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What is finance?

Finance is the study, management and participation in activities related to money. The finance industry is massive, extending to multiple areas of corporate, federal and personal existence, including organizations involved in banking, lending, forecasting, investing and more. Finance covers a very wide breadth, basically encompassing all operations in which money changes hands.

What are the four types of finance?

  • The four types of finance include personal finance, public finance, corporate finance and private finance.

Finance is divided into three primary categories based on what kind of entity owns the financial assets being analyzed or traded. These four categories include personal finance, public finance and corporate finance. A fourth category, private finance, is a sub-category related to corporate finance.

  • Personal finance involves anything related to individual or familial financial planning, including borrowing for a mortgage, estate planning, retirement planning, day-to-day banking and budgeting.
  • Corporate finance involves the financial operations of businesses and large enterprises, including spending, investments and shareholder value, as well as all departmental functions of the company’s finance department.
  • Public finance includes governmental funding usage, including how funds are used to benefit public interests, all public expenditures, national and local debt, and regulations on trade.
  • Private finance is an additional method of funding that utilizes private firms to provide capital and management for projects in the public or private sector.


Is finance a good career path?

The financial industry employs millions of people and offers numerous career paths to those with various skills and interests.

Finance encompasses a wide range of job opportunities across the industry including bank employees, commodities brokers, analysts, insurance claims representatives, corporate accountants, personal finance advisors and many others, each possessing different day-to-day responsibilities and advancement opportunities.

If finance is your chosen career path, keep in mind that certifications may be necessary to prove qualifications for managing personal, public or corporate funds, along with a bachelor’s degree in finance or a related field.

Salaries range across careers and experience levels in the finance industry, however, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics lists the median annual wage for professionals in business and financial occupations at $72,250 as of May 2020. This was higher than the median annual wage for all occupations, which was $41,950. Check out Built In’s user-submitted salaries for more salary information within the finance industry.

Is finance easy to learn?

Learning new finance skills offers many personal and professional rewards, but skills needed for financial roles can also be challenging to learn.

Finance is a nuanced topic that is made up of several industries, techniques, and functions, allowing money to be managed for individuals, companies and the public in specific ways. For example, finance professionals going into investment management must possess specific skills to be a competent fund manager. In addition to a bachelor’s degree in finance, certifications are also required for this role. The type of certifications required will depend on the type of management fund and the amount of capital involved.

Additionally, professionals will be expected to increase their skill set and add certifications as their careers grow. 


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