Corporations want to be successful and grow by offering better products and services to their consumers and at the same time control costs for themselves. Corporate Finance is one function that assists firms in these goals by helping the overall organization to function effectively from an investment perspective. Corporate Finance is concerned with the future that the firm is looking at and the various strategies they will employ to get the best out of it.
The Chief Financial Officer or the CFO has the main responsibility for a company’s corporate finance function. At first look, the CFO’s job may look simple and defined. The overriding goal for a CFO is to maximize the price of firm’s stock shares. This seems like a very specific goal and stock prices are readily available for anyone to measure the degree and extent of success. However, in reality, the job is quite complex when the CFO has to balance various intertwined financial factors that have an impact on the overall performance of a company and the value of its stocks.
Depending on the Nature of a firm, there are around five to ten major financial functions that have to be managed in harmony to carry out the company’s corporate finance functions. Companies that are hiring for future leadership positions in corporate finance will often have new employees work in jobs that are ‘rotational’ in nature for about two to three years. The idea is that these future leaders will need to gain exposure to several different financial functions in order to work closely with or to actually become the Chief Financial executives who have to deal with a complete system of ideas. There are two main sub functions of Corporate Finance. These are: The Capital investment Function and The Financing Function.
The Capital Investment Function relates to building the firm’s investment strategy and portfolio and the selection of investment projects. In this department the CFO works closely with strategic managers and chief executives and reveals how financial principles can help a fir make the major decisions involve in corporate strategic policy. The capital investment function can range from small investments such as individual projects such as pursuing a new market or product, all the way up to acquisition of an entire company and its product line. Whether it is a small or a large investment the company is trying to make, their strategy will depend heavily on cash flows and expected cash flows. They will be paying a lot of attention to the Net Present Value of their investment proposition as el as the Internal Rate of Return that the investment is going to give them. Firm’s will continue to be successful in their investment decisions as long as they pursue projects where their internal rate of return is more than the market rate of return and the Net Present Value of the investment is greater than zero.
The Financing function relates to how a firm will need to raise capital from the financial markets. The CFO must ultimately decide when a firm should ‘go to the markets’ and what the securities are that it should issue in order to raise that money. Investors will buy securities from the company and thus supply the needed capital to it. Investors are basically trading current cash o capital for future flows. The CFO must be able to perceive how investors will react to different types of security offerings because this will impact what price investors will be willing to pay for stocks and bonds and how much capital the firm will be able to raise.