Business acumen is such an important part of business and our everyday lives. I believe that many of us do not fully appreciate how much financial literacy impacts our daily business activities, as well as the activities in our personal lives. However, those who are fluent in the language of finance, accounting, economics, and strategy, regardless of whether or not these subject were part of their formal education, find themselves with an open seat at the decision making table in their organizations and are able to make smart financial decisions for themselves and their families.
Thomas Cooley, professor of economics and former dean of the NYU Stern School of Business, articulates the importance of having strong financial knowledge:
Many of the most important decisions consumers make in their lifetimes involve financial products: a mortgage to purchase a home, a loan to purchase an automobile, credit to make a large durable purchase, investments for retirement and insurance to keep one’s family secure. All of these financial products have become increasingly complex over time and there is a much wider range of product options offered by different providers, making decision-making more complicated. Consumers need to be financially literate in order to make well-informed choices about such complex products. A growing body of evidence suggests that many consumers lack the knowledge they need to evaluate and make decisions about financial instruments.
Fixing our financial illiteracy and understanding the fundamentals of business acumen (finance, economics, accounting, and strategy) will not only aid you in your personal, consumer-based life, as Professor Cooley mentioned above, but will open doors for you at work, allowing you to sit at the conference table and make decisions that ensure viability – the life blood of organizations, the ability to stay competitive, profitable, and relevant.