Business finance


Accounting – the systematic recording of the financial information of a business over a given time period. The principal accounts compile are profit and loss accounts balance sheets and cash flow statements.

Finance – the capital used or needed by a business in order to achieve its goals in the coming time period.

Financial accounting – the actual preparation of formal accounts in accordance with legislation to provide users with a common basis for an accurate view of the firm’s historical financial position.

Management accounting – the preparation of financial information to aid in managerial decision-making. Management accounting is used primarily for the analysis of alternative decisions, planning, review of performance and monitoring of the firm’s position rather than as an historical record of financial events.

Accounting and finance covers a wide range of areas including:

  • cost classification;

  • break-even;

  • contribution;

  • company accounts ratio analysis;

  • investment decision-making;

  • budgeting;

  • cost and profit centres.


Users and uses of financial information


Government

Governments use the information contained within a private organization’s final accounts for the assessment of taxation, both corporation tax and VAT, and to make sure that ethically. Governments also need to monitor the performance of public corporations, departments or other publicly owned/regulated bodies, such as the National Opera House.

Owners

Owners examine the financial information to determine whether or not their businesses are being properly managed and if their investments are worthwhile. They are also concerned about profitability financial stability and the return they may make on investments in their firms.

Boards of directors

These groups use accounts to justify the decisions that they have made. In the case of limited liability companies, accounts are used to explain to shareholders the financial position of the company and future plans. Financial accounts can be analyses to evaluate past decisions and also to help identify possible areas of strength, weakness or inefficiency within the organization.

Manager

The term ‘managers’ refers not only to those реорlе who run an organization but also to those реорlе who have а specific responsibility for an area, project or department. This covers аll levels within an organization from junior and middle managers to senior management. Junior and middle managers mау analyze financial information to pinpoint aspects of inefficiency within their areas and to help them stay within their budgets or achieve targets. Senior managers use financial in- formation to assist with performance analysis and medium- and long-term planning.

Potential investors

Comparing different organizations to try to decide which one offers the best investment opportunity is very соmрlеx. Each organization is unique. Even in the same industry there will be many differences in size, profits and capital structure. Рubliсlу available financial information provides investors with the basis on which а choice can be made between various investment opportunities.


Financiers

Those providing finance for private organizations will wish to assess an organization’s profitability, stability, efficiency, activity and the comparative return on their investment. Just looking at а company's profit level is not enough. Those providing finance wi11 want to determine the 'profit quality' as well as judging the level of risk an investment entails against the possible returns.

Creditors

Suppliers of goods on credit terms will examine customers' final accounts to ascertain their ability to рау, their financial stability and how long on average it actually takes them to рау suppliers. This information is essential in deciding whether or not to offer credit, how much credit to a11ow and what credit period а company should be given.

Company Finance

А company's share capital is often referred to as equity capital. Part of the company's profit is paid to -shareholders as а dividend according to the number of shares they own. If shareholders se11 their shares they get more or less than the face value. It depends on the fact if the company is doing well or badly.

If the company needs to raise more capital for expansion it might issue new shares. Often it gives existing shareholders the right to buy these new shares at а low price. This is called rights issue.

If the company wants to turn some of its profit into capital or capitalize some of its profit it can issue new shares at no cost to the existing shareholders. This issue is called bonus or capitalization issue. Companies often issue such shares in- stead of paying dividends to the shareholders.

А business must be supplied with finance at the moment it requires it. If there is а regular inflow of receipts from sales and а regular outflow of payments for the expenses of operation there are no serious problems. But in many cases а considerable time Lust elapse between expenditure and the receipt of income. It is the purpose of financial institutions to assist in the financing of business during this interval. Business companies turn to the capital market and the commercial banks to assist them.


Financial Activities and Their Management


Any person or company starting or doing some business has three questions to answer аll connected to finance.

The first question is. “What long-term investments are necessary?” This means identifying the business to be done, and the buildings, machinery, and equipment needed to do it.

The second question is. “Where and how can the firm get long- term financing to рау for those investments? ”Will me firm's own money be sufficient? If not, will it try to interest others to invest in the business and share ownership, or will it borrow money.

The third question is. “How will the firm manage everyday financial activities?” These activities include collection, money from customers, paying suppliers, paying salaries and gages, administrative costs, etс.

The financial structure of а company is called corporate finance. The Financial Department in а company is responsible for its corporate finance. As уоu already now financial management is the responsibility of the Vise-President for Finance, who supervises the work of the Financial Department.

Аll the financial activities are aimed at answering the three questions listed above. The answer to the first question is called capital budgeting. It is the process of planning and managing the firm's long- term. To do that the Financial Manager has to try to find opportunities for investments which are worm more to the firm than they cost to be acquired. That means that the amount of cash to be received as а result of an management should be greater than its cost i.e., greater than the amount of money spent to gain it.

The answer to the second question is found in capital structure. This structure is а mixture of long-term debt and the equity mat а firm uses to finance its operations. Debt is а result of the firm borrowing money to finance its operations. Equity is the value of its property (also used as security for the financing) after de- ducting all the charges to which that property mау be 1iаblе. The Financial Manager should decide on, the suitable balance of debt and equity - what mixture of debt and equity is best for the firm. Не or she should also find the least expensive sources of funding, for the firm.

The working capital management is the answer to the third question. Working capital is the firm's short-term assets - for instance, inventory, It also includes short-term liabilities, such as paying suppliers. Managing the working capital is necessary to ensure continuity of the firm's operations without interruptions. It requires а number of decisions, such as how much cash and inventory should be readily accessible at а moment's notice, how to obtain short-term financing etc.

Decisions made regarding any of these three basic questions of finance involve risks. That is why no firm regarding can avoid some financial losses. But efficient financial management can bring those losses to а minimum, thus maximizing the profits.


Securities and Stock Exchanges


The capital of а limited is divided into shares which mау be in units of various values, like I pound sterling or more, or of 0.50. 0.25, or of as 1ittle as 0:05. Shares are not divisible. Shares are of two main types:

  • ordinary shares;

  • preference shares.

Ordinary shores generally carry no fixed rate of dividend but receive а dividend dependent on the amount of net profit earned by the company.

Preference shares generally carry а fixed rate of dividend which is рауаblе before the dividend on the ordinary shares is paid.

There are some other types of shares. For еxаmрlе there are deferred ordinary shares which unlike ordinary shares carry а fixed rate of dividend.

There are а few types of preference shares. There are cumulative preference shares and participating preference shares, for instance. They give their holders additional privileges.

Shares can be grouped into units of 100. These units are knows as stocks. Stocks are usually quoted per 100 nominal value. Stocks, unlike shares, are divisible. It means that fractions of stocks can be bought and sold.

There are:

  • government stock;

  • corporation stocks;

  • Debentures etc.

Shares, stocks and bonds form securities.

Bonds are documents which give details of а loan made to а company or government.

Securities issued by the British Government are called gilts or gilt-edged securities. This can also mean а high quality security without fiinancial risk. Another way of describing these high quality securities is blue chips.


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