Syllabus for MSP-678

FINANCE AND BUDGETING FOR NONPROFITS


COURSE DESCRIPTION

Finance and Budgeting for Nonprofits is designed to provide finance and budgeting skills to nonprofit leaders and managers, enabling them to make critical decisions related to the financial health of their organizations. Participants will become familiar with processes related to development and management of the budgeting process, governmental requirements and oversight, and ethical concerns facing nonprofit leaders. The course also examines specific legal and policy issues affecting nonprofits and the role of competent financial oversight in guiding organizations through uncertain financial climates.

COURSE OBJECTIVES

After completing this course, you should be able to:

  1. Evaluate the financial strength of an organization.
  2. Demonstrate key accounting/finance terms and concepts.
  3. Design nonprofit organizational and program budgets.
  4. Assess external reporting requirements.
  5. Determine appropriate internal controls.
  6. Interpret, debate, and propose what constitutes ethical and legal approaches in effective leadership.
  7. Analyze financial statements.

COURSE MATERIALS

You will need the following materials to do the work of the course. The required textbook is available from the College’s textbook supplier, MBS Direct.

Required Textbook

  1. Finkler, S. A., Purtell, R. M., Calabrese, T. D., & Smith, D. L. (2013). Financial management for public, health, and not-for-profit organizations (4th ed.). Upper Saddle, NJ: Pearson Prentice Hall.

    ISBN-13: 978-0-13-280566-7

Supplementary Textbook (Recommended)

  1. McLaughlin, T. A. (2009). Streetsmart financial basics for nonprofit managers (3rd ed.). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.

    ISBN-13: 978-0-470-41499-6

COURSE STRUCTURE

Finance and Budgeting for Nonprofits is a three-credit online course, consisting of six (6) modules. Modules include an overview, topics, learning objectives, study materials, and activities. Module titles are listed below, along with the course objectives and topics they cover..

  1. Module 1: Everyone Loves a Good Plan—Budgeting
    Course objectives covered in this module: 1, 2, 3

    Topics:
  1. introduction to financial management
  2. connecting organizational mission and strategic planning
  3. types of budgets and the budget process
  4. budgeting techniques and forecasting

  1. Module 2: Understanding Costs, Financing, and the Role of Capital Budgets
    Course objectives covered in this module: 2, 6, 7

    Topics:
  1. fixed and variable costs
  2. break-even analysis
  3. cost allocation and activity-based costing/management
  4. capital budgets
  5. long-term financing

  1. Module 3: Do You Have Control Issues?
    Course objectives covered in this module: 1, 4, 5, 6, 7

    Topics:
  1. cash management and budgeting
  2. investing and liquidity management
  3. accounts receivable
  4. control systems
  5. performance measures
  6. variance analysis
  7. finance ethics

  1. Module 4: How to Report Financial Results
    Course objectives covered in this module: 1, 2, 7

    Topics:
  1. financial accounting framework
  2. Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP)
  3. elements of the balance sheet
  4. assets and liabilities
  5. activity and cash flow statements
  6. how financial statements work together

  1. Module 5: In-Depth—A Closer Look at Nonprofit and State and Local Governments
    Course objectives covered in this module: 4, 6

    Topics:
  1. unique aspects of nonprofit and health care accounting
  1. nonprofit and health care fund accounting
  2. depreciation
  3. donated goods and services
  4. taxes

  1. unique aspects of state and local government accounting
  1. bases of accounting
  2. government reporting components
  3. government fund accounting

  1. Module 6: Analyzing Financial Results
    Course objectives covered in this module: 1, 2, 3, 6, 7

    Topics:
  1. reviewing financial statements
  2. role of audits
  3. notes to financial statements
  4. ratio analysis
  5. financial statement analysis
  6. financial condition analysis

ASSESSMENT METHODS

For your formal work in the course, you are required to participate in online discussion forums, complete written assignments (reaction papers and application exercises), and complete a final project. See below for details.

Consult the course Calendar for due dates.

Discussion Forums

Each module in the course includes an online class discussion forum. All forums take place asynchronously. Post your robust reflections on the assigned questions and interact with your peers through discussion and dialogue to build a hospitable online learning community.

Online discussions provide an opportunity for you to interact with your classmates. During this aspect of the course, you respond to prompts that assist you in developing your ideas, you share those ideas with your classmates, and you comment on their posts. Forum interactions promote development of a community of learners, critical thinking, and exploratory learning.

Please participate in online forums as you would in constructive face-to-face discussions. You are expected to post well-reasoned and thoughtful reflections for each item, making reference, as appropriate, to your readings and other study materials. You are also expected to reply to your classmates' posts in a respectful, professional, and courteous manner. You may, of course, post questions asking for clarification or further elucidation on a topic. (Click link for an evaluation rubric.)

Reaction Papers

You are required to complete five (5) reaction papers, one each in Modules 1–5. All reaction papers should be 2–3 pages (about 500–750 words), typed double-spaced in 12-point Times New Roman font with 1-inch margins. Papers should be written according to APA guidelines, including in-text citations and reference lists. Please see the individual modules for further details about each paper. (Click link for an evaluation rubric.)

Application Exercises

You are required to complete four (4) application exercises, one each in Modules 1, 2, 3, and 5. The application exercises draw on end-of-chapter problems from the Finkler textbook. Some of the problems will require the use of a supplied Excel template. Utilizing concepts from the readings in the text, answer each of the questions completely. Unlike the reaction papers, it is not necessary to strictly adhere to APA standards in your responses. There is no minimum page requirement for the application assignments, but it is important to make certain that your responses are thorough.

