The analysis and administration of finances is one of the most consequential facets of business management. How organizations acquire and use funds and the assessment of the viability, stability, and profitability of a company requires careful evaluation and interpretation.
Finance is defined as the science of money management. It encompasses the creation and governance of money, banking, credit, assets, liabilities and investments. Finance can be broken down into three distinct categories, personal, corporate and public finance.
Personal finance refers to individual or household financial planning and incorporates six key areas:
Financial positioning examines individual resources by exploring cash flow and net worth to achieve financial goals.
Adequate protection is concerned with safeguarding a household from unforeseen risks.
Tax planning looks to optimize tax management to minimize tax expenses.
Investment and accumulation goals focus on the gathering of money for key life events.
Retirement planning involves understanding retirement costs and addressing income needs during later life.
Estate planning refers to the disposal of assets after death.
Corporate finance, on the other hand, is concerned with capital structure and sources of funding for businesses, alongside tools and analysis to optimize cash flow and allocate financial resources. Finance specialists consider actions to increase the value of a firm or stock for shareholders and engage in decision making on the allocation of financial resources. Balancing risk against profitability is a key function.
Public finance is money management related to public entities. The financial focus differs from corporations who endure short term profit forecasting and scrutiny. Public entities typically focus on investment decisions from a long-term strategic perspective. Budget management, debt issuance for projects with public interest, and the consideration of revenues sources are key financial roles within public entities.
It is becoming increasingly common for businesses to outsource aspects of financial services to a skilled professional either within their local area or even overseas. Tasks such as analysis, interpretation of financial reports, research, and analysis of market trends, assessment of portfolio structure, preparation of financial activity reports, financial accounting and forecasting are regularly outsourced, alongside similar tasks.
When seeking a finance analyst, financial accountant, controller, finance manager or similar freelancer to complete finance related activities, it is important to complete background research, including a review of personal qualifications. Finance specialists should typically possess a minimum degree level accreditation. Generalist finance qualifications include Master of Finance, Masters of Financial Economics, Chartered Financial Analyst, Financial Risk Manager, Corporate Finance Qualification, Certified Valuation Analyst and a host of similar education outputs. Depending on the prospective area of employment, a more specialist qualification might be beneficial, for example - in financial accounting.
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