We all use money and manage our personal finances, but what does it mean to study finance in a business context? Corporate finance encompasses the process of acquiring needed funding as well as how that funding is managed and allocated within an organization.
In terms of day to day operations, that means knowing proper accounting and bookkeeping practices to accurately track cash flows in and out of different business areas, and managing the company balance sheet to ensure the lights stay on. In the bigger picture, finance expertise is critical for planning any business funding strategy, regardless of the mix of cash, debt, and equity investors and equity sources like venture capital, private equity, or even an IPO.
While money may be the ultimate fungible commodity, careers in finance aren’t as interchangeable as some people think! Traditional jobs in finance include accountants and certified public accountants (CPAs), controllers, actuaries, bankers, and financial planners, and these services are always in demand. Higher up the ladder, most large corporations have a chief financial officer (CFO) in the C-suite.
Just as the world of finance is evolving, so are fast-growing careers in this field. For example, environmental accountants provide guidance at the intersection of the environment and business, with responsibilities such as determining compliance costs for regulations and identifying cost-saving environmental initiatives. Forensic accountants are the detectives of the financial world, with responsibility for “following the money” in cases of corporate fraud, corruption, organized crime, and increasingly complex financial crimes.
Regardless of what type of career you want to pursue, investing in your education can help you get there.