15.515 Financial Accounting

Fall 2003

Close up of dollar bill with A equals L plus E written on it.
Accountants use the equation Assets = Liabilities + Shareholders' Equity as the basis for their balance sheets. (Image courtesy of Matthew Palmer.)

Course Highlights

Class sessions in 15.515 are a mix of lectures, for which notes are provided, and case discussion. To perfect their financial accounting acumen, students complete homework problems, prepare exercises for class, and discuss examples in recitation.

Course Description

Our goal is to help you develop a framework for understanding financial, managerial, and tax reports. The course goal is divided into five subordinate challenges that can help you organize the way you learn accounting:
  1. The record keeping and reporting challenge
  2. The computation challenge
  3. The judgment challenge
  4. The usage challenge
  5. The search challenge

The course adopts a decision-maker perspective of accounting by emphasizing the relation between accounting data and the underlying economic events generating them. Restricted to first-year Sloan MBA students.


Acknowledgment is hereby given to Professor G. Peter Wilson for his authorship of the following content in this course:

  • The Five Challenges (see Syllabus and Lecture 1)
  • "What Do Intel and Accountants Have in Common?" (see Lecture 1)
  • A Conceptual Framework for Financial Accounting (see Lecture 1)

Technical Requirements

Special software is required to use some of the files in this course: .xls.

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Prof. Richard Frankel
Prof. George Plesko
Prof. Kin Lo

Course Meeting Times

Two sessions / week
1.5 hours / session

One session / week
1 hour / session