Course Description

This online course is 36 learning hours over twelve weeks, including 7.5 hours of live online sessions. It is recommended that students spend a minimum of 3 hours each week on coursework. Students may choose to complete more hours of work on the course in order to explore the content in more depth.

This course examines the reasons for financial planning with particular application to the fire department budget. The budget cycle is examined and a brief introduction to public accounting is made. The course proceeds to examine sources of municipal revenue and the criteria to evaluate the effect of these sources on the community. The course ends with a more detailed presentation of municipal expenditures.

Course Outline

Unit 1: Introduction to Municipal Financial Management

This unit will examine the meaning of the words “financial management” and will look at the structure and environment of municipal financial affairs. In particular, it highlights the roles played by the public, elected officials, administrators, and others in the financial management process.

Unit 2: Techniques and Processes in Municipal Finance

This unit will introduce a number of financial management concepts and explain what each involves. Fund accounting, cash management, financial reporting, capital and operating budgets, program and zero-based budgeting, and several other processes are considered both as management techniques and as organizational processes.

Unit 3: Sources of Municipal Revenue

This unit will review municipal revenue sources, including both tax and non-tax sources. A part of this unit will examine the economics of taxation or tax theory, particularly with respect to property tax.

Unit 4: Municipal Government Expenditures

Finally, in Unit 4, municipal expenditures will be considered, and classification systems described. Expenditures will be discussed from the point of view of the objects of an expenditure versus the function or purpose of an expenditure.

What You Will Learn

Students will gain a working knowledge of the budgeting process, theory of taxation, and impact of change on financial management. This is not an accounting course… it is about financial management.


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The Faculty of OLCD recommends an intermediate level of English language proficiency for the most effective learning and participation in our online and face-to-face courses. A list of minimum recommended scores on some common English tests can be found on our website. If you have questions about your English language proficiency and ability to succeed in this course, please contact openlearning@dal.ca.


This course is one of six required courses in the Certificate in Fire Service Administration program. The Certificate in Fire Service Leadership program is a prerequisite to the CFSA program.

Prerequisite: Completion of the "Certificate in Fire Service Leadership".

Recommended For

The ideal student will currently hold a “middle management” position within their organization and aspire to fill a more senior role. The student will have taken or is planning to take other learning in the fields of strategic planning, human resource development, etc., and recognizes that financial management is an essential skill in order to be an effective senior manager. The student will recognize and be prepared to fulfil the time commitment required to participate in the discussion format and will complete written submissions.

Thank you for your interest in this course. Unfortunately, the course you have selected is currently not open for enrolment. Please complete a Course Inquiry so that we may promptly notify you when enrolment opens.
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