learn Accounting.

“Accounting is the language of business and there’s nothing like getting it early and getting it into your system.” _–Warren Buffett

Intro to Financial Accounting:
The class learning objectives are targeted towards the learning outcome statements of the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) Level 1 exam (~15-20% of the total content of CFA Level 1 will be covered). While many students might not have interest in the CFA exam, targeting learning outcomes to the financial accounting material in the exam enables the course to stay up to date on the most critical financial accounting material to learn. Moreover organizing the class around the CFA curriculum enables the course to have additional free content online from alternative sources that can provide additional understanding of topics covered.

Text Books:
I recommend purchasing the prior years’ version of the CFA Program Curriculum book titled CFA Institute Level I Financial Reporting and Analysis (Make sure you are purchasing the “Level 1 book” and not the “Level 2” book). By using this book the students in the class will save ~$220 for not having to purchase an alternative textbook—you are welcome! Published by Wiley ISBN 10: 1119331064 ISBN 13:   9781119331063. There are a number of places you can find it online:,, or

  • Alternative 1: Older versions of this book are almost identical and they are likely less expensive. The words in each version of the book don’t change much, just the page numbers. From my observation, books published in 2010 are practically the same as the most current book. The 2009 and prior versions of the book are written in a tortured way that is not as helpful (I don’t recommend it).
  • Alternative 2: If you would like to have a slightly more expensive textbook with exactly the same content you can order International Financial Statement Analysis (CFA Institute Investment Series) by Thomas R. Robinson and Elaine Henry for ~$60 (still considerably less costly than alternative textbooks). If you get this more expensive textbook it also comes with no homework problems. Make sure you also get the International Financial Statement Analysis Workbook (CFA Institute Investment Series) 3rd Edition as it includes the practice problems.
  • Alternative 3: The second edition of International Financial Statement Analysis (and workbook) from the same authors is also available and it not much different from the newer text.
  • Alternative 4: The new curriculum can be found at the CFA Institute and is free when you register for the CFA Level 1 exam.
  • Complete digital copies of the book found via searching “filetype:pdf International Financial Statement Analysis” are likely in violation of copyright policy. Downloading and sharing eBooks illegally is discouraged by both the government and myself.
  • Christensen, Clayton M., and Michael E. Raynor. The Innovator’s Solution. Harvard Business Press, 2003.

Calculators used must be one of two types: the

    • TI BA II Plus Student or Professional (recommend)
    • HP 12C or 12C Platinum (if you want that old school vibe—I don’t use this type).

Youtube Video Lectures:
YouTube has some great video resources that could supplement your reading. If you commute these videos could be a good primer before diving into a topic. There are multiple channels on the topic, so find the one that best suits you. In the past, students have found the following video channels useful: