Understanding Finance: Money, Capital, and Investments

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9780130933546: Understanding Finance: Money, Capital, and Investments

Combining theory and practical knowledge of finance, this comprehensive yet accessible First Edition provides readers with a book that is grounded in “real” business. Focusing on financial issues in local businesses and small- to medium-sized companies rather than Fortune 500 corporations, this book delivers a user-friendly introduction to the world of finance that answers the many basic “what” and “why” questions, furnishing readers with a solid understanding of this intricate area of business that they can apply in the working world. For professionals with a career or interest in finance, small business ownership, corporate training, and management.

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From the Back Cover:

Designed to help students with a foundation in business, Understanding Finance provides the background for understanding economic signals and the financial environment.

Using straightforward mathematics, the structure assumes little knowledge of finance. It covers basic corporate finance, with rudimentary guides on:

  • Risk and return
  • Federal Reserve System
  • Export and trade
  • Foreign exchange
  • Equity and bond markets
  • Mergers and acquisitions
  • Bankruptcy
  • And more

Learn to read financial statements and how to create them. Explore accounting principles–

  • From Planning to Budgeting
  • From Profit to Divestitures

Learn how to value all or part of a business, and start the process through a logical organization–

  • From Money to Banking
  • From Financing to Investments

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

This book grew out of the finance and business math classes that I teach at South Puget Sound Community College in Olympia, Washington. For years, students in the business math class would ask for more than the basic math computations that we did in class. They also wanted more than just the accounting statements that they were learning about in the principles of accounting classes taught by my colleagues. The students would ask about the following "what" and "why" questions:

  • Why does the bond price change?
  • What happens if I buy stock and the price falls?
  • Why did the stock market go up today?
  • Just what did the Fed do? And how do I interpret the speech that the chairman made?
  • Why do companies offer low financing rates? And why is it not offered on the car that I really want?
  • How would I decide which mortgage was better?
  • I'm buying a business. How do I know how much to pay for it?
  • The business I really, really, really want to buy is losing money but I know I can fix it. Right?
  • Our small business needs more funding if we're going to expand. What should we do?
  • We need a small. business loan. What bank should we go to? What type of financing is available?
  • What do I use these present value tables for? Why would I set up a sinking fund? Oh, and just what is a sinking fund?

I didn't have time to answer those questions and teach math so I proposed to our college that we offer a finance class, but not personal finance or the kind of corporate finance that a huge multinational corporation would use. We needed something that local businesses could get their hands on and work with. We needed something for the horticulture student who was starting a landscape business and the food service students who would eventually open a bakery downtown. It had to be rigorous but practical, grounded in what we consider "real" business, that is, small- and medium-size companies, the kind that keep large and small towns humming with economic vitality.

Over the years I've taught as much from the questions and knowledge in the classroom and the experiences that my students have had, as I have from a book. I hope when you use this book, that you will be able to use it as the framework upon which you model your own experiences. In order to get full value from an education, you have to be an active participant.

For that reason, while there are chapter-ending questions and problems, much of the benefit of the book could come from examining the term paper topics and project suggestions that you will also find at the end of each chapter. Although they fall at the end of the chapters, there might be some value in exploring them before you embark on the course so that you can develop an idea that will tie all the loose ends of finance together.

This is a basic book, designed to give you an introduction to the fascinating world of finance. I have to confess that my personality will come through as you read it. Finance is serious business. It is the means of obtaining the funds necessary to open a business, run it, and help it grow. But there are also some wonderful stories in finance. As you go through the book, I'll share some of them with you.

Finance is also an ever-changing field. You'll notice that many of the boxes within the text contain what were, at the time I wrote this, relatively current events. As you read the book, also read the newspaper or a business magazine. Bring current issues into the classroom for discussion or debate. Examine policies that are being made by the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System. Look at financing decisions that affect you such as interest rates offered by banks and the availability of financing for durable goods such as equipment or vehicles. Examine how those outward signs indicate changes in the economy and business strategy of the companies offering them.

Oh, remember to think, analyze, and ask questions. That's how you will learn.

TO THE STUDENT

The files on the CD-ROM are meant to support and supplement the information in this textbook. There is a text file for each chapter that provides the learning objectives, formatted with space so that you can print the document and use it when you are taking class notes. The terms used within the chapter are listed and defined. There are also additional exercises that are meant to stimulate classroom discussion or opportunities for further consideration. Your teacher may want to use these as essay questions on a test so it wouldn't be a bad idea to take a look at them before that date!

In addition, there are a few Excel files which provide the templates for worksheets you will find in this text. Try playing with them and see if they help you make your own financial analyses.

Enjoy!

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