Finance is a broader term for things about the science, development, and management of funds and investments. There are many different areas in which one can specialize in finance, with certifications offered to those with a particular expertise in the field. Finance is an ever-changing field, with new advances being made on a regular basis. Anyone interested in making progress in this field should be knowledgeable about the current advances in the financial markets.
One of the three main areas of focus within finance is risk management. Risk management encompasses a variety of approaches to reducing financial risk, including financial engineering, portfolio optimization, insurance, and derivatives. There are also non-financial methods of reducing financial risk such as estate planning counseling. Another key area of finance is international and cross-regional analysis. These include such practices as macroprudential, investor financing, and government finance.
A third area is that of asset and estate planning, which looks at how to best use assets to create wealth. Assets include goods and services produced by businesses; accounts receivable and accounts payable, which are the accounts that businesses owe customers, and inventory. The planning process often includes asset allocation, financial strategy, allocation to income and loss, and allocation to assets and liabilities. The third area of finance is primarily concerned with tax. A financial analyst will often not only be involved in managing finances for a business, but also in assisting individuals and corporations with taxes.
Banking is the process of creating and managing money. The term “bank” typically identifies a physical bank building, although digital and online banking has increasingly become part of the banking industry. Banking includes a wide range of activities such as loan sales and credit, asset management, investment decision making, deposit management, and public fund and bond trading. In addition, banking involves a wide range of administrative services, including insurance and trust management.
Corporate finance refers to the methods, strategies, and internal procedures that are used to acquire, manage, and utilize capital assets. Examples of the items included in corporate finance include the purchase of tangible assets, working capital management, capital budgeting, and mergers and acquisitions. The main objective of corporate finance is the efficient management of resources, including profits. Some examples of these policies include asset allocation, income statement management, short-term and long-term financing, and financial reporting. While some of the decisions made within the corporate finance arena require detailed analysis, there are some areas that can be well-processed by using simple models and formulas.
Debt issuance refers to issuing financial instruments in exchange for payments. Examples of debt securities are corporate bonds, commercial loans, and bills of exchange. Public finance is an area of study that relates to the spending of public funds. Public finance concerns governmental institutions, such as colleges, the government, and the like. A large part of public finance is devoted to budgeting, which is the process of determining how to allocate resources between necessary and desired activities. Finance students can major in all of these fields if they choose to specialize in any one of them.