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Certified Expert in Accounting, Leadership and Sustainability

Regardless of which industry you work in, being a leader and  making decisions in your company requires profound knowledge of accounting, because accounting is the language of business. This course will make you familiar with this language.

What Do We Offer?

  • An interactive e-learning course including video lectures, PDF scripts, examples, practical exercises, self-assessment online tests and case studies
  • A discussion forum for course related issues as well as for exchange of opinions and experiences with your classmates, tutors or the FSDF e-Campus team
  • Personalized support from your e-Campus team
  • The possibility of attaining a Frankfurt School Certificate after passing the final exam or a confirmation of course completion after completing the course. After passing the final exam, you will earn 3 ECTS (academic credit points of the European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System). The points can be credited to other academic learning programs. 

Tuition Fees*


Regular Tuition Fee:  EUR 1,900

Early Bird Fee: EUR 1,600 (by July 31)


- 10% group discount (for two or more participants working for the same institution, informed to us before by email)

- 10% Alumni discount

- For company packages, please contact us

Payment Options
  • Bank transfer (bank fees have to be covered by the participant)
  • Credit card
  • PayPal

Payment in instalments is not possible.

*Subject to change

Target Audience

You are the ideal candidate for this course if:

  • You are a finance professional who seeks to take on a new role related to sustainability or development issues in your organization or industry
  • You bring a different background but are looking for a change in your career path
  • You are ready to take a leadership position and seek a more rigorous finance grounding for what you do
  • You wish to follow an excellent course alongside a full-time job to achieve your professional goals
  • You want to study from home while enjoying the benefits of an international class and interaction with faculty and experts


The course takes approx. 6 months assuming 5-6 hours of self-study per week. It consists of 6 units which build upon each other. You will take the units in sequence and will  need to pass an online multiple choice test before accessing the next unit.

Unit 4 includes an assignment which you will need to submit at a fixed deadline.

You are not sure if you manage to complete the course within 6 months? No worries! You can apply for a course extension (6 more months) against an administrative fee.


Course Start Course End Registration Early Bird
Sept. 1 Feb. 29 Jun. 1 - Sept. 1  By Jul. 15
Mar. 1 Aug. 31 Dec. 1 - Mar. 1 By Jan. 15


Registration for the September intake is now open. Register by July 31 to take advantage of our early bird discount

Course Details*

The Certified Expert in Accounting, Leadership and Sustainability online course introduces concepts and theories of financial and managerial accounting.  It also provides a comprehensive overview of the frameworks and principles shaping the way organizations disclose their sustainability efforts, ensuring transparency and long-term value creation. It focuses on leadership aspects in accounting. Participants will get acquainted with how accounting information is used in decision-making and how leadership designs accounting systems and strategically uses the disclosure system to achieve targets. The course covers applied topics of accounting and leadership.

*subject to change

Unit 1

Foundations of Financial Reporting

Financial accounting is a more standardised language because it is highly regulated. Unit 1 shows you how to read and understand financial statements, which is a necessary step for analysing them. You will also learn what the objectives of financial reporting are. In particular, we introduce you to International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS), a set of globally accepted accounting standards which are increasingly used across the world. You will become familiar with the basic principles of the IFRS and that there might be conflicts between different objectives of accounting.

Unit 2

Accounting Analysis and Management of Financial Performance

Financial reports are the outcome of the financial reporting process. Understanding IFRS reports might be of high practical relevance for several reasons: (1) Many stakeholders base their economic decision making on published financial statements; accounting will likely have an impact on cost of capital. (2) In banks, credit decisions require thorough financial statement analysis, in most cases the clients of a bank are not from the financial sector. This unit introduces you to financial statement analysis, i.e. how financial statements are used in economic decision making. The Unit deals with common size financial statements, introduces key financial indicators, but also more sophisticated tools that help us to assess a firm’s operating profitability. The Unit also discusses different valuation models and helps you to understand which role financial accounting data plays in equity valuation. Furthermore, this unit shows the role that corporate strategy plays in the formulation of financial KPIs and the impact these indicators have on a company’s targets and control process.

Unit 3

Basics of Cost Accounting

In Unit 3, you will learn the basics of cost accounting. This includes important concepts such as direct and indirect costs, variable and fixed costs, and total versus unit costs. To calculate profits of products or divisions, we need to allocate overhead costs. There are different options and depending on the option you choose some product or departments will look more profitable or less profitable – although the underlying business activities do not change! Specifically, the unit will introduce you to methods for allocating support department costs, to job costing, and activity-based costing. Understanding these choices is important for any performance evaluation exercise and particularly important for all if responsible for a department or business unit. Moreover, understanding cost allocation is also important, if you want to analyse investment proposals by corporate loan seekers.

Unit 4

Analysing Costs for Managerial Decision Making

Unit 4 covers important techniques for analysing costs for managerial decision-making. The module will guide you through cost-volume profit analysis which addresses the question of how many units you need to sell to break-even. Moreover, absorption costing and variable costing are explained, which are highly relevant to calculate the value of inventory and to calculate operating income of businesses that have inventories. Finally, you will be introduced to lower price limits and to choosing the optimal product or service mix when capacities are lower than customer demand.

Unit 5

Behavioural Aspects in Accounting

Unit 5 introduces you to economic and psychological aspects of incentives. The knowledge provided in this unit is important for all leaders, as people in leading positions must evaluate the performance of their subordinates. We will consider the non-monetary aspects that drive human behaviour and are relevant in accounting settings, such as social comparison, fairness, honesty and reciprocity. Finally, the Unit will also provide you with recent insights regarding psychological pitfalls (heuristics and biases) in decision making, for example self-justification, overconfidence, and the sunk-cost effect.

