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Introduction to corporate finance

This module provides a grounding in the core areas of corporate finance and enables you to gain a basis on which to build the specialist financial expertise that you will develop through your MSc in Finance. You will examine financial statements and explore how these can be employed to measure the performance of organisations. You will then look at the business environment that organisations work within and its impact on their financial decision making. You will also explore how organisations finance themselves and the factors that determine their cost of funding.

Vocational relevance

Introduction to corporate finance will be of particular interest to you if you are working, or planning to work, in the finance sector of an organisation or in the finance division of a company or public sector/not-for-profit organisation. It will also benefit individuals who work, or intend to work, outside of the finance domain but who wish to expand their knowledge and skills in order to increase future opportunities.


B858 is a compulsory module in our:

B858 is an optional module in our:

Postgraduate Loans 

If you study this module as part of an eligible qualification, you may be eligible for a Postgraduate Loan. For more information, see Fees and funding.

Excluded combinations

Sometimes you will not be able to count a module towards a qualification if you have already taken another module with similar content. To check any excluded combinations relating to this module, visit our excluded combination finder or check with an adviser before registering.


Module code


  • Credits measure the student workload required for the successful completion of a module or qualification.
  • One credit represents about 10 hours of study over the duration of the course.
  • You are awarded credits after you have successfully completed a module.
  • For example, if you study a 60-credit module and successfully pass it, you will be awarded 60 credits.
Study level
Across the UK, there are two parallel frameworks for higher education qualifications, the Framework for Higher Education Qualifications in England, Northern Ireland and Wales (FHEQ) and the Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework (SCQF). These define a hierarchy of levels and describe the achievement expected at each level. The information provided shows how OU postgraduate modules correspond to these frameworks.
OU Postgraduate
Study method
Distance learning
Find out more in Why the OU?
Module cost
See Module registration
Entry requirements

Find out more about entry requirements.

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What you will study

This module aims to equip you with the necessary theoretical, applied and critical skills to be prepared to take financial management responsibilities within an organisation. The first part of the module aims to provide you with the knowledge and skills to understand the financial information provided in organisations’ annual reports which are a major source of information for investment analysts, investors and other stakeholders.  You will be able to use financial analysis tools to analyse, interpret and better understand the financial performance of organisations. You will also learn certain of the implications of International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) on the reported financial performance.

In the second part of the module the impact that the business environment has on financial decision making is explored. The processes for cash flow forecasting and other aspects of business forecasting are also explored.

The module then moves on to provide the theoretical, analytical and practical knowledge required to make financial policy decisions on financing the organisation as it explores one of the key financial policy decisions that a chief financial officer or financial director has to take - how to structure and mobilise the funds required to finance the organisation.

The following are the main topics covered in this module:

  • How to understand annual reports and financial statements
  • Financial analysis: ratios, trend analysis and forecasting
  • The impact of International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) on financial reporting
  • The time value of money
  • Corporate finance theory
  • The sources of finance, capital structure and the cost of capital
  • The capital and money markets
  • Equity and fixed income (bond) valuation.

It will enable you to:

  • understand, analyse and interpret financial statements
  • analyse the performance of organisations
  • evaluate how the financial environment impacts upon an organisation’s financial strategy
  • understand the capital structure of organisations and the determinants of the cost of capital
  • examine how organisations finance their business and the financial markets they access to do so.

Teaching and assessment

Support from your tutor

Your tutor will help you with the study material, mark and comment on your assignments and provide advice and guidance. You will contact your tutor by email, telephone or via your tutor group forum on the B858 website. 

Contact us if you want to know more about study with The Open University before you register.


The assessment details for this module can be found in the facts box above.

You must use the online eTMA system to submit your tutor-marked assignments (TMAs).

Course work includes

2 Tutor-marked assignments (TMAs)
No residential school

Course satisfaction survey

See the satisfaction survey results for this course.

Future availability

Introduction to corporate finance starts once a year – in November. This page describes the module that will start in November 2018. We expect it to start for the last time in November 2021.


As a student of The Open University, you should be aware of the content of the academic regulations which are available on our Student Policies and Regulations website.

    Entry requirements

    All entrants to must hold a BA/BSc degree awarded by a recognised university, or equivalent.

    Various higher education and professional qualifications are considered equivalent to a degree. If you hold a qualification that you believe is an equivalent level to a UK degree you should contact us. The Open University Business School Masters Programme Committee is responsible for judging whether applicants’ qualifications meet the requirements for admission.

    You will also need an appropriate facility in English language, sufficient to be able to work effectively at postgraduate level; generally this means capability equivalent to an International English Language Test System (IELTS) score of 6.5.  To assess your English language skills in relation to your proposed studies you can visit the IELTS website. If you think either of these possibilities may apply to you, please speak to an adviser.

    It is strongly recommended that you are comfortable with the use of numerical methods and use of spreadsheets.  If you are unsure about these skills we suggest you familiarise yourself with illustrative numerical skills and methods prior to study. To help you decide whether you are ready, you may want to try this diagnostic quiz.

    If you have any doubt about the suitability of the module, please speak to an adviser.


    Start End Fee Register
    02 Nov 2019 Apr 2020 Not yet available

    Registration closes 17/10/19 (places subject to availability)

    This module is expected to start for the last time in November 2021.

    Future availability

    Introduction to corporate finance starts once a year – in November. This page describes the module that will start in November 2018. We expect it to start for the last time in November 2021.

    Additional costs

    Study costs

    There may be extra costs on top of the tuition fee, such as a laptop, travel to tutorials, set books and internet access.

    Ways to pay

    We know there’s a lot to think about when choosing to study, not least how much it’s going to cost and how you can pay.

    That’s why we keep our fees as low as possible and offer a range of flexible payment and funding options. To find out more see Fees and funding.

    Study materials

    What's included

    An extensive variety of specially written resources presented in different media (print and online) and designed exclusively for this module. Audio-visual material, published articles, case studies and access to The Open University library.

    Computing requirements

    A computing device with a browser and broadband internet access is required for this module.  Any modern browser will be suitable for most computer activities. Functionality may be limited on mobile devices.

    Any additional software will be provided, or is generally freely available. However, some activities may have more specific requirements. For this reason, you will need to be able to install and run additional software on a device that meets the requirements below.

    A desktop or laptop computer with either:

    • Windows 7 or higher
    • macOS 10.7 or higher

    The screen of the device must have a resolution of at least 1024 pixels horizontally and 768 pixels vertically.

    To participate in our online-discussion area you will need both a microphone and speakers/headphones. 

    Our Skills for OU study website has further information including computing skills for study, computer security, acquiring a computer and Microsoft software offers for students. 

    If you have a disability

    This module is delivered online and time spent using a computer and the internet will therefore be extensive. Written transcripts of any audio components are available, as are printable versions of the online text-based material. Some online material may not be available or fully accessible using a screen reader (and mathematical and scientific materials may be particularly difficult to read in this way). Alternative formats of the study materials may be available in the future.

    If you have particular study requirements please tell us as soon as possible, as some of our support services may take several weeks to arrange. Visit our Disability support website to find more about what we offer.