Philip Cary Christian

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Financial Management in Public and Nonprofit Organizations - PAD 6209

Florida International University

PAD 6209 Financial Management in Public and Financial Organizations

Summer 2011


Instructor:                  Philip C. Christian, Ph.D.


Office Hours:             After class or by appointment

Class Duration:         05/07/11 – 07/09/11
Class Hours:              Saturday, 9:30am-1:30pm

Class Location:          Broward Pines Center, 110


Downloadable Syllabus in pdf format

Course Description and Objectives

This course is one of the core courses in the MPA curriculum. Most managerial decisions have financial implications and inadequate understanding of the financial system can affect the attainment of organizational goals. Thus, being effective managers and analysts in the public and nonprofit sectors requires that you understand the material in this course. 

 This is a hybrid course that seeks to provide knowledge on the “big picture” as well as hands-on experience with the tools and techniques of financial analysis. Yet, learning just tools means little if you do not understand how and why they should be applied. The course aims to bridge these needs.

 After taking the course you should be able to intelligently discuss:

Ø  Bases of accounting and their use;

Ø  Unique aspects of accounting for state/ local governments and nonprofit organizations;

Ø  Some critical financial statements and the information they provide;

Ø  How to assess the financial condition of an organization;

Ø  The strengths and weaknesses of various forecasting techniques and how to determine their accuracy;

Ø  What constitutes an “appropriate” cash balance and how we derive it;

Ø  The role of the chief financial officer in the local sector;

Ø  Some basics of pension planning and administration;

Ø  Short-term and long-term investment instruments and their appropriateness;

Ø  Various types of bonds and bond valuation techniques.   


Required Books


Coe, Charles K. 2007. Governmental and Nonprofit Financial Management. Leesburg, VA:  Management Concepts.


Wang, Xiaohu. 2010.  Financial Management in the Public Sector: Tools, Applications, and Cases (2nd Edition).  Armonk, NY: M.E. Sharpe.


Lowenstein, Roger. 2008. While America Aged: How Pension Debts Ruined General Motors, Stopped the NYC Subways, Bankrupted San Diego, and Loom as the Next Financial Crisis. New York, NY: Penguin Press.


Course Requirements

Per the FIU Catalog, this course has a prerequisite, PAD 6227: Public Finance and Budgetary Process, which provides much of the context for this course. The course requires familiarity with Microsoft Excel, which will be used extensively.




Course grades will be assigned based upon the following distribution:


Participation (in Discussions) 10 %
Homework (4 x 5% each) 20 %
Midterm Exam 25 %
While America Aged Synopsis 10 %
Group Research Project 35 %





Total points





Total points


























 Participation in Discussions:

Your participation grade will be based on your contribution to weekly class discussions conducted in class. The quantity and quality of your participation in discussions will count for 10 percent of your final grade.



Throughout the course, you will turn in 4 homework assignments. Homework assignments will comprise 20 percent of your final grade, or 5 percent for each assignment. All assignments are due on the date and time stated in the syllabus.  Late assignments will be accepted, but a 5 point penalty will be assessed for each day the assignment is late.  For the purposes of assessing penalties, a “day” ends at 11:59 pm.  Exceptions to these guidelines will be made only under unusual circumstances, and must be approved by the instructor in advance.


Note: Homework assignments must be turned in individually. However, discussing assignments in groups prior to completion is strongly encouraged.


Midterm Exam:

There will be only one exam in the course: a midterm exam. The exam comprises 25% of your final grade. The exam will cover the material covered in the prior class sessions, as listed in the syllabus. Further information regarding the exam will be provided.


Group Research Project (Report and Presentations):

Because of the emphasis in this course on practical application of financial knowledge in preparation for real world experiences, a significant portion of your course grade (35 percent) will consist of an applied group project. You will be divided into groups during the first class.  Each group will obtain a recent Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR) from a city of your choice (the County and State CAFR’s are likely too complex) in Dade or Broward. Groups need to report the city of their choice at the beginning of class on May 21st. For all group project assignments, there will be one submission per group. You may designate an individual group member to submit the assignments. The research project is cumulative in nature and it is therefore a good idea to regularly meet with your group members throughout the course. I will provide some time during class for group meetings, but understand that you may need to meet outside of class as well.  The grade for the group project (100 points total) will be based on the following:


Group Project Progress Report (Due 6/15) 5 points
Individual Effort: as evaluated by group members (Due 7/02)  20 points
Group Project Final Report (Due 7/02) 55 points
Group Project Presentation (on 07/09) 20 points


You will receive a handout that explains the research project in greater detail.


Missed Exams

Make up exams will be given only for proven and substantiated extenuating circumstances. Make up exams will be different, and generally more difficult, than the exams given at the scheduled time.



There will be no incomplete grades except under extraordinary circumstances with the appropriate documentation, in accordance with the FIU policies.


