For 40 years, the Financial Accounting Institute (FAI) has been the leader in preparing and teaching finance and accounting courses tailored to the utility industry. FAI teaches seminars in popular cities like Las Vegas for individuals as well as customized seminars at companies for larger groups. FAI has trained more than 40,000 utility professionals representing more than 1,000 utilities and utility related firms.


FAI’s success began with its identification of the utility industry’s real need for effective training programs in finance and accounting for non-financial professionals. Based on the reaction of the people who have attended the over 1,300 seminars conducted to date, though, what sets FAI apart from others in the field is the dedication and innovation of its instructor, Dr. Joel Berk.

While teaching at Columbia University Dr. Berk was awarded the prestigious William H. Newman Award for Teaching Excellence and Innovation. As a Professor in the Graduate School of Business at Columbia, Joel provided his students with a basic knowledge of accounting and infused them with enthusiasm for the business world.  His teaching made it easy to remember and use the basic formulae and tenets they learned in his version of Accounting 101.

In 1981, Dr. Berk helped found the Financial Accounting Institute. For over three decades now, he’s been designing and teaching finance and accounting courses and seminars specific to the electric, gas and telephone industries. His utility-oriented students have included lawyers, accountants, engineers, managers, PR professionals, executives, public utility commissioners, regulators, investment analysts and many others. More than 140 companies have invited him to custom-design programs and teach for them at their facilities. More than 40,000 utility professionals have attended his two or three day courses to gain or improve their understanding of utility finance and accounting.

Why have so many organizations found FAI’s seminars so valuable they send more and more of their financial and non-financial professionals? Based on feedback from attendees, the answer is Dr. Berk’s unusual ability to clearly explain complex concepts and his use of humor to enliven the lectures. As a result, demand for his seminars continues to exceed his availability — little wonder, when participants evaluate their experience as “Best class I’ve ever taken,” “best presentation I’ve encountered,” and “Joel Berk is one of the most knowledgeable and humorous instructors I’ve ever seen.”

Dr. Joel Berk
Accounting professor at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Business for 16 years, Joel now specializes in training for the utility industry. more >