On Demand Audio

Understanding Financial Statements

(667 reviews)

Produced on July 16, 2015

Taught by
Get started now

$299 / year - Access to this Course and 1,500+ Lawline courses


Course Information

Time 89 minutes
Difficulty Beginner

Course Description

Understanding financial statements is an integral part of an attorney’s practice from advising a client in a divorce to running your own practice. This course, presented by attorney Steve Pipenger, explores three aspects of accounting and bookkeeping for you and your clients.


First, Steve discusses basic accounting and bookkeeping to understand where financial statements come from, basing the inquiry on the "magical" Assets = Liabilities + Equity equation.


Mr. Pipenger then offers an in-depth analysis at the three main financial statements: the balance sheet, the income statement and the cash flow statement (often called the P/L or profit and loss statement). Steve explores the differences between them, what a person can learn from them, and the variations in how the creator of the financial statements can present the information.


In addition, Steve looks at ways to analyze and interpret these statements and the numbers therein, including a discussion on ratio analyses.


Learning Objectives:

I.    Explore financial flows

II.   Identify the basic differences in financial statements

III.  Summarize what to look for when analyzing statements

IV.  Recognize each aspect of the statement

V.   Understand certain types of financial ratios within their proper context 



Credit Information

This course is pre-approved for CLE credit in the following states. If your state is not listed, contact support for more information on how to receive credit


Steve Pipenger

Cowie & Pipenger, LLP

Steve has counseled clients in the formation of businesses, business disputes, employment law matters and other litigation matters. These representations have included breach of contract and breach of fiduciary duty matters; and matters involving violation of federal and state employment laws. Most importantly, Steve has achieved results for clients winning a number of cases on summary judgment, motions to dismiss and post-hearing briefs after administrative hearings. This experience has taught Steve that the most economical way to settle disputes is to stay out of court. Yet, sadly, when anyone can sue you for anything, you have to be prepared, and Steve has the experience to represent you in a cost-effective, value-added manner.

Prior to practicing law, Steve worked for MCI as well as a start-up company (FiberNet Telecom Group formerly FTGX on NASDAQ) managing cost, financial and pricing data for large-scale satellite and terrestrial network build-outs. While with MCI, Steve was responsible for interfacing with top management with customers as well as within MCI particularly with the drafting of the annual revenue plan and evaluation of prior year plan to actual revenue analysis. He also consistently interacted with customers to assess their on-going technological needs drafting pricing proposals for modifications to main contracts.

With this extensive legal and business experience, Cowie & Pipenger, LLP brings a unique understanding to the practice of law. Whether it is starting a business, drafting contracts, understanding employment laws and cost-effectively complying with those laws, preventing and minimizing the possibility of litigation or, if the need arises, to bring suit or defend you in a lawsuit, we have the know-how to maximize value to you.


Claire C.

Fantastic presenter - you could really tell he cared about the subject and that made me care too.

Karen M.

Made a boring and alien/complex subject interesting and understandable. Very well prepared presentation. Thank you

Iris G.

This was an excellent course, with loads of important information. I plan to listen to it a second time.

Richard K.

Great presentation!!!

Sergio V.

The presenter is one of the best in your service. He should be a full time member of the faculty. If there is no such position, it should be created for him. Best ever!

Albert L.

Seemed to have a single message which was line items on a financial statement can mean almost anything.

Philip S.

The speaker was knowledgeable but not that effective. He was all over the place and it was difficult to follow him.

Kile T.

The instructor was great. Very informative and engaging.

Rochelle S.

Good presentation

John S.

I liked the way he related the various financial statements to what is really happening with the business. I have not seen this before and it is very helpful.

William S.

Thank you

Elisa P.

Speaker was pleasant to listen to, knowledgeable, clear and explained material well and simply.

Louise B.

very informative

William M.

Good presentation.

Thomas J.

Important facts

Janet M.

Very interesting

S Margaret P.

This would be great as a 2-hr program.


Great seminar on basic accounting principles.

Load More