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What is Finance?

Finance can be defined as the art and science of managing money. Virtually all individuals and organizations earn or raise money and spend or invest money. Finance is concerned with the process, institutions, markets, and instruments involved in the transfer of money among individuals, businesses, and governments. Most adults will benefit from an understanding of finance, which will enable them to make better personal financial decisions. Those who work in financial jobs will benefit by being able to interface effectively with the firm’s financial personnel, processes, and procedures.

Major areas and opportunities in Finance

The major areas of finance can be summarized by reviewing the career opportunities in finance. These opportunities can, for convenience, be divided into two broad parts: financial services and managerial finance.

Financial Services

Financial services is the area of finance concerned with the design and delivery of advice and financial products to individuals, business, and government. It involves a variety of interesting career opportunities within the areas of banking and related institutions, personal financial planning, investments, real estate, and insurance. Managerial Finance

Managerial finance is concerned with the duties of the financial manager in the business firm. Financial managers actively manage the financial affairs of any type of businesses—financial and nonfinancial, private and public, large and small, profit-seeking and not-for-profit. They perform such varied financial tasks as planning, extending credit to customers, evaluating proposed large expenditures, and raising money to fund the firm’s operations. In recent years, the changing economic and regulatory environments have increased the importance and complexity of the financial manager’s duties. As a result, many top executives have come from the finance area.

Another important recent trend has been the globalization of business activity. U.S. corporations have dramatically increased their sales, purchases, investments, and fund raising in other countries, and foreign corporations have likewise increased these activities in the United States. These changes have created a need for financial managers who can help a firm to manage cash flows in different currencies and protect against the risks that naturally arise from international transactions. Although these changes make the managerial finance function more complex, they can also lead to a more rewarding and fulfilling career.

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