Linda Bilmes Photo

Linda Bilmes

Daniel Patrick Moynihan Senior Lecturer in Public Policy

Brian Iammartino Photo

Brian Iammartino

Adjunct Lecturer in Public Policy


Budgeting, accounting, and financial management concepts and techniques are central to the successful operation of government, nonprofit, and for-profit organizations. This rigorous introductory course aims to demystify these topics for a general audience of students with no background in these materials.  It covers the entire budgeting process, including budget formulation and execution, variance analysis, budget strategies such as activity-based costing, revenue forecasting, and capital budgeting. Accounting topics include an overview of the financial reporting and governance landscape, accounting principles and concepts, and a detailed review of the major financial statements. The course will build on these budgeting and accounting principles to progress to financial management techniques such as the Balanced Scorecard, financial benchmarking, and the analysis of organizational liquidity, solvency, operations and funding. The course will use case discussions, problem sets, online tutorials, and individual and group exercises. Students who complete MLD-411 may apply for MLD-412, the Greater Boston Applied Field Lab, an advanced spring semester course in which students work on challenging urban management and financial projects. Students may also join the MLD-411 alumni program.