Whether you’re looking to begin your career in financial management, or trying to expand your skillset, there’s a wealth of resources available to assist you in your learning.
The seven following tips are signposts you can follow to find your direction in your new journey – just in case you weren’t sure of where to begin.
Book It In
A fantastic gateway into the world of financial management, books can provide you with the necessary self-led information to give you a head start on your learning journey.
Books also allow you to focus your learning to particular areas or niches you may be interested in. For example, if you’re interested in taxation and accounting, it’s simple to find an informative and well-researched accounting book.
Online learning benefits a different subset of people who require a more structured program than a book, but can’t undertake a face-to-face course. Online learning combines a variety of source materials and exams in general financial practice, while also giving you the freedom to select units of interest.
Look into courses available via reputable educational institutions, and make sure to read reviews of the course before you apply – some courses are better and more highly regarded than others.
Formal, face to face learning is a tried and tested way of gaining experience in financial management, with most learning institutions having courses available at a range of levels. Face to face learning offers you the assurance of teachers who have been thoroughly vetted, and information which has been approved as a part of an overall curriculum.
Another benefit to this style of learning is that it can often be supplemented by industry experience – that is, you undertake a week (or more) or placement within the industry, gaining you experience, contacts and a taste for what any associated career may entail.
Watch & Learn
There’s a ready made source of (varying in quality) videos for you to learn from if you’re more receptive to that style of learning. As with undertaking any research or learning, make sure to check the source of the information in depth. Look for information such as their qualifications, the relevant experience and their employment, and once you’re satisfied with this information, then use it as a source.
When you’re ready, try to critically evaluate your sources – think about the reasons ‘why’ they’re presenting the information that they’re presenting, and think about the practicality of any advice or guidance. Your own criticism is an excellent way to learn and to hone your eye for detail.
If you’ve got a particularly financially savvy friend or relative, enlist their help. The advice and guidance of a respected friend or mentor can give you the information and encouragement you need to get your financial learning on track.
It may also help in that you will be able to see the real-world applications of their advice and guidance, and they may be available for further support and assistance should you need it.
Back To Basics
When in doubt, get back to basics. Create a basic track record of your incomings and outgoings by using a spreadsheet based app and learn to track finances dynamically.
Although this may seem to be a naively simple approach, it will teach you the basics of forecasting, budgeting, and it will help you train your eye to track trends and changes in spending. Another benefit to this simplistic method is that you will be able to better manage your own money – which is never a bad thing!
Cast your net widely for news sources and evaluate the language and rhetoric around their financial and economical coverage. Find reputed sources of information (such as the NY Times and Wall Street Journal) and try to keep up to date with their news. That way, you can start to understand patterns and trends as they form, and most importantly, how these patterns inform and influence policy decisions, financial advice and other key factors.
Improving your understanding of financial management can help you to gain new career prospects, manage your personal finances better, and understand larger trends at play in world financial markets. No matter how you decide to undertake your learning, evaluate your sources, read widely and don’t be afraid to think critically.