Financial Basics Seminar

satiraby John Satira, Class of 2017

During my time at law school, I aim to learn more about business and corporate law. However, I was always a bit intimidated about jumping into those areas of law, because I have never taken a formal accounting or business course in my life. Thankfully, the Office of Career Services (OCS) partnered with BARBRI Financial Skills Institute to offer a free seminar called “Their Business is Your Business: Financial Basics for Legal Careers.” As someone interested in business law, I immediately signed up for the event.  Knowing that the course was covering “basics,” I looked forward to finally beginning to learn about finance.

Structured as a “mini-MBA” program, the event was broken down into three parts: financial analysis, financial statements, and problems in financial reporting. The financial analysis portion introduced me to a variety of new financial terms and vocabulary, while the financial statements part helped me become capable of reading and understanding balance sheets, income statements, and cash flow statements. I even received a much-needed introduction to accounting.

In my opinion, the most interesting part of the seminar was learning about the problems in financial reporting. With the newfound knowledge of how to read business statements, we ran through a variety of scenarios that had us analyzing financial statements to pinpoint information in financial documents that helped tell the story of the companies in question. We were also given a history lesson of sorts about scandals in the accounting and auditing industries in order to help understand when a business might be floundering, or even recognize if the business was engaging in fraud or manipulation.

The program ran on a Saturday from 9:30am to 4:30pm, but it was well worth my time. (Plus, we were served breakfast and an excellent lunch—so I really cannot complain.) I learned so much about how business transactions affect every day life, and I left the crash-course with a wider array of knowledge surrounding topics not only relevant to business law, but also to white-collar crime and property law.

Ultimately, I would say the event was a huge success, and I look forward to the other events that OCS brings to William & Mary Law in order to help enrich its students’ education.

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