The language of business is finance, and is just that, a language.

The language of business is finance, and is just that, a language.

Every business speaks this language. If you do business, you need to learn the language of finance.

Finance is often referred to as the language of business. Whether you see yourself as a ‘numbers person’ or not, the one thing every organization has in common is numbers and how those numbers are tabulated, analyzed, and reported. In order to be taken seriously and communicate effectively in a business, it’s important to use the language that the business speaks.

And finance is a language, despite sometimes using more numbers than letters. And as with any new language, you can’t expect to speak it fluently at first. However, the best way to learn is to jump in and try something. You’ll gain confidence as you go along. But it does help to have a basic understanding and foundational skills to build on (hyperlink to post 1). Just like learning a spoken language, having the basics down is crucial to building a more advanced, comprehensive understanding.

After you have the basics down, the best way to continue learning is to ask questions. Look at financial reports and analysis with a questioning eye. Not with an attitude that something is necessarily wrong with the numbers you see, but with an attitude of trying to understand the what, why, and how of the numbers you are using to make decisions. Having this type of attitude can be tremendously helpful and important. Since every company is different, sometimes the only way to figure out all of those parameters is to ask questions.

Once you have started building your financial “vocabulary,” start applying that knowledge in your job. The best way to retain what you learn and gain confidence in what you know is to use it. Use it to improve cash flow. Use it to analyze the next big project. Use it to assess your company’s results. Wherever you serve in a company, chances are there is an opportunity to use this financial knowledge.

As you learn the language of finance, your job will be more fun, and your impact on the company’s performance will be greater. Many companies love to see employees, managers, and leaders who can see the link between financial results and their jobs. People who are able to do this suddenly seem to have a better idea of why they are carrying out a particular set of tasks. Your understanding of what you are a part of and the vision of what kind of impact you have on results will increase, lending a greater purpose to your job. Your satisfaction with your job will increase, and your employer will potentially see you as an even greater asset to their team.

Source: Financial Intelligence by Karen Berman, Joe Knight and John Case. Joe Knight, and his partners, Joe Cornwell and Joe Van Den Berge from Setpoint together have built two companies with 25-year histories of successfully implementing these principles in their thriving businesses. JR Setpoint designs and implements custom rides and attractions for the top amusement and theme parks in the world, and Setpoint Systems delivers custom automation and robotics that help manufacturers large and small improve the way they make and distribute goods. Both companies have joined the JR Automation family of engineering providers of intelligent automated manufacturing and distribution technology solutions.

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