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Financial Management for Policymakers

Key information

Subject area:

Public Policy, Politics & Security

Course type:

Executive Education

Credit level:


Credit value:



4 weeks

Available course dates:

To be confirmed

Course overview

This course seeks to contextualise the informational environment in which accounting, particularly management accounting, is conducted to assist policy decision-makers to make well-informed decisions as they plan, control and monitor their organisations.

First, we will introduce the nature, source, and purpose of accounting, with a focus on investment and project appraisal techniques. Next, we will focus on budgeting as a management control system. By considering the different budgeting techniques, we will equip you will the tools to compare planned and actual outcomes, and to respond where divergences do exist. Finally, we will review how to use accounting information to measure an organisation’s strategic performance.

What does this course cover?

Week 1: Key concepts in finance and investment/project appraisal techniques

This week will provide you with the knowledge and skills to compare alternatives as a decision-maker, including reviewing the sunk costs, time value of money, opportunity costs, limiting factors, and relevant costs when choosing between different policy projects and other investment decisions. You will also learn how to calculate and apply simple investment and project appraisal techniques.

Week 2: Management control systems and budgeting

This week discusses the role of managers as planners within a business and considers the important role of budgeting within this process. It will develop your ability to prepare functional and master budgets, and to evaluate budgets to look for where planned and actual budgets diverge. Finally, it develops the comprehension to use accounting information as a control system to achieve policy objectives.

Week 3: Strategic performance management

This week explores how the use of traditional financial performance measures can be used to pursue goals that will best benefit the organisation as a whole. It also considers the merits and limitations of a balance score approach in its attempts to integrate financial and non-financial measures of performance that facilitate strategy implementation and contribute to enhanced performance. Return on social investment (SROI) is considered as an alternative way to monetise both financial and non-financial measures.

What will I achieve?

Upon completion of this module, students will be able to:

  • Cost and effectively appraise different investment decisions within policy proposals, with the ultimate aim of judging the most appropriate course of action when choosing between different projects.
  • Design and evaluate budgets as part of a wider planning and control process to ensure that policy objectives are achieved and where divergences do exist, implement effective monitoring tools to re-align planned performance with actual performance.
  • Synthesise financial metrics with non-financial metrics when evaluating performance, to ensure that an organisation’s objectives are achieved.
  • Communicate more effectively, using accounting as the language of business, and develop the ability to apply this vocabulary specifically within a policy context.
  • Make informed decisions using accounting and financial management techniques widely used by executives in the private, public and third sectors.
  • Use accounting approaches as a control and performance tool.
  • Design a public policy intervention addressing a complex issue or problem.

Who will I learn with?

Andrew McFaull

Andrew McFaull

Lecturer in Accounting and Finance Education

Daniela Serban

Daniela Serban

Lecturer in Public Policy

Who is this for?

This short course is for mid-career professionals. Standard entry requirements are a 2:1 degree plus 3 years of relevant work experience. Applicants without a 2:1 or higher degree are welcome to apply and typically require 5+ years of relevant work experience.

How will I be assessed?

One written assignment, plus participation in webinars and discussion forums.

Our modules offer high levels of interaction with regular points of assessment and feedback. Each four week module is worth five Master's level academic credits and includes three webinars with a King's lecturer and peer group of global professionals.

What is the teaching schedule?

Format: Fully online, plus 3 x 1-hour weekly webinars

This module has been designed specifically for an online audience. It uses a range of interactive activities to support learning including discussion forums, online readings, interactive lectures videos and online tutorials.

Fees and discounts

Tuition fees may be subject to additional increases in subsequent years of study, in line with King’s terms and conditions.

Further information

Module creator

Dr Andrew McFaull is a Lecturer in Accounting and Financial Education and Deputy Programme Director of the BSc in Accounting and Finance. His key research interests relate to the topics of personal savings and retirement behaviour, with a particular focus on investment schemes offered in the workplace.

Module lecturer

Dr Daniela Serban is a lecturer in Public Policy. She has experience teaching evaluation in public policy, international political economy, and analysis in international politics. Daniela was a fellow of the Japanese Society for the Promotion of Science, and her research appeared in the Journal of Common Market Studies and the European Journal of Development Research.

Please note that this is only indicative information. Lecturers and course content are subject to change. Please contact us directly for the most recent information.

Course status:

Course closed

Full fee £950

Express interest

Discounts available

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