353.01 Equity Valuation and Advanced Financial Statement Analysis


Valuing a business—big or small—is often a central focus of leading legal, banking, investment and business institutions.

  • It drives whether a company does an acquisition or sale.
  • It is often a key component in damages in litigation.
  • It guides how managers make disclosures in private transactions and public filings.
  • At its most macro level, it drives the policy of governments.

This course provides students with the tools to understand valuation principles, coupled with the depth of accounting necessary to understand the drivers of that valuation—all using the rigor of Certified Financial Analyst (CFA) materials.

Whether working at a bank, a law firm, a prosecutor's office, an agency or an investment manager, many graduates find themselves without the skills needed to understand the value of entities and their financial statements. Those who have these skills are highly valued and often end up running corporations, law firms, and agencies.

This is a high-level course for those with experience in corporate finance and accounting. It is designed to give the advanced student a deeper dive into important concepts relating to equity valuation and financial statement analysis. Familiarity with numbers is essential.

The areas of focus include:

  • Equity Valuation Process
  • Discounted Dividend Valuation
  • Free Cash Flow Valuation
  • Market-Based Valuation: Price Multiples
  • Residual Income Valuation
  • Financial Reporting Mechanics
  • Financial Reporting Standards
  • Advanced Topics in Understanding the Income Statement
  • Advanced Topics in Understanding the Balance Sheet
  • Advanced Topics in Understanding the Cash Flow Statement
  • Financial Analysis Techniques
  • International Standards Convergence
  • Financial Statement Analysis: Applications
  • Inventories
  • Long-Lived Assets
  • Income Taxes
  • Long-Lived Liabilities and Leases
  • Employee Compensation: Postretirement and Share-Based Intercorporate Investments
  • Multinational Operations
  • Evaluating Financial Reporting Quality

Course Materials

The two primary texts are Equity Asset Valuation, 4th Edition (CFA Institute Investment Series), by Pinto (Wiley, 2020), and International Financial Statement Analysis, 4th Edition (CFA Institute Investment Series), by Robinson (Wiley, 2020). Handouts and problem sets will be distributed in class. Problem sets will be graded.

Course Requirements

1. Class Attendance and Preparation

Students are expected to attend all sessions. You should read appropriate materials prior to class.

2. Problem Sets

Problem sets will be assigned throughout the class. Most of these will be graded. Some problems will not be graded and will be done in teams.

3. Examinations

There will be a three-hour mid-term examination on the Equity Valuation section of the course and a three-hour final examination on the Financial Statement Analysis section.

4. Grading

Final course grades will be determined by the following allocation:

  • 25% Class Participation
  • 25% Problem Sets
  • 25% Mid-Term Exam
  • 25% Final Exam

5. The Honor Code

You are expected to follow the Duke University Honor Code. Specific issues concerning homework and the final examination will be discussed in the first class meeting.

6. Prerequisites

One of the following courses (or their equivalents): Corporate Finance, Accounting, or Financial Information. Exceptions can be made by the instructor.

Fall 2021

Course Number Course Credits Evaluation Method Instructor Meeting Day/Times Room
Course Credits
Bill Brown M/W 8:55 AM-10:20 AM 4045
Sakai site: https://sakai.duke.edu/portal/site/LAW.353.01.F21
Email list: LAW.353.01.F21@sakai.duke.edu
Degree Requirements
Course Requirements - JD
Course Requirements - LLM
Course Areas of Practice