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This is the fourth of six articles written for the CRIMSON by Donald H. Moyer '27 of the Alumni Placement Bureau on "Business and Industry as a Field of Opportunity for College Men".
A controlling factor in all business and industry is finance. Whether or not a company makes a profit depends upon how it is financed and the regulation of its receipts and expenditures. However different one business may be from another, money and credit are the medium common to all. Whatever the enterprise, its performance is calculated and governed in terms of dollars and cents. Thus finance is a function cutting across all business and industry providing opportunities for college men who, rather than deal with the actual making and selling of goods and services, are interested in reducing the operations of business to symbols, to financial accounts and statistics.
Commercial and investment banking, and also insurance, representing as they do the world of finance, provide openings for those men qualified for work in auditing, accounting, credit, statistical analysis, and mathematics. In addition almost every business organization of whatever type has its financial department embracing these same activities. Finally, there are those firms devoted exclusively to accounting, to credit work, and to statistical analysis, each separately performing a service to other institutions.
These financial functions bear the same relation to banking and insurance as production does to manufacturing; they characterize the business, but are not performed exclusive of other functions. As selling plays a part in manufacturing, so also it does with banking and insurance. Banking and insurance, therefore, are not to be considered as unit opportunities for the performance of a single function but are composed of several activities of which auditing, accounting, etc., are a few. These we shall discuss in this article.
American Institute Defines
Accounting, as defined by the American Institute of Accountants, is "the medium by which the results of commercial transactions, industrial operations and financial relationships are controlled and interpreted." As such, accounting involves the creation and operation of systematized procedures. Auditing is the checking and certification of all accounting operations. Accounting and auditing do not require trained mathematicians, but pains taking accuracy and the ability to see numerical relationships are essential. Opportunities for auditors and accountants are to be found in all businesses, with advancement for the most successful men culminating in such positions as controller, treasurer, bank officer, or partner in a firm of certified public accountants. Beginners' jobs occasionally require some study of accountancy as a prerequisite, but more often now employees are expected to study the subject in night school either on their own or company time. For public accounting positions, business school graduates are often given preference.
Application of Finance
Credit work requires the investigation and analysis of financial conditions as expressed particularly in balance sheets and earnings statements. Statistical analysis lends itself to the interpretation of securities markets, business and economic trends, sales and production reports, commodity reports, etc. Pure mathematics is best applied to business in actuarial work which is the mathematical determination of insurance risks.
The above opportunities in the field offer a satisfactory business career to a man who is no salesman and who is barred from production work and research because he lacks interest, training, or ability. This does not mean that the salesman has no place for example, in accounting. Throughout the financial world the man who combines ability to deal with figures with the personality which wins customers is marked for success. On the other hand, here also is the place for the man who, despite his lack of other assets, wants to indulge his love of figuring, of dealing with symbols rather than with goods or services. Finance in terms of accounting, statistics, and credit work is for the man with infinite patience, who is meticulous, who likes detail, who is not upset by routine, and who does his best work by himself. It is the keystone of all business, and as an all-embracing function in the world of commerce and industry, it provides a point of vantage from which to study all businesses and a background that is readily transferable from one business to another.
The next article will discuss Research in business and industry as an opportunity for college graduates. The Alumni Placement Office welcomes inquiries concerning any of the questions discussed in these articles.
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