In April, Imperial College Executive Education will open the doors to executives from across the business spectrum seeking a firm foundation in global finance and accounting to further their careers.
Why should “non-finance” managers bother themselves in this technology hyper-charged world where… “surely thats what my accountant, finance department or online banking app is for?” you may ask.
In the early days of this century a famous high street bank had a campaign talking about how they were ‘Fluent in Finance’. A decade later, with one global crash under our belt and another on the way (probably) – there is significant irony with their assertion and worse the implication that ‘we’re fluent in finance… so you don’t have to be’.
Every sector has it’s own language, their own concepts, their own shorthand. Sometimes this is by necessity, others to simply keep interlopers out. We’ve all done it at one time or another in business – use technical jargon when plain and simple English will do. The financial world can be one of the worst offenders for obscuring the obvious through language.
For most the ‘small print’ is small because the businesses supplying it assume that you wouldn’t understand it, and even if you did, there is nothing you could do about it.
In your private life navigating a mortgage, a pension, any kind of investment or even simply opening a new bank account can be painful and hard on the eyes – you can only really hope that you made the right decision and if it was the wrong one that you can get out of it.
In business the stakes are considerably higher, jargon denser and implications more severe.
Within any organisation there are those whose job it is to be…’fluent in finance…so you don’t have to’.
With all the socio-economic changes that have happened since the crash, however having passable, conversational ‘finance speak’ to communicate your ideas, projects and plans has become more than a ‘nice to have’ to have.
Understanding the financial health of your business and how to plan for expansion and change – regardless of your pay grade – helps you understand why things are the way they are, what might happen as a result of movements outside the business and how to plan for those eventualities.
For example, say you are a budget holder – doesn’t matter what budget, what’s important is that you have it . “This is my Budget, there are many like it but this one is mine” you think.
There are a tonne of influencing factors as to whether or not your prized budget is going to go up or down which you have absolutely no influence over.
Or do you?
If you had been following the market and realised that share prices were down as investors were only interested in businesses who were selling, say, polkadot canaries and yours are plaid – before that budget conversation – then perhaps you might consider shifting your views on the benefits of plaid, which hides stains well and that’s about it, versus the clean solid curves and modern look of a good polkadot commodity.
If you were paying attention to what the competition is up to and how they are financing their growth you might come to the conclusion that in fact Canaries are off the perch entirely as ‘Tinder-for-Canaries’ just isn’t a cost effective way of sourcing them and we need to find a new way or that in fact Budgies are the new black and we should innovate the competition out of the market!
Speak the language of business
Understanding how the external perception of the business, it’s supply chain, it’s product and positioning it’s all absolutely underpinned by being fluent in finance. Your budget (and budgie for that matter) are entirely dependent on that holistic view of how the business is doing. Being forewarned is absolutely being forearmed.
An executive education in finance
Joining Franklin Allen and John Percival in April or October at Imperial London will give you the insight and knowledge to achieve more in your role.
Whether you are in IT, R&D, sales, or a business unit leader you have things you want to do and pursue. To turn those plans into reality and communicate financial sense you need a foundation in finance and accounting that puts the theory into a contextual framework and uses practical examples to give you the confidence of being “fluent in finance”.