Demystifying Finance – Frequently Asked Questions and Quick Answers

Finance Questions Techhyme

Finance, the backbone of any organization, plays a pivotal role in decision-making, strategic planning, and overall business success. To provide a quick overview and answer some of the most frequently asked questions about finance, the following questions outlines key insights into various aspects of financial management.

Q 1: Is it possible to pick up a company’s annual report and within ten minutes know its principal products and markets for the next 12 months?

Yes. The chairman’s statement and directors’ reports in the annual report provide this information, and it’s also available on the company’s website.

Q 2: How do I test whether a company’s published strategy is financially viable?

Understanding the company’s strategy from directors’ reports, analyzing cash flow, and examining the balance sheet helps assess financial viability.

Q 3: What are the most popularly quoted measures of profitability and liquidity?

Return on capital employed (ROCE) and the current ratio are commonly used. ROCE measures profit compared to invested capital, while the current ratio assesses short-term liquidity.

Q 4: Can I calculate popular financial health measures from the information in an annual report?

Yes, but it’s advisable to calculate these measures independently to avoid potential biases in the data presented by the company.

Q 5: How do I explain to a non-financial manager how a company can make a satisfactory return on investment but still be in danger of financial collapse?

Teach them about cash flow, emphasizing the importance of planning for future cash needs and managing short-term commitments.

Q 6: Can I compare a company’s financial measures with an industry average on the internet?

Yes, websites like provide tools for such comparisons, allowing for informed analysis.

Q 7: How do I refresh my financial analysis knowledge?

Reading financial pages in newspapers, particularly on Saturdays, exposes individuals to financial jargon and provides regular updates on financial trends.

Q 8: Which figures in a report and in accounts are written to a global standard?

All quoted companies in the European Economic Area use international standards, allowing for consistent comparisons.

Q 9: What is the significance of the words the auditors use when giving their opinion of the financial figures of the company?

Standard auditor reports affirm that the accounts are ‘true and fair’ and prepared according to rules. Modifications may indicate potential issues.

Q 10: Will the balance sheet tell me what the company is worth if I want to buy it?

No, the balance sheet provides the value of assets and liabilities based on accounting principles, not market value. The premium paid is known as goodwill.

Q 11: How do I go through a logical process to compare one potential project or business opportunity with another?

Evaluate costs and benefits, estimate future cash flows, adjust for risk, and utilize financial tools like discounted cash flows for a comprehensive comparison.

Q 12: How do I make sure that project opportunities have a strategic fit?

Align project opportunities with the company’s strategy, focusing on products and markets essential to future success.

Q 13: How do you define and use the technique of discounted cash flows?

Discounted cash flows compare the financial implications of different projects, recognizing the time value of money. It provides a time-adjusted value for each project.

Q 14: How much does a company get when someone buys its shares on the stock exchange?

The company benefits only when shares are newly issued or sold during fundraising. Most stock exchange transactions involve second-hand shares, providing no benefit to the company.

Q 15: How do you distinguish relevant costs and income to put into an investment appraisal model?

Include only costs that will occur if the project is implemented and income strictly earned by that project. Relevant costs are project-specific.

Q 16: Is there any access to useful investment advice on the internet?

Numerous websites offer practical investment advice, with practitioner perspectives providing real-life insights into using investment techniques.

Q 17: Can I understand financial terminology well enough to converse with a finance director?

Yes, with some effort. While it’s easy to grasp the basics, regular interaction and clarification from finance directors help build a deeper understanding.

Q 18: How do I take cultural differences into account when implementing a return on investment process?

Establish a standard way of conducting appraisals, ensure nomenclature consistency, and involve local managers to validate estimates based on their region’s realities.

Q 19: How do you build a cash flow from an income statement?

Remove non-cash items, such as depreciation, from the income statement to create a cash flow statement that accurately reflects cash movements.

Q 20: Is it worth learning how to use spreadsheets in an advanced way when I can simply go to the IT department?

Yes, learning to use spreadsheets in an advanced way allows individuals to tailor solutions to their specific problems, fostering greater accuracy and efficiency.


This quick reference guide provides succinct answers to common questions about finance, offering a snapshot of key concepts and practices. By understanding these fundamental aspects, individuals can navigate the complex world of finance more confidently, making informed decisions that contribute to the success of their organizations.

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