Academic Integrity

Florida International University is a community dedicated to generating and imparting knowledge through excellent teaching and research, the rigorous and respectful exchange of ideas, and community service. All students should respect the right of others to have an equitable opportunity to learn and honestly to demonstrate the quality of their learning. Therefore, all students are expected to adhere to a standard of academic conduct, which demonstrates respect for themselves, their fellow students, and the educational mission of the University. All students are deemed by the University to understand that if they are found responsible for academic misconduct (including cheating, plagiarism, misrepresentation, and facilitating academic dishonesty), they will receive a failing grade from the class and will be subject to the Academic Misconduct procedures and sanctions, as outlined in the Student Handbook. See the "Statement on Plagiarism" in the online syllabus for further details.


Students with Disabilities

Students with disabilities who require individualized testing or other accommodations should identify themselves to the instructor and express their needs. Where the disability is not immediately apparent, verification will be required. The instructor is happy to do whatever she can to assure each student full and rewarding participation in classes.



 Note: The course schedule might be adjusted further to better respond to student needs. Additional assignments may be added. Any changes will be announced in class and on the instructor’s website.








Introduction to Financial Management

Accounting: Overview

Resource Development Analysis


Downloadable Lecture Slides


Coe, Ch 1, 2

Wang, Ch 2


• Review Syllabus

• Organize groups

• Homework: Exercises 2, 3, and 4 from Wang Ch 2 due 5/13 via email



Accounting from Cost Perspective


Downloadable Lecture Slides

Wang Chapter 5 Exercises

CBA Excel Example

CBA Excel Homework


Wang, Ch 3, 4, 5, 6

• Homework: Cost Benefit Analysis Due 5/22 via email

• Select your city for research project and acquire the CAFR




Financial Reporting and Analysis


Downloadable Lecture Slides

Brown 10-Point Test Ratios and Information Locations

Instructions for synopsis of While America Aged


Wang, Ch 9, 10, 11


• Bring your city CAFR to class

• Homework: Complete Brown 10-point Test on your city.  Please bring to class next week.





Examining Financial Statements and

Financial Condition Analysis


Downloadable Lecture Slides -pdf

Downloadable Lecture Slides -ppt



Coe, Ch 8

Wang, Ch 7, 12








Exam Excel Template

Slides discussing project

Project Instructions

FCA Measures

Example of Revenue Percentages


Review the material from weeks 1 to 4

• Group work on the research project




Revenue Forecasting: Qualitative and Quantitative Approaches


Downloadable Lecture Slides pdf

Downloadable Lecture Slides docx

Forecasting Example

Forecasting Homework


Coe, Ch 3

Wang, Ch 1


• Homework: Forecasting Due 6/19 via email

• Group Research Project Report Due 6/15 via email





Cash Management and Debt Management


Downloadable Lecture Slides pdf

Sweep example

Project Instructions - Part III


Coe, Ch 5,6

Wang, Ch 8


•  Group Research Project Work




Risk Management and Pensions


Downloadable Lecture Slides pdf


Coe, Ch 7

Lowenstein, all



•  Group Research Project Work





Peer Evaluations on Research Project Due




While America Aged Synopsis Due

Instructions for synopsis of While America Aged


•  Group Research Project Work




Research Paper Due




Statement on Plagiarism

Plagiarism is the representation of another person's words, ideas, and creative work in general as one's own. This misrepresentation is a breach of ethics that seriously compromises a person's reputation. Professional careers have been ruined by revelations of plagiarism. To avoid plagiarism, researchers and professionals in public, private, or nonprofit organizations must scrupulously give credit whenever they use another person's idea, opinion, theory, written or spoken words, as well as any facts, statistics, graphs, drawings—any pieces of information—that are not common knowledge. The following rules should be observed to make sure that the distinction between one's own words, ideas or work, and those of others is justly maintained.

1.   Put in quotations everything that comes directly from the text of another's work, especially when taking notes.

2.      Alternatively, you can paraphrase another person's work, but be sure you are not just rearranging or replacing a few words. A good strategy is to (1) read over what you want to paraphrase carefully, (2) cover up the text with your hand, (3) write out the idea in your own words without peeking, and (4) check your paraphrase against the original text to be sure you have not accidentally used the same phrases or words, and that the information is accurate.

3.  Whether you quote, paraphrase or otherwise borrow another's work, always cite or indicate the source of the information, and provide references following one of the many accepted styles or formats.

4. Common knowledge such as George Washington's date of birth or the meaning of OLS regression need not be quoted, cited, or referenced. However, borrowing another's original or creative presentation of common knowledge should follow the abovementioned rules. When in doubt, follow the rules.

Of course, submitting a paper that is completely the work of another person is plagiarism in its most extreme form. A student who plagiarizes all or part of an assignment can expect severe cumulative penalties, ranging from failure in the course to expulsion from the university, with an annotation of the sanction received on the student's transcript.





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