We’re all in the business of communication. But comms and PR pros who take the “business” aspect of the job to heart and strive to understand financial decision-making, ownership and strategy could hit professional milestones more quickly than those who don’t.
In a recent Ragan Training video, “Business Fluency Primer: The Need-to-Know Basics and Lingo,” Karen Vahouny, adjunct professor with George Washington University’s Strategic PR Master’s Program, shared the basics about what comms pros should do to polish their business acumen.
Business and finance knowledge can lead to stronger relationships with C-suite executives, Vahouny says, giving communicators a seat at the table when it comes to making business decisions they might not otherwise be included in.
And that work pays off for communicators.
“Their careers have catapulted in a way that others’ don’t,” she said.
Vahouny offered three strategies to get your financial literacy journey started:
- Get an MBA.
- Vahouny says while you don’t necessarily need an advanced degree to become fluent in the language of business, it helped her to gain professional credibility within her company at the time.
- Take some business classes.
- If committing to full-time or even in-person learning sounds like a reach for you, try checking out a Forbes-compiled list of the best online business courses.
- Read about business and finance.
- Try checking out Amazon’s list of top-selling business and finance books—but before that, quiz yourself on some business terms you should probably already know.
She also offers definitions for three commonly used financial terms:
1. Income statement. An income statement measures financial results over a period of time. It shows what an organization earned from its operations, tracks performance and is useful for budgeting and planning.
2. Balance sheet. A balance sheet shows the financial health of a company at a specific point in time, typically using three categories:
- Assets (what you own)
- Liabilities (your debts)
- Equity (what you’re worth)
3. Statement of cash flow. This type of statement analyzes why net income doesn’t produce the same increase in cash in the bank.
So, have we convinced you? Will you be applying to Wharton in the spring?
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