The following explanation will help in understanding each finance function in detail
- Investment Decision
One of the most important finance functions is to intelligently allocate capital to long term assets. This activity is also known as capital budgeting. It is important to allocate capital in those long term assets so as to get maximum yield in future.
Following are the two aspects of investment decision
- Evaluation of new investment in terms of profitability
- Comparison of cut off rate against new investment and prevailing investment.
Since the future is uncertain therefore there are difficulties in calculation of expected return. Along with uncertainty comes the risk factor which has to be taken into consideration. This risk factor plays a very significant role in calculating the expected return of the prospective investment. Therefore while considering investment proposal it is important to take into consideration both expected return and the risk involved.
Investment decision not only involves allocating capital to long term assets but also involves decisions of using funds which are obtained by selling those assets which become less profitable and less productive. It wise decisions to decompose depreciated assets which are not adding value and utilize those funds in securing other beneficial assets. An opportunity cost of capital needs to be calculating while dissolving such assets. The correct cut off rate is calculated by using this opportunity cost of the required rate of return (RRR).
2. Financial Decision
Financial decision is yet another important function which a financial manger must perform. It is important to make wise decisions about when, where and how should a business acquire funds. Funds can be acquired through many ways and channels. Broadly speaking a correct ratio of an equity and debt has to be maintained. This mix of equity capital and debt is known as a firm’s capital structure.
A firm tends to benefit most when the market value of a company’s share maximizes this not only is a sign of growth for the firm but also maximizes shareholders wealth. On the other hand the use of debt affects the risk and return of a shareholder. It is more risky though it may increase the return on equity funds. A sound financial structure is said to be one which aims at maximizing shareholders return with minimum risk. In such a scenario the market value of the firm will maximize and hence an optimum capital structure would be achieved. Other than equity and debt there are several other tools which are used in deciding a firm capital structure.
3. Dividend Decision
Earning profit or a positive return is a common aim of all the businesses. But the key function a financial manger performs in case of profitability is to decide whether to distribute all the profits to the shareholder or retain all the profits or distribute part of the profits to the shareholder and retain the other half in the business.
It’s the financial manager’s responsibility to decide a optimum dividend policy which maximizes the market value of the firm. Hence an optimum dividend payout ratio is calculated. It is a common practice to pay regular dividends in case of profitability Another way is to issue bonus shares to existing shareholders.
4. Liquidity Decision
It is very important to maintain a liquidity position of a firm to avoid insolvency. Firm’s profitability, liquidity and risk all are associated with the investment in current assets. In order to maintain a tradeoff between profitability and liquidity it is important to invest sufficient funds in current assets. But since current assets do not earn anything for business therefore a proper calculation must be done before investing in current assets. Current assets should properly be valued and disposed of from time to time once they become non profitable. Currents assets must be used in times of liquidity problems and times of insolvency.
Role of finance manager
The functions of Financial Manager can broadly be divided into two: The Routine functions and the Executive/Managerial Functions.
a) Executive functions of financial management, and
b) Routine functions of financial management.
a) These executive functions of financial management (FM) are explained below.
- Estimating capital requirements : The company must estimate its capital requirements (needs) very carefully. This must be done at the promotion stage. The company must estimate its fixed capital needs and working capital need. If not, the company will become over-capitalized or under-capitalized.
- Determining capital structure : Capital structure is the ratio between owned capital and borrowed capital. There must be a balance between owned capital and borrowed capital. If the company has too much owned capital, then the shareholders will get fewer dividends. Whereas, if the company has too much of borrowed capital, it has to pay a lot of interest. It also has to repay the borrowed capital after some time. So the finance managers must prepare a balanced capital structure.
- Estimating cash flow : Cash flow refers to the cash which comes in and the cash which goes out of the business. The cash comes in mostly from sales. The cash goes out for business expenses. So, the finance manager must estimate the future sales of the business. This is called Sales forecasting. He also has to estimate the future business expenses.
- Investment Decisions : The business gets cash, mainly from sales. It also gets cash from other sources. It gets long-term cash from equity shares, debentures, term loans from financial institutions, etc. It gets short-term loans from banks, fixed deposits, dealer deposits, etc. The finance manager must invest the cash properly. Long-term cash must be used for purchasing fixed assets. Short-term cash must be used as a working capital.
- Allocation of surplus : Surplus means profits earned by the company. When the company has a surplus, it has three options, viz.,
- It can pay dividend to shareholders.
- It can save the surplus. That is, it can have retained earnings.
- It can give bonus to the employees.
6. Deciding additional finance : Sometimes, a company needs additional finance for modernization, expansion, diversification, etc. The finance manager has to decide on following questions.
- When the additional finance will be needed?
- For how long will this finance be needed?
- From which sources to collect this finance?
- How to repay this finance?
Additional finance can be collected from shares, debentures, loans from financial institutions, fixed deposits from public, etc
- Negotiating for additional finance : The finance manager has to negotiate for additional finance. That is, he has to speak to many bank managers. He has to persuade and convince them to give loans to his company. There are two types of loans, viz., short-term loans and long-term loans. It is easy to get short-term loans from banks. However, it is very difficult to get long-term loans.
- Checking the financial performance : The finance manager has to check the financial performance of the company. This is a very important finance function. It must be done regularly. This will improve the financial performance of the company. Investors will invest their money in the company only if the financial performance is good. The finance manager must compare the financial performance of the company with the established standards. He must find ways for improving the financial performance of the company.
b) The routine functions are also called as Incidental Functions.
Routine functions are clerical functions. They help to perform the Executive functions of financial management. The six routine functions of financial management are listed below.
- Supervision of cash receipts and payments.
- Safeguarding of cash balances.
- Safeguarding of securities, insurance policies and other valuable papers.
- Taking proper care of mechanical details of financing.
- Record keeping and reporting.
- Credit Management.
The finance manager will be involved with the managerial functions while the routine functions will be carried out by junior staff in the firm. He must however, supervise the activities of these junior staff.