Steven Finkler

Professor Emeritus of Public and Health Administration, Accounting, and Financial Management

Steven Finkler

Dr. Finkler is Professor Emeritus of Public and Health Administration, Accounting, and Financial Management. He served as Director of the Specialization in Healthcare Financial Management at Wagner for over twenty years. He is an award winning teacher and author.

He received a B.S. with joint majors in finance and accounting (Summa Cum Laude) and M.S. in Accounting (with Highest Distinction) from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. His M.A. in Economics and Ph.D. in Business Administration were awarded by Stanford University. Dr. Finkler, who is also a CPA, worked for several years as an auditor with Ernst and Young and was on the faculty of the Wharton School before joining NYU.

Among his publications are twenty-five books. Several of them are Financial Management for Public, Health, and Not-for-Profit Organizations, 4th Ed. (with Robert Purtell, Thad Calabrese, and Daniel Smith), Financial Management for Nurse Managers and Executives, 4th Ed. (with Cheryl Jones and Christine Kovner), Essentials of Cost Accounting for Health Care Organizations, 3rd Ed. (with David Ward and Judith Baker), and Accounting Fundamentals for Health Care Management, 2nd Ed. (with David Ward and Thad Calabrese).

He has published over 200 articles in Health Services ResearchThe New England Journal of MedicineAcademic MedicineHospitals and Health Services Administration, Healthcare Financial Management, Health Care Management Review, Nursing Economics, The Journal of Nursing Administration, Medical Care, and many other academic journals.

He is the former Editor of Hospital Cost Management and Accounting, and has served on the editorial boards of Health Services Research, Health Care Management Review and Research in Healthcare Financial Management. Dr. Finkler served four years as a national advisory council member at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and is a former member of the Executive Committee of the International Society for Research in Healthcare Financial Management. He also served as a member of the Board of Governors and as Treasurer of Daughters of Israel Geriatric Center, in New Jersey.

Dr. Finkler was a full-time faculty member at Wagner from 1984 until his retirement in 2006.  He currently teaches online Budgeting courses at Wagner, and also teaches educational programs for the American College of Physician Executives (ACPE).


The focus of this course is on the budget process for health care organizations. Participants are exposed to specific techniques of health care budgeting and variance analysis. The objectives for this course are for participants to improve their understanding of the budget process as it applies to health care organizations and to learn valuable specific techniques of budgeting and variance analysis. This course accomplishes its objectives by covering a wide range of budgeting topics from introductory through advanced. The course is provided in an online format.

The course has six weeks of lessons. Each week there are approximately 3 hours of Lessons using video imaging, audio, and power point slides. Students watch and listen to these Lessons online at their convenience via a Blackboard website. During each week students participate in online discussions focusing on not only the Lessons, but also readings and homework problem sets that are assigned for that week. Students taking the course for Graduate credit are required to email homework assignments each week.

Topics covered include an introduction and overview of health care budgeting covering basic definitions, purposes, and uses of budgets in health care, the long range plan, programming, operating budgets, capital budgets, and fixed and variable costs. A nursing unit operating budget is examined in detail. Additional topics covered include zero based budgeting, cost estimation and forecasting, break-even analysis, performance budgeting, flexible budget variance analysis and capital budgeting. Health care examples and applications are used throughout all parts of the organization.

Another objective of the course is to provide a working knowledge of the Excel computer software program to class participants who are not already conversant in Excel. Tutorial lessons in Excel are provided covering the basic mechanics of Excel, Excel graphs (charts), and budgeting applications of Excel.

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Now in its Fifth Edition, Financial Management for Public, Health, and Not-for-Profit Organizationsis the leading textbook on financial management in the government, health, and not-for-profit sectors providing a comprehensive yet practical introduction to the financial decision-making and management skills required of students and practitioners in the field.  Assuming readers have no prior training in financial management, the authors artfully combine the principles and theory and analytics of accounting and finance.  Coverage includes cost analysis, budget preparation, budget and variance analysis, management control, and recording and reporting financial information, with an emphasis on preparing and analyzing financial statements. The authors detail the foundational principles of each of the methods introduced in the book, and through step-by-step equations, figures, and exhibits, they illustrate how to execute financial management in practice.


