NYU Stern School of Business

Undergraduate College


Spring 2013

Instructor Details

Meng, Xiaojing



TR 9:45am-10: 45am; 5:00pm-6:00pm or by appoi

KMC 10-76


Course Meetings

TR, 2:00pm to 3:15pm

Tisch T-LC25

Final Exam:

Schedule exceptions
    Class will not meet on:
    Class will meet on:


Course Description and Learning Goals

Overview: The objective of the course is for you to learn how to read, understand, and analyze the financial statements of most publicly-traded companies.  The course is intended for students with no previous exposure to financial accounting.  This course takes an external user’s perspective, as opposed to an accountant or internal user’s perspective.  External users include investors, creditors, customers, suppliers, government regulators, and business school students.  A solid understanding of the fundamentals covered in this course should enable you to do well in more advanced finance and accounting courses, as well as interview intelligently for jobs in finance and consulting.

The course begins with the basic concepts of accounting.  We begin by looking at the main financial statements: balance sheet, income statement, statement of cash flows, and statement of stockholders’ equity.  Particular attention is paid to how these four statements relate to each other and how they provide information about the financial health of a company.  We then cover specific items from the financial statements and apply tools of analysis whenever possible.


Course Outline

The following is a “tentative” schedule of course outline and readings.  I reserve the right to make adjustments as circumstances require. 

Lecture Dates                 Topics         

1/29; 1/31                  Overview of Accounting and Financial Statement

                                        please read: Libby, Libby & Short (LLS), Chapter 1


2/5; 2/7                     Balance Sheet and Recording the Effects of Transactions

                                      please read: Libby, Libby & Short (LLS), Chapter 2

                                      Homework: TBA, due on 2/12


2/12; 2/14; 2/19      Income Statement:Cash versus Accrual Accounting

                                       please read: Libby, Libby & Short (LLS), Chapter 3 and 4

                                      Homework:  TBA, due on 2/21


2/21                             Misstatement, Fraud & Shame


2/26                             Review for Midterm


2/28                             Midterm Exam 1 (chapter 1-4)


3/5;3/7;3/12           Statement of Cash Flows

                                      please read: Libby, Libby & Short (LLS), Chapter 13

                                      Homework:  TBA,  due on 3/14


3/14                               Margins


3/18-3/24                  Spring Break


3/26; 3/28;                       Liabilities: Current Liabilities, Bond and Lease

4/2; 4/4                           please read: Libby, Libby & Short (LLS), Chapter 9, 10

                                             Homework:  TBA,  due on 4/4


4/9                                       Review for Midterm


4/11                                      Midterm Exam 2 (chapter 13, 9, 10)


4/16; 4/18                          Shareholder’s Equity

                                                please read: Libby, Libby & Short (LLS), Chapter 11

                                              Homework:  TBA, due on 4/23


4/23                                     Receivables

                                               please read: Libby, Libby & Short (LLS), Chapter 6


4/25                                     Inventories

                                               please read: Libby, Libby & Short (LLS), Chapter 7

                                              Homework:  TBA, due on 4/30


4/30                                     PP&E

                                               please read: Libby, Libby & Short (LLS), Chapter 8


5/2                                        Financial Statement Analysis: Ratio Analysis

Non-textbook homework, will  be posted on Blackboard, due on 5/7


5/7                                       Basic Valuation of Firms and Stocks


5/9                                       Review for Final


TBA                                      FINAL EXAM


Required Course Materials

Textbook:  Libby, Libby and Short, Financial Accounting, 7th Edition.  The textbook covers the basic material in the course, including background information, accounting rules and conventions. I strongly recommend you to read the book.


Lecture Slides:  Most lectures will use the aid of Powerpoint slides, which will be available prior to each class on Blackboard.  You should print your own copies prior to class in whatever format works best for you.  Any material included in the slides is fair game for exams.


Assessment Components

Homework:   I will give you 7 homework assignments, and you only need to submit 6 of them, i.e, you can skip one. If you hand in all 7 of them,  the highest 6 (out of the 7) scores will be counted in your grade. You must submit a hardcopy of your completed homework at the end of class on the date due; late homework will not be accepted.  Solutions to homework will be posted to Blackboard.

Exams:  There will be three exams, two during the semester and one during finals.  Please see the course outline section for more information.


Your final grade is the best out of the following two options:

(1) 15% homework, 20% first exam, 20% second exam, 40% final exam, and 5% class participation;

(2) 15% homework, 15% first exam, 25% second exam, 40% final exam, and 5% class participation.



At NYU Stern we seek to teach challenging courses that allow students to demonstrate their mastery of the subject matter.  In general, students in undergraduate core courses can expect a grading distribution where: 

Note that while the School uses these ranges as a guide, the actual distribution for this course and your own grade will depend upon how well you actually perform in this course.



The process of assigning grades is intended to be one of unbiased evaluation. Students are encouraged to respect the integrity and authority of the professor’s grading system and are discouraged from pursuing arbitrary challenges to it.

If you believe an inadvertent error has been made in the grading of an individual assignment or in assessing an overall course grade, a request to have the grade re-evaluated may be submitted. You must submit such requests in writing to me within 7 days of receiving the grade, including a brief written statement of why you believe that an error in grading has been made.


Professional Responsibilities For This Course



In-class contribution is a significant part of your grade and an important part of our shared learning experience. Your active participation helps me to evaluate your overall performance.
You can excel in this area if you come to class on time and contribute to the course by:




Classroom Norms


Stern Policies

General Behavior
The School expects that students will conduct themselves with respect and professionalism toward faculty, students, and others present in class and will follow the rules laid down by the instructor for classroom behavior.  Students who fail to do so may be asked to leave the classroom. 


Collaboration on Graded Assignments
Students may not work together on graded assignment unless the instructor gives express permission. 


Course Evaluations
Course evaluations are important to us and to students who come after you.  Please complete them thoughtfully.


Academic Integrity

Integrity is critical to the learning process and to all that we do here at NYU Stern. As members of our community, all students agree to abide by the NYU Stern Student Code of Conduct, which includes a commitment to:

The entire Stern Student Code of Conduct applies to all students enrolled in Stern courses and can be found here:

Undergraduate College: http://www.stern.nyu.edu/uc/codeofconduct
Graduate Programs: http://w4.stern.nyu.edu/studentactivities/involved.cfm?doc_id=102505

To help ensure the integrity of our learning community, prose assignments you submit to Blackboard will be submitted to Turnitin.  Turnitin will compare your submission to a database of prior submissions to Turnitin, current and archived Web pages, periodicals, journals, and publications.  Additionally, your document will become part of the Turnitin database.


Recording of Classes

Your class may be recorded for educational purposes


Students with Disabilities

If you have a qualified disability and will require academic accommodation of any kind during this course, you must notify me at the beginning of the course and provide a letter from the Moses Center for Students with Disabilities (CSD, 998-4980, www.nyu.edu/csd) verifying your registration and outlining the accommodations they recommend.  If you will need to take an exam at the CSD, you must submit a completed Exam Accommodations Form to them at least one week prior to the scheduled exam time to be guaranteed accommodation.


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