Course Detail

Accounting for Entrepreneurship: From Start-Up through IPO (30835, 50 Unit Course)

Course Description by Faculty

  • Berger, Philip
  • Content

    Please view video course description for more details.

    This course provides the core set of tools and strategies related to the work of a Chief Financial Officer (CFO) at a private, entrepreneurial company as well as to the work of those who provide funding to the company, work for the company, or are founders of the company. The course follows the life-cycle of a company that begins as a start-up, and covers the accounting-related financial metrics, and the managerial, financial and tax accounting issues that are centrally important for an entrepreneur in the private firm environment.

    We will cover topics relevant at the earliest stages of a business, such as setting up the initial accounting infrastructure, through to the company’s exit. The exit would typically be to a strategic buyer, a private equity firm or via an IPO, Direct Listing, or SPAC. The course will be of particular interest to those who may become start-up founders or key employees as well as to those who may invest in early stage firms.

    Selected topics:

    • Setting up the initial infrastructure for the information system used by a start-up, including tracking the equity capitalization (i.e., the capitalization table).
    • Structuring and accounting for equity based employee compensation, for founders and employees.
    • Reporting key performance indicators to the company, the board of directors and investors such as venture capital and private equity funds.
    • Sale process, working capital adjustment, and roll-over equity for a management team.
    • Accounting and applying for debt as a private company, such as bank debt, venture debt, and account receivable lines of credit.
    • Accounting information required for a fundraising process.

    Class Meets Summer 2023:  8/7, 8/8, 8/10, 8/11, 8/12

  • Prerequisites
    Prereq: Cannot enroll if 30121 taken previously.
    • No non-Booth Students

  • Materials


    1. Readings and Cases via on-line University of Chicago Canvas system
    2. Canvas paperless “handouts” each week.
    3. Text-book: Entrepreneurial Finance and Accounting for High-Tech Companies, by Frank Fabozzi, MIT Press, November 2016.1st edition
  • Grades

    Your grade is based on your score out of a possible 265 points. The course cannot be taken pass/fail. The points are allocated as follows:

    Final exam 134 (individual work)

    Problem sets (best 1 of 2) 30 (individual work)

    Cases (best 2 of 3) 80 (group work) 

    Class Participation 21 (individual work)

    Total Points 265


    The final exam will be taken virtually via Canvas as a timed exam and will be “open book” to allow you to use course content (including old exams with suggested solutions) when taking the final exam.  It will be a timed exam (you will likely be given 2.5 hours to take what will be designed as a 2 hour exam).  There will be a multiple week window during which the exam will be available for you to take it.  The window will open near the end of August and will close on September 18th.

    • No pass/fail grades

  • Syllabus
  • Summer 2023Section: 30835-88EMBA1 2:00PM-5:00PMHarper CenterC0250 Unit Course
Description and/or course criteria last updated: February 28 2023