Finkler, Steven A., Cheryl Jones and Christine T. Kovner. Financial Management for Nurse Managers and Executives. 4th Edition, W.B. Saunders/Elsevier, St. Louis, 2012.


Finkler, Steven A.. Finance & Accounting for Nonfinancial Managers. 4th Edition with interactive CD, CCH, 2011.


Finkler, S.A.. Financial Management for Public, Health, and Not-for-Profit Organizations, 3rd Edition. Prentice Hall, Upper Saddle River, NJ.



Covering the financial topics all nurse managers need to know and use, this book explains how financial management fits into the healthcare organization. You'll study accounting principles, cost analysis, planning and control management of the organization's financial resources, and the use of management tools. In addition to current issues, this edition also addresses future directions in financial management.



This is one of the only books available that addresses financial and managerial accounting within the framework of the three major areas of the public sector. Clear and comprehensive, Finkler's unique and accessible text provides the fundamentals of financial management for those who lack a financial background so that readers can access and apply financial information more effectively. Details the many aspects of strategic and budgetary planning. Outlines the processes involved in implementing and controlling results. Features aspects of accounting unique for Health Care, not-for-profit organizations and state and local governments. Explains balance sheets, operating and cash flow statements. Provides basic foundation for financial analysis. For managers and policy-makers in public service organizations who want to make more efficient use of their organization's financial information.



One of the few books that addresses financial and managerial accounting within the three major areas of the public sector � government, health, and not-for-profit�the Second Edition provides the fundamentals of financial management for those pursuing careers within these fields. With a unique presentation that explains the rules specific to the public sector, this book outlines the framework for readers to access and apply financial information more effectively. Employing an engaging and user-friendly approach, this book clearly defines essential vocabulary, concepts, methods, and basic tools of financial management and financial analysis that are imperative to achieving success in the field. This book is intended for financial managers and general managers who are required to obtain, understand, and use accounting information to improve the financial results of their organizations, specifically within the areas of government or public policy and management, not-for-profit management, and health policy and management.




Cost Accounting for Health Care Organizations: Concepts and Applications and Essentials of Cost Accounting for Health Care Organizations (companion book) provide a thorough coverage of cost accounting from a health care perspective. They cover all of the basic tools of cost accounting common to all industries, and use health care examples. Cost Accounting for Health Care Organizations: Concepts and Applications and Essentials of Cost Accounting for Health Care Organizations focus on costing issues and concepts peculiar to the health care field. The tools covered are all practical, although they are not all commonly used. Some approaches, such as learning curves, are commonly used in other industries but not in health care. It is our hope that readers of these books will see the value of some of these less frequently used techniques and adopt them for use in their organizations.



Brown, L., Finkler, S., et al.. Resubmission of a Grant Application: Breastfeeding Services for LBW Infants. Nursing Research, March/April 1997, Vol. 46, No. 2, pp. 119-122.


Brooten, D., Knapp, H., Borucki, L., Jacobsen, B., Finkler, S. et al.. Early Discharge and Home Care of Women Following Unplanned Cesarean Birth: A Report of Nurse Care Time. Journal of Gynecological and Neonatal Nursing, September, pp. 595-600.


Finkler, S.A.. The Financial Impact of Management Innovations by Health Centers. Journal of Ambulatory Care Management, April 1995, Vol. 18, No. 2, pp. 15-32.
Finkler, S.A. & Hanson, K.L.. Innovations by Primary Care Health Centers: Management and Policy Lessons for the Future. Journal of Ambulatory Care Management, Vol. 18, No 2., April 1995, pp. 74-80.