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How Financial Skills Strengthen Business Leadership

Do you have the ability to converse with confidence in financial discussions at work?


We've all heard it before: Knowledge is power. Thorough understanding and expertise allow you to see situations from fresh perspectives, excel in your work and continue to expand your career. With 20.3 million Americans working in professional and business services, increased knowledge is paramount, but apparently, money matters aren't familiar to non-financial professionals. 

A 2009 study put out by the U.S. Treasury found adults’ financial acumen is only slightly higher than that of the average high school student. In fact, when tested on their financial literacy, adults only earned a "C" letter grade, barely passing in the eyes of the U.S. education system. In this same vein, a study conducted by the FINRA Foundation revealed Americans also have have notably low levels of financial acumen and often struggle with applying financial decision-making skills to real-life situations. Is the topic of finance not a focal point in today's education? 

This particular background – the management of money – strengthen business leadership and represent core competencies for managers and their accompanying organizations. According to Nicholas Martin, CPA, "Mastering basic financial concepts enables you to make quick and sound decisions."

He adds "pursuing these skills while understanding how your department impacts the organization is an indispensable criterion for success both in your personal growth and that of your organization.”

Without financial acumen, you are at high risk of failing. A study conducted by Dartmouth found “just as it has proven to be impossible to succeed in the modern world without the ability to read and write (literacy), so it will be impossible to succeed in the present-day financial system without knowing the ABC's of economics and finance (financial literacy).”

Martin claims it is “vital for a business professional to ... communicate efficiently and effectively; the foundation of that communication begins with basic financial literacy.”

For a company to be successful, every single employee must fully understand what is making the company money.

Do you have the ability to converse with confidence in financial discussions at work? Martin is hosting a workshop on building your financial acumen September 12 at CU South Denver. 

Sarah K. Erickson is a public relations coordinator at the University of Colorado South Denver.

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