Unit 6

Sustainability reporting

The last module provides a comprehensive overview of the frameworks and principles shaping the way organizations disclose their sustainability efforts, ensuring transparency and long-term value creation. This comprehensive module equips you with the knowledge and skills to effectively navigate the complex landscape of sustainability reporting and contribute to the sustainable finance movement. Understanding the role of disclosures in sustainable finance is crucial. Students explore how sustainability disclosures can redirect capital flows towards more sustainable investments. By mainstreaming sustainability into risk management, organizations can enhance their resilience and better manage potential risks. Adopting a long-term perspective and maintaining transparency are key benefits of effective sustainability reporting. The module covers various reporting frameworks, starting with the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), one of the most widely used sustainability reporting standards. You'll also learn about the International Sustainability Standards Board (ISSB) and the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB), which promote consistent and comparable sustainability disclosures. Additionally, you'll delve into the European Sustainability Reporting Standards (ESRS), which are tailored to the European context. A significant portion of the module is dedicated to the foundations of ESRS reporting. You'll examine the structure and contents of ESRS sustainability reports, understand the importance of materiality analysis in identifying relevant sustainability topics within your operations and value chain, and explore the qualitative characteristics that make sustainability reports effective. The module also provides an overview of topical ESRS issues. You'll gain insights into climate change and pollution, water and marine resources, ecosystems and the circular economy, workforce considerations, and the impact on customers, affected communities, and business conduct.  In addition to ESRS, the module covers other relevant regulations in Europe. You'll explore the EU Taxonomy, which defines sustainable business activities, and the Sustainable Finance Disclosure Regulation (SFDR), which outlines what constitutes sustainable financial products. Finally, the module examines the relationship between sustainability reporting and capital markets. You'll investigate whether there is a "greenium" or premium for green investments, understand the significance of sustainability ratings, and learn about the assurance processes that ensure the credibility of sustainability reports.

Training Approach

The flexibility of our courses offers you the opportunity to follow you own schedule and to combine daily work with professional development.

The highest quality offered will immediately improve your daily job performance as well as the performance of your institution.

Training Material

Video Lectures

  • Introvideos: After viewing the lectures, participants will have a basic understanding of each topic and will be able to classify importance and relevance of different techniques and aspects in a broader context.
  • Web-based Presentations: Web based presentation complement the scripts and give additional input on important topics.

Online Tests

Each unit ends with an online test comprising a set of 15 multiple choice questions. Only after having successfully completed an online test you will gain access to the next unit.

Reading Material

A PDF script is for most of our courses the main studying material. This reading material provides basic concepts and principles applicable to the subject of each unit.


The key to successful learning is the immediate use of newly acquired knowledge and the transfer of theory into practice. Our online courses are therefore supplemented by mandatory assignments.

Discussion Forum

A course discussion forum enables the interaction between participants and trainers and facilitates the exchange of experiences as well as possibilities to ask questions or get clarifications.

Suggestions and Recommendations

This course gives you the flexibility to decide on the timing and pace of your learning experience. However we will provide you with recommendations for you to take as much as possible from this course.

Your schedule: We will provide you a course schedule including voluntary and mandatory deadlines. The course schedule serves as a guideline for your personal learning schedule and will help you complete the programme within the given time frame.

Exercises: Even though the exercises in the script are not mandatory we strongly advise that you use them as an opportunity to check your knowledge and to prepare for the final exam.

Networking Opportunities: Use the forum to introduce yourself to your peer participants and to start interesting discussions.

Final Exam

Passing a final examination is a requirement for obtaining your certificate.

  • Location: The final exam takes place online
  • Duration: The final exam takes 2 hours.
  • Costs: An additional final exam fee will be charged for the second and third final exam attempt.

If you do not wish to take the final exam, you will receive a confirmation of course participation after completing the course.

Course Authors & Trainer

Joerg Werner

Prof. Dr. Jörg Werner

Prof. Dr. Jörg R. Werner is Professor of Accounting at Frankfurt School of Finance & Management since 2011. His research areas are international and comparative accounting with a particular focus on empirical methods, but also on regulatory issues in accounting and corporate governance.


Matthias Mahlendorf

Prof. Dr. Matthias D. Mahlendorf

Prof. Dr. Matthias D. Mahlendorf is Professor of Managerial Accounting at Frankfurt School of Finance & Management. His research areas are performance measurement and relative performance information. 


Course Trainer: Philip Stalter
CEAF_Course Trainer

Philipp Stalter graduated in 2011 with a Bachelor degree from the Baden-Wuerttemberg Cooperative State University Mannheim (Duale Hochschule Baden-Württemberg in Mannheim). He focused on tax law and auditing. In 2013, he started an extra-occupational Master degree with the Frankfurt School in cooperation with the University of applied science Mainz (Hochschule Mainz). Philipp graduated in 2016 and works as a lecturer for the Frankfurt School since then.


From 2011 to 2017, Philipp worked at KPMG in the Financial Services division. He was in charge of the annual audit for clients in the banking sector and other financial services institutions. He gave support to advisory projects as well and was part of the internal training team in the service line audit at KPMG.

Since 2018, Philipp Stalter works with HLB - Foerderer, Keil und Partner (a medium-sized auditing firm) in Germany. As a partner at FKP he is responsible for the audit division and performs annual audits for clients in the industry sector and advises small and medium-sized companies on tax issues. Furthermore, he is head of the audit working group at the HLB network in Germany.

Course contributes to UN SDGs

All our courses contribute to the following SDGs


This course will enhance your knowledge in the following SDGs. The SWA offers professional and executive courses dedicated to the advancement of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).