Finance is a broad term encompassing various things regarding the study, creation, management, and allocation of funds. It can be broadly explained as the science of funds. In laymen’s terms, it is the science of money. In the broadest sense, finance pertains to the science of management of resources so that they are used productively to produce economic growth. Finance is an important consideration in all economic policies.
The purpose of any policy is to promote economic growth. Thus, finance involves tax management, which seeks to ensure that capital is employed in ways that yield maximum productivity while minimizing taxable income. Taxation is one of the basic pillars of modern public finance. The tax system is designed to redistribute resources to raise living standards and to prevent market failure.
Another important facet of finance is cash flow analysis. Cash flow is basically the total amount of money that is available to buy or sell. It is calculated by adding current assets, current liabilities, and future assets or liabilities. Finance considers both long-term and short-term debts. Long-term debts are those that will be due during the life of the borrower and the total amount of money due at the close of each month; short-term debts refer to those that will be due at the close of the month for the entire month.
Long-term debt is primarily associated with investments in plant and property. The purpose of such investments is to generate income that will pay off the debt over a period of time, either permanently or through re-investment. A major aspect of long-term finance is money management.
The field of social finance is relatively smaller than finance. Social investment seeks to maximize the benefits of social investments through the provision of public goods and services, while minimizing the costs of these programs. A major area of social investment is healthcare. Many governmental programs and private insurance companies offer benefits that are extended to the public, but because these programs are often financed by tax revenues, the costs must be balanced against the benefits to the investor.
As you can see, there are a variety of different areas of finance. This wide variety allows investors to tailor specific investments to their individual needs and circumstances. Regardless of which area of finance you decide to focus on, it is important to develop sound financial management skills. A solid understanding of your own personal finances and of the markets and industries you are investing in is essential to developing sound corporate financial management decisions.