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Finance for non-financial managers

This course will help you to manage financial resources. It will enable you to understand budgets and make a business case for resources you need. It will also help you to measure financial performance –including financial frameworks and ratios.

The course will be of interest to:

  • new and middle managers who may be given financial targets and budgets but not the tools to manage the financial resources
  • people whose job includes significant financial content e.g. budget holders in large organisations who would like to be more familiar with the concepts of financial management.

Standalone study only

You will not be awarded credits for studying this course. It is available for standalone study only and cannot be counted towards an OU qualification.

Short course

Short course code
This is a non-credit bearing course.
Study method
Distance Learning
Short course cost
See Registration
Entry requirements
See Am I ready?

What you will study

Many professionals and business people, while experts in their own field, are less comfortable managing the financial resource than, for example, people and operations. If this is the way you feel, then this course is for you. It is a gentle but practical introduction to some financial concepts and techniques.

This is not an accountancy course. We assume that you get professional help when preparing your own accounts and taxes. Our approach introduces a few basic financial principles and then shows how you can use them to provide useful management information. To illustrate the concepts, we will use simplified sample accounts, and encourage you to compare them to your own accounts.

You will work at your own pace through study material. Our objective is to awaken your curiosity and to encourage you to find out more about managing your own organisation's financial resource. A series of activities throughout the course enable you to relate what you are learning to your own work situation and to complete a final work-based activity.

At the end of the course, you will:

  • be familiar with the content of the three basic accounts
  • understand how they can be used to manage performance
  • appreciate the contribution that financial information makes to business decisions
  • be able to ask more informed questions
  • be encouraged to want to explore your own organisation's finances in more depth.

The strong link between course learning and your work practice creates relevant, enduring and transferable outcomes. It requires no more than 30 hours of your time in total, over whatever period suits you. But the learning is far richer than more expensive one- to three-day workshops. Register online today and start tomorrow – no need to wait!

The course features the distinctive strengths of The Open University (OU) from its years of expertise in work-based learning:

  • The convenience of accessing its clearly presented and sequenced materials, activities and support whenever suits you and wherever you have access to the dedicated website – if you prefer, you can print key materials to work on them offline.
  • The support of an expert learning adviser who can clarify study materials, answer questions and help you relate the course to your specific needs.
  • A work-based activity helping you to connect the course to your individual and organisational context and needs. This is built up from short activities during the course, leading to a Personal Development Plan. At the end of the course you send this to the learning adviser, who provides personal feedback.
  • Certification of completion from the OU for those who complete the course. You can use this to demonstrate your Continuing Professional Development (CPD) activity to your employer and/or professional body. (N.B. The course does not carry academic credit points.)

Professional recognition

Successful completion of the course enables us to recognise your achievement of the course learning by issuing an OU certificate that you can use to document your commitment to continuing professional development in your personal portfolio, or to provide evidence to employers or professional body.

Learner support

Expert, confidential learner support is available when you need it from a learning adviser, who will respond to you direct within 24 hours. Other support is available via the GB012 forum, library, StudentHome website and computing helpdesk.

Work-based activity

The work-based activity for this course involves the preparation of a plan to improve your financial management in your own workplace. It is submitted at the end of the course and will allow you to reflect on your learning and how to use it in your professional work.


Although there are no formal academic requirements to study any of our CPD courses, you are expected to have some experience in the field and the course assumes a familiarity with the subject.

For each course you can register and begin at any time during the life of the course. You can study at your own pace and submit your work-based activity at any date before the final submission date for the course. Information about the final submission date is available when you register for the course.


Start End England fee Register
At anytime Flexible - see Entry requirements for more detail £495.00 Register

Ways to pay

Credit/Debit Card - We accept American Express, Mastercard, Visa/Delta or Visa Electron.

Sponsorship - If the qualification you’ve chosen is geared towards your job or developing your career, you could ask your employer to sponsor you by paying some or all of the fees. Your sponsor just needs to complete a simple form to confirm how much they will be paying and we will invoice them.

Gift Voucher - Vouchers are currently available in the following denominations: £10, £20, £50 and £100.

What's included

All learning materials, exercises, study support and work-based activity are delivered entirely online.

Computing requirements

You will need a computer with internet access to study this module as it includes online activities, which you can access using a web browser.

  • If you have purchased a new desktop or laptop computer since 2008 you should have no problems completing the online activities.
  • If you’ve got a netbook, tablet or other mobile device check our Technical requirements section.
  • If you use an Apple Mac you will need OS X 10.7 or later.

You can also visit the Technical requirements section for further computing information (including details of the support we provide).

If you have a disability

The course is delivered online and makes use of a variety of online resources. If you use specialist hardware or software to assist you in using a computer or the internet you are advised to talk to the Student Registration and Enquiry Service about support which can be given to meet your needs. If you are a new learner with the OU, make sure that you look at our website.