The Financial Management course gives professionals the tools they need to run a business

Diving brief:

  • A new college-level course aims to help construction professionals understand an area in which many have little training: financial management.
  • The Free Online Course in Fundamentals of Construction Financial Management focuses on the unique financial and accounting processes that keep construction companies on track.
  • The program, launched on June 15 by New Orleans-based construction payment technology provider Levelset, explains how to create and read financial statements, manage transactions and cash flow, and track business performance. with financial data.

Overview of the dive:

The course aims to target “accidental” professionals, said Jonny Finity, senior content manager at Levelset.

Jonny Finity

Permission granted by Levelset

The term refers to people in the construction industry whose work includes financial and accounting duties, but who have no formal training or education in these subjects. It’s a standard in the construction industryespecially for small businesses, Finity said.

About 83% of construction companies in the United States have fewer than 10 employees, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. Small construction companies frequently turn to family or friends to run the office, do the bookkeeping and perform general accounting tasks, with little regard to their level of education or financial training, Finity said.

ZipRecruiter posts approximately 8,600 open jobs for construction office managers, and almost none require a bachelor’s degree in any field. About 58% of women in construction agreed with the statement “I have an education or training that prepared me for my current job”, according to a 2021 Levelset survey.

This sparked the idea of ​​bringing in Steven J. Peterson, a licensed professional engineer and professor of construction management at Weber State University, to teach the financial management course to construction professionals. Most accounting books, for example, do not cover the unique aspects of accounting specifically for the construction industry, such as long-term contracts, retention, and progress payments, to name a few- a few, Peterson said.

Steven J. Peterson

Permission granted by Levelset

Key takeaways from the course include how to understand a construction company’s financial statements, including the unique differences between what you would see in a traditional statement and in construction, Peterson said. This includes different terminologies and categorisations, and the ability to determine if a customer is truly creditworthy.

“I want to teach people how to take a look at a building inventory, to be able to take into account these human characteristics, to look at financial ratios and to be able to interpret the health of a company like a doctor would report tests and interpret your health,” Peterson said. “We’re gearing this towards the accidental professional because the barriers to entry into the field have dropped significantly.”

About 200 students have enrolled in class already, says Finity. Students can complete the course at their own pace, with an average time of just three to five hours.

“We are using what has been widely used by universities to train the next generation of construction leaders,” Peterson said. “We take about a quarter of this course, condensed from about four weeks to this three to five hour course, to develop, prepare and give people an introduction to this.”

Geraldine L. Melton