Do you want your students to understand financial statements without needing to become an accountant? Dolearnfinance.com is a FREE, innovative, web-based resource providing all the materials and modelling applications needed to learn financial skills and produce financial projections for school projects and live businesses.
Purpose and process
DoLearnFinance.com enables people of any age or educational ability to understand financial statements, create their own financial projections and develop the insights to make financially smart decisions in business either as entrepreneurs or managers. It is a web based experiential learning resource where people register to follow a systematic learning process or self-select relevant learning areas. The two key features of the website are that it allows people to:
- See on one simple webpage how changing one element in their business model (e.g. selling prices, sales volume, overhead expenses, etc.) will affect the financial statements.
- Learn, practice and then apply their knowledge to creating their own cash flows, profit & loss accounts, balance sheets and other financial statements. DoLearnFinance.com is particularly useful for students taking entrepreneurship modules and who need to develop a Business Plan with financial projections.
The six principal learning outcomes are that students will:
- Have a positive introduction to the topic of business finance
- See the financial statements as the scorecards of business and develop a sense of the cause-and-effect relationship between them and business decisions
- Learn how to fine tune business models in terms of profitability and cash flow
- Be comfortable with financial terms and concepts (i.e. speak the “language of business”)
- Be able to use ratio analysis to assess financial projections like the professionals
- Be able to produce, understand and explain lean and detailed financial projections for school enterprise projects and for real business situations
Curricular or thematic relevance
The issue of financial literacy amongst young people and entrepreneurs has been receiving high-level attention for over a decade. In 2007, The EU published a ‘Communication from the Commission: Financial Education’ whose purpose was to:
- raise the awareness of the need to address low financial education;
- encourage and promote the provision of high-quality financial education within the EU, including the sharing of best practice; and
- develop certain practical, facilitating tools to achieve these aims.
In 2012, the OECD/International Network on Financial Education (INFE) High-level Principles on National Strategies for Financial Education were endorsed by G20 Leaders and these sought commitment from participating countries to ensure the development of financial literacy. In 2016, JA Europe published a report entitled ‘Sharpening Financial Education: How the Right Partnerships Can Hone the Skills of Tomorrow’s Entrepreneurs and Employees’ which identified the financial skills and competences that the business and finance community perceive as essential in the 21st century.
In 2017, a group of nine European organisations and associations launched a new European Platform for Financial Education. The initiative aims to promote the need for financial education and to boost financial literacy in Europe, particularly among young people and entrepreneurs.
How to organise:
The website makes it easy to teach as well as learn, is immensely versatile and works beautifully in the following contexts:
- Formal classroom;
- Blended learning;
- Flipped classroom; and
- Self-directed learning.
Because of the versatility of the website, www.dolearnfinance.com offers lots of support resources which greatly reduces class preparation time, ready-to-go teaching structures, totally flexible teaching options, takes students from zero knowledge to being able to produce financial projections for business plans and projects, and can be used with any course subject (particularly good for students not familiar with finance).
Assessment and evaluation approaches
There is a progress test in terms of online quiz for each stage of learning and the site builds through a designated practice section to real-life outputs which may be assessed in situation-specific ways at the discretion of teachers and course leaders. The website also features a number of case studies that learners can utilise to assess how well they have developed their knowledge and skillsets. Finally, the website offers learners the opportunity to create a full set of financial projections which is the ultimate measurement of their learning.
DoLearnFinance.com facilitates volunteer involvement because it does not demand specialist teaching skills and is easily used by competent volunteers with reasonable levels of business/financial skills. The website provides support resources that enables a person of competent financial background to utilise the tool as an educator. Additionally, because of the flexible nature of the website, it is also possible for a wide variety of external stakeholders to become involved in the learning process (e.g. accountants, bankers, Venture capitalists, etc.).
The need to improve the standard of financial literacy is well established but students and entrepreneurs remain reluctant learners. What many people do not appreciate is that financial skills suit learn-by-doing more than most other topics because the situations which arise in real business situations can be exactly simulated in the classroom or in assignments. The modelling applications used in the website are the same ones used in real business situations but are offered in a simple and flexible learning manner. This is a wonderful opportunity for you or your students to finally become financially literate – take it!
Files for download:do_learn_finance_brochure.pdf / 366kB
, Fab Practice Limited Ireland
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