I have flexed my marketing skills as a writer for Academic Partnerships since 2013. Academic Partnerships is a content marketing firm specializing in the industry of higher education.
Articles generally are about specific training programs and/or professions, and I have published over 120 articles online. I've included a few samples and links to samples below.
Financial planning at its core is all about balance: financial planners manipulate various factors to ensure a business has enough capital to cover debts and expenses. In order for a company to operate, it must have working capital to keep machines running, raw materials stocked, and product reaching the shelves. As the Julie Davoran, writing for the Houston Chronicle points out, “The movement in working capital sometimes creates large voids or deficits of cash that threaten a business.” These threats must be dealt with in order for the company to function.
Although strategies for capital management are interwoven and much more amorphous, the processes of financial management can be divided into three broad categories: short-term financial planning, medium-term financial planning, and long-term financial planning.
Short-term financial planning is most concerned with the present. These “plans have a higher degree of certainty compared to long-term plans,” and tend to be adaptive to the current situation a company may find itself in. Further, “elements of working capital have the largest impact on their short-term cash flows” (Davoran). Some examples of working capital elements are raw materials, completed products, cash on hand, debtors, and creditors.
For effective short-term financial planning, capital managers must routinely monitor elements such as these and forecast possible scenarios the company may find itself in. Given that short-term planning usually deals with scenarios that occur within the current year, forecasting tends to be less speculation and more accurate.
Medium-term planning is, obviously, dealing with midrange plans—those that may be implemented after a year, but earlier than long-term financial planning. Bert Markgraf, also writing for the Houston Chronicle’s small business section, sees medium-term financial planning as preventative maintenance: “Medium-term planning implements policies and procedures to ensure that short-term problems don't recur.” If measures introduced in short-term financial planning fix the problems being addressed, then they may be moved to medium-term plans to ensure the company’s business success.
The Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA) views long-term financial planning for businesses as inclusive of the same skills needed for short-term planning: “Long-term financial planning combines financial forecasting with strategizing.” They recommend playing attention to a number of elements to ensure the efficacy of long-term financial planning as well.
The GFOA sees long-term financial planning as consisting of five elements: Time, Scope, Frequency, Content, and Visibility. To qualify as long-term financial planning, the GFOA recommends at least a five- to ten-year plan. Although the GFOA deals primarily with governments, their advice applies equally to businesses, too.
The scope of long-term financial planning is an important factor as well. Capital managers need to look at not only a span of time, but a scope of operations as well. What will a particular financial plan encompass? Will all assets and liabilities be included in the analysis? Capital managers address these concerns on a daily basis, and frequently revisit earlier decisions.
Frequency refers to how often long-term financial planning will be revisited. Because long-term planning is looking to the future, the circumstances upon which a plan was devised may change. A sound long-term plan will periodically be revised to accommodate these changes.
Given the GFOA deals with elected officials, transparency is an obvious concern in long-term financial planning. Businesses should be concerned with this visibility as well. While not all information within a privately held corporation should be shared freely, employees should understand the long-term financial planning goals of an organization. This act ensures all departments can be coordinated toward common goals.
Long-term financial planning relies upon many working parts, and these parts work together in intricate ways. Capital managers must learn the complex workings of markets and socioeconomic factors that contribute to volatility in business. Because of the technical nature of these processes, many capital managers choose to pursue graduate education, and some of those find an online MBA program to be the best option for gaining this education. An online MBA program allows working students to pursue a degree while immediately applying these lessons to their professions. Given the number of flexible options for those pursuing graduate instruction in long-term financial planning, many are choosing to bolster their resumes in this way.
The Internet changed global economics. Faster and cheaper communications means companies must always be aware of the global impact of national and even local campaigns. Changing global circumstances can have local ramifications that are swift and lasting. The recent global economic crisis is a prime example: problems in the American housing bubble have reverberated in other nations, as our economy is intricately intertwined with others around the world.
While people all over the world are feeling the very real consequences of an interdependent global economy, few know how these relationships are formed and altered. Many Master of Business Administration programs, including online MBA programs, offer classes in global economics. While the standard MBA covers domestic business administration, some programs offer specializations in macroeconomics (another name for global economics). MBAs who focus on economics have a wide range of sectors to practice in, from education to nonprofits to banking to consulting.
Aside from just knowing about the ways international economies interact, there are practical applications to an MBA in global economics. Most notably, a firm understanding of global economics can benefit an investment portfolio. Analyzing trends of global markets over time can lead to a stable portfolio. As investment expert Hans Wagner puts it, “These trends are not your hot idea of the month, but rather changes that span multiple decades.” An understanding of how these markets fluctuate will help you ride out times of desperation for long-term gains.
Current events often pass us by without a deeper understanding of their causes. Though we may feel the effects of a global economy, we may not be aware of the economic connections that lead to changing politics. For example, Stephen Mufson of the Washington Post shows how declining oil prices signal “one of the biggest transfers of wealth in history, potentially reshaping everything from talks over Iran’s nuclear program to the Federal Reserve’s policies to further rejuvenate the U.S. economy.” In this case, lower prices at the pump indicate a shift in political power in the world, and understanding those shifts are part of a 21st-century education.