Final Project

The final project requires you to use your prior learning in this course to analyze financial statements and assess the financial health of an organization. Some or your answers will require the use of a supplied Excel template. Your final work product should include a 5–7 page, APA formatted document that contains the results of your analysis of the audited financial statements and ratio questions, as well as the completed Excel template. Refer to Module 6 for more specifics on this assignment. (Click link for an evaluation rubric.)

GRADING AND EVALUATION

Your grade in the course will be determined as follows:

  1. Discussion Forums 16 (Modules 1–6)—27%
  2. Reaction Papers 1–5 (Modules 1–5)—40%
  3. Application Exercises 1–4 (Modules 1, 2, 3, 5)—13%
  4. Final Project (Module 6)—20%

All activities will receive a numerical grade of 0–100. You will receive a score of 0 for any work not submitted. Your final grade in the course will be a letter grade. Letter grade equivalents for numerical grades are as follows:

A

=

93–100

B–

=

80–82

A–

=

90–92

C+

=

78–79

B+

=

88–89

C

=

73–77

B

=

83–87

F

=

Below 73

To receive credit for the course, you must earn a letter grade of C or higher on the weighted average of all assigned course work (e.g., assignments, discussion postings, projects, etc.). Graduate students must maintain a B average overall to remain in good academic standing.

STRATEGIES FOR SUCCESS

First Steps to Success

To succeed in this course, take the following first steps:

  1. Read carefully the entire Syllabus, making sure that all aspects of the course are clear to you and that you have all the materials required for the course.
  2. Take time to read the entire Online Student Handbook. The Handbook answers many questions about how to proceed through the course and how to get the most from your educational experience at Thomas Edison State College.
  3. Familiarize yourself with the learning management systems environment—how to navigate it and what the various course areas contain. If you know what to expect as you navigate the course, you can better pace yourself and complete the work on time.
  4. If you are not familiar with Web-based learning be sure to review the processes for posting responses online and submitting assignments before class begins.

Study Tips

Consider the following study tips for success:

  1. To stay on track throughout the course, begin each week by consulting the course Calendar. The Calendar provides an overview of the course and indicates due dates for submitting assignments, posting discussions, and scheduling and taking examinations.
  2. Check Announcements regularly for new course information.

ACADEMIC INTEGRITY

Students at Thomas Edison State College are expected to exhibit the highest level of academic citizenship. In particular, students are expected to read and follow all policies, procedures, and program information guidelines contained in publications; pursue their learning goals with honesty and integrity; demonstrate that they are progressing satisfactorily and in a timely fashion by meeting course deadlines and following outlined procedures; observe a code of mutual respect in dealing with mentors, staff, and other students; behave in a manner consistent with the standards and codes of the profession in which they are practicing; keep official records updated regarding changes in name, address, telephone number, or e-mail address; and meet financial obligations in a timely manner. Students not practicing good academic citizenship may be subject to disciplinary action including suspension, dismissal, or financial holds on records.

Academic Dishonesty

Thomas Edison State College expects all of its students to approach their education with academic integrity—the pursuit of scholarly activity free from fraud and deception. All mentors and administrative staff members at the College insist on strict standards of academic honesty in all courses. Academic dishonesty undermines this objective. Academic dishonesty takes the following forms:

  1. Cheating
  2. Plagiarizing (including copying and pasting from the Internet without using quotation marks and without acknowledging sources)
  3. Fabricating information or citations
  4. Facilitating acts of dishonesty by others
  5. Unauthorized access to examinations or the use of unauthorized materials during exam administration
  6. Submitting the work of another person or work previously used without informing the mentor
  7. Tampering with the academic work of other students

Academic dishonesty will result in disciplinary action and possible dismissal from the College. Students who submit papers that are found to be plagiarized will receive an F on the plagiarized assignment, may receive a grade of F for the course, and may face dismissal from the College.

A student who is charged with academic dishonesty will be given oral or written notice of the charge. If a mentor or the College official believes the infraction is serious enough to warrant referral of the case to the academic dean, or if the mentor awards a final grade of F in the course because of the infraction, the student and the mentor will be afforded formal due process.

If a student is found cheating or using unauthorized materials on an examination, he or she will automatically receive a grade of F on that examination. Students who believe they have been falsely accused of academic dishonesty should seek redress through informal discussions with the mentor, through the office of the dean, or through an executive officer of Thomas Edison State College.

Plagiarism

Using someone else’s work as your own is plagiarism. Although it may seem like simple dishonesty, plagiarism is against the law. Thomas Edison State College takes a strong stance against plagiarism, and students found to be plagiarizing will be severely penalized. If you copy phrases, sentences, paragraphs, or whole documents word-for-word—or if you paraphrase by changing a word here and there—without identifying the author, then you are plagiarizing. Please keep in mind that this type of identification applies to Internet sources as well as to print-based sources. Copying and pasting from the Internet, without using quotation marks and without acknowledging sources, constitutes plagiarism. (For information about how to cite Internet sources, see Online Student Handbook > Academic Standards > “Citing Sources.”)

Accidentally copying the words and ideas of another writer does not excuse the charge of plagiarism. It is easy to jot down notes and ideas from many sources and then write your own paper without knowing which words are your own and which are someone else’s. It is more difficult to keep track of each and every source. However, the conscientious writer who wishes to avoid plagiarizing never fails to keep careful track of sources.

Always be aware that if you write without acknowledging the sources of your ideas, you run the risk of being charged with plagiarism.

Clearly, plagiarism, no matter the degree of the intent to deceive, defeats the purpose of education. If you plagiarize deliberately, you are not educating yourself, and you are wasting your time on courses meant to improve your skills. If you plagiarize through carelessness, you are deceiving yourself.

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