The GSCFM Curriculum

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The GSCFM program provides a foundation in disciplines such as financial analysis, valuation, business economics, business law, corporate strategy, treasury management, and international finance and credit.

Session Descriptions Instructors Special Acknowledgement Honor
Best Practice Insights from the Instructors


The First-Year Session Concentrations

The cornerstone of the first-year program is financial statement analysis. Complementing the financial analysis program are sessions on corporate strategy, business ethics and presentation techniques. These sessions, adding information about how to operate in a changing environment and how to understand and maximize corporate competitive strategy, bring new ideas and greater depth of knowledge to the decision-making process.

The Second-Year Session Concentrations

During the second year, participants will continue to expand their understanding of the financial side of credit during the financial warnings segment. This segment brings together the elements already covered in the first-year session, providing an in-depth look at credit strategy in a competitive environment, focusing on new techniques for credit investigation and credit granting decisions. Adding to these topics are sessions on the legal environment of credit, presentation skills, advanced negotiations and economic forecasting. Participants also present their projects and have the opportunity to take the CCE exam.

Session Descriptions

Advanced Financial Statement Analysis

The objective of this course is to make credit professionals better aware of the information contained in a firm's annual report and how to analyze it. An improved awareness equates to improved knowledge about credit risk. An emphasis will be placed on the examination of the annual report's statement of cash flows, the management discussion and analysis section, disclosure notes explaining accounting policy and other significant factors. Through a combination of lectures and case analyses, the course will emphasize analysis and interpretation of cash flows, discovery of off-balance sheet financing, and indicators to assess a firm's liquidity. Problems with some traditional financial ratios will be examined.

Corporate Strategy

Strategic management refers to a growing body of knowledge concerning the effective management of organizations in competitive environments. This particular course will provide a perspective of this field by focusing on three broad themes: one, competitive positioning; two, leveraging capabilities; three, harnessing relationships and networks. The course is designed to emphasize the special role of the General Manager – an individual who has risen in an organization beyond his or her functional base and has assumed broader responsibilities for the coordination of different functional activities and the development and implementation of a vision and strategy for the organization. Through carefully selected cases, this course will offer various cutting edge frameworks that shape the students' thinking on managing the strategic challenges of the modern corporation.

Financial Warnings: Detecting Creative Accounting Practices

Generally accepted accounting principles provide wide latitude in the selection of accounting techniques. Their aggressive and sometimes fraudulent application can cause misleading results, even permitting the reporting of profits where losses may have been more realistic. Whether earnings are overstated due to the aggressive application of accepted standards or because of fraud, economic fundamentals will eventually expose the charade. The end result will be a negative earnings adjustment, a likely net loss for the period and often several reporting periods, and a requisite reduction in forecast cash flow. Through a series of short exercises and case assignments, participants in this course are taught to detect and question potential earnings overstatements, the objective of which is to provide sufficient lead-time to permit corrective action.

Ethics in Business and Society

Business ethics involves right or wrong actions taken by corporations and their agents. These actions take place in the context of a relationship between business and society shaped by various stakeholder expectations of corporate responsibility in economic, legal, ethical and philanthropic domains. The ability of managers to respond to these expectations requires knowledge of several areas, including value-based leadership (executive mechanisms for shaping corporate culture), public policy (the role of regulatory agencies), organizational ethics (corporate governance, ethics programs, compliance), business law (Sarbanes-Oxley), stakeholder issues (public affairs, crisis management, issues management), environmentalism (sustainable business practices), personal ethics (moral reasoning), and ethical dilemmas in international business. In this seminar we will consider models and diagnostic tools for recognizing and dealing with ethical issues in a business and society context as well as ethical traditions that shape public expectations of corporate responsibility, including utilitarianism, deontology (duty), justice and fairness, human rights, ethics of care, and virtue ethics. Subsequently, students will apply this material to actual cases, using conceptual tools from the course to analyze select firms and recommend appropriate actions for managers, boards of directors, and regulatory agencies.

Successful Presentation Skills

Whether you're making impromptu comments during a meeting or giving a formal presentation, there are specific techniques to use that will ensure your success. Learn how to overcome nerves, read your audience, project confidence, use visual aids, and recover if your mind goes blank. Every speaking situation will be addressed from handling Q&A to being persuasive. Participants will receive individual coaching, videotaped examples, and group feedback in a supportive, learning environment.

