Finance is a broad term for all things concerning the study, creation, management, and allocation of funds and investments. The study, evaluation, collection, and allocation of funds are deemed to be part of the discipline of Finance. This includes the analysis of the financial information needed for the decision making process in any organization. This also applies to the allocation of resources to meet goals, as well as the preparation and distribution of payments and incentives for employees.
Finance can be defined as the application of accounting principles to solve economic problems and make economic decisions. These decisions are made based on the use of models and the application of certain laws, principles, and ideas that are learned through specialized training and experience. In other words, one can say that Finance is about accounting. Finance deals with the whole gamut of human activities aimed at understanding, using, making, and managing money and other financial assets.
One must learn the basic concepts of finance through formal education such as law, accountancy, economics, and the business school. Then, one should acquire knowledge about the various techniques and methodologies used in applying these concepts in everyday operations. Some of the most important areas of focus include portfolio theory, portfolio optimization, financial models and investment theory, bank financing, non-bank financing, and financial institutions.
After mastering the various concepts of finance, you may decide to specialize in any of the wide variety of financial activities. You can become a banker or a financial analyst. A financial analyst analyzes financial market data and makes forecasts about how various sectors of the economy will perform, what impact will have on specific areas, and how the forecasted results will affect the future direction of the sector in question. On the other hand, a banker specializes in creating financial products that individuals and companies can purchase to provide them with short-term financing. In the corporate finance field, an individual or a company will create financial products that will raise capital for either mergers and acquisitions or for the start-up of a new venture.
In addition to the broad scope of positions in finance, there are also specialized finance positions available. Chief executive officers are typically involved in the day-to-day management of the organization’s finances. Chief financial officers are responsible for analyzing and reviewing the organization’s cash flow, income and balance sheet, and overall credit rating. These finance professionals are usually responsible for the strategic decisions regarding financing, capital budgeting, and debt repayment. In some cases, these executives may also serve as co-chief executive officers, overseeing the overall management of the finance department.
Finance graduates can pursue careers in several fields of banking including commercial banking, securities and investment banking, and bank lending. The degree program offered at most finance schools is aligned with the prerequisites of a bachelor’s degree. Finance graduates can also pursue post-graduate studies in areas of public finance, government finance, or economic policy. Graduates may be interested in working in government, private industry, or nonprofit organizations. A degree in finance is one of the most highly sought after graduate degrees in today’s business world.