Leading in the Real World

Leading in the Real World addresses the tasks of assuming leadership. You’re now a manager. You’re now a supervisor. So now what do you do?

The Content: The eight hours will be highly interactive and address several topics:

  • The nature of leadership: Remote, removed, imperial? No. Probably not. Involved. Engaged. Participative. We’ll explore the examples we’ve been exposed to and the advantages and disadvantages of each example.  
  • The leader’s roles and the leader’s tasks: What does a leader do? What does a new leader do? And how does a leader balance conflicting demands?
  • The leadership components: What three elements does a leader call upon? We’ll explore these in case studies.
  • The leadership skills: Getting organized. Communicating. Disciplining. Supporting. Solving. Specific skills. Specific lessons.
The Take-aways:By the end of the eight hours, you’ll be able to do things you may not have been able to do before:
  • Be more comfortable in your new role.
  • Explain the reasons for your decisions. Understand—and discuss—the terms.
  • Pursue a well-thought-out course of action in assuming your leadership role and implementing your leadership plans.

Leaders are made, not born. You can be the type of leader the people you serve can be proud of.  

Legal Environment of Credit

Comprehensive knowledge of business laws specific to the field of credit is critically important to each decision today's credit executive makes on a daily basis. This intensive course will focus on a broad range of advanced legal issues affecting the credit decision. This course will encompass a combination of lectures, readings, case studies and interactive discussions to enable participants to increase their knowledge of the complex issues in corporations, partnerships, sole proprietorships, contracts, bankruptcies, antitrust and negotiable instruments as they impact credit decisions.

Advanced Negotiations

All business dealings and transactions, whether small in dollar amount or in the number of products purchased and sold, result from underlying negotiations which are generally memorialized in written agreements between the parties. To create effective agreements, a mastery of negotiation skills is essential, and is attained through practice. This course, through the use of class lectures and negotiation problem solving exercises, will help participants better understand and master negotiation skills.


There is an old joke that asserts that if you placed five economists in a room you would get five different opinions - six if one is from Harvard. To the person trying to sort out the wisdom of the experts this would seem like an accurate assessment. The fact is that economists are, at heart, philosophers. Their opinions are based on beliefs as much as facts and that leaves the average person frustrated. This course will teach you how to read the tea leaves in the world of economics. We will look at all those handy statistical shorthands and figure out what they really mean. Along the way we will explore the powers that be in the world of economics - such as the Fed and its global counterparts. The intent of the course is to allow us all to become better consumers of economic data and less susceptible to the whims of economists. The class process will be heavily interactive and topical. There will be some lectures but mostly discussions.

Distinguished Instructors

NACM is proud to have secured these instructors in past program sessions. Read more about the instructors.

Wanda Borges, Esq. Susan Fee, MEd, LPC Vernon Gerety, PhD
Chris Kuehl, PhD Charles Mulford, PhD, CPA Diane Swanson, PhD
Alva Taylor, PhD Judith White, PhD

Certificate of Achievement

Participants receive the GSCFM Executive Award upon successful completion of all program requirements. Graduation will be held on the last night of the second session.

Special Achievement Honor

“I believe that NACM is setting the standard for credit management.”

—A 2008 first-year student

Selected by the members of the GSCFM class, the Best Student Award honors the individual who has made a significant contribution to the overall quality of the program, based on class participation and enhancement to the overall educational experience. The award recipient will be honored at the graduation dinner and at the following year’s NACM Annual Credit Congress.

Best Practice Insights from the GSCFM Instructors

Follow the Cash
Charles Mulford, PhD, CPA
"It's the strongest signal we have of financial strength or weakness."

Put Connection before Content
Susan Fee, MEd, LPC
"Whether it's a job interview, client presentation or updating your boss, your audience
has to like and trust you enough to listen to your content."

Make the Transition from Classroom to Workplace
Kurt Weiland
"All training, all discussion, all study is worthless—that's right, worthless—unless it
translates into behavior change and workplace improvement."

Don't Take Negotiations Personally
Judith White, PhD
"We automatically respond negatively when someone is rude or defensive or pushes
our buttons, and we just have to keep telling ourselves that we're going to get a
better outcome if we don't take it personally."

Don't Trust the Media with Economic Statistics
Chris Kuehl, PhD
"Most of what we get is either not very well explained or it's out of context."

Think Critically in Ethics
Diane Swanson, PhD
"Put aside your assumptions and approach scenarios with fresh eyes and come up with
practical recommendations."

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