All across the country Canada’s colleges and institutes are equipping their students with the skills and knowledge necessary to undertake a career in business or finance.
Business administration courses are ideal for someone with an entrepreneurial spirit. An education in business will also prepare one to work for a company.
Greg Andrews is a private contractor with his own company which he started after completing his business course. He specializes in home renovations and outdoor hardscaping.
Andrews says, “Taking business courses aren’t just for people that want to have their own business. They’re also for people that want to help make existing or start up businesses thrive. Working for a good company with good employees gives a person a steady career with benefits like insurance and a pension plan. Having a career in business allows you to be a key asset in any company’s future success. This can be a very rewarding. Plus, if you ever decide to go do something on your own, you’ll have all the tools you need to do so.”
Business courses cover a lot of material and are designed to give students a general overview of all of the fundamentals. Students have the option to “specialize” in one area with further education.
A course in business would not be complete without instruction in financial or management accounting. Students will learn about tax and corporate accounting, financial analysis, strategic business ideas and adherence to complex financial rules and regulations.
“One of the most important things I learned was accounting. As a business owner, you need to know at least the basics of balancing your books. After all it’s usually money that dictates how your company is doing. Anyone can quickly learn how to input their accounts payables and receivables but balancing the books is the end goal, says Andrews. “You need to see what part of your company is making the most money and which part the least. From there you can look at your business and ask yourself things like; ‘Should I stop offering this particular service?’ or ‘Should I hire someone to help me with this part of the business?’ or ‘Maybe I don’t need as big or small of a space as I thought?’”
A business accountant is a very important member of the team, analyzing financial data, performing audits, preparing important documents like tax returns, balance sheets and income statements. An accountant can help forecast future opportunities and trends.
Business development is another important aspect of a course in business. Focus is placed on learning about the growth of different organizations, both small and large. Students will learn how to set up their own business and how consumer behaviours pertain to businesses. Leadership qualities and strategies for success are also discussed.
“I learned the importance of maintaining your customer base. It’s not easy getting a customer, especially when you’re first starting out. Once I do get a customer, how can I keep them coming back to me and not the competition? I recently texted a customer something like ‘Was just thinking about you guys. It’s been about 6 months and how is the kitchen reno I did for you? Anything need fixing up?’ Sometimes they’ll respond with something like ‘The kitchen is great, we love it, but we do have a tiling job we’ve been putting off.’ Repeat business in virtually any business is key,” says Andrews.
A Business Developer works with new or existing businesses to identify problem areas and come up with strategies to improve their financial growth. Whether working as a consultant or within an organization, a career in business development is challenging and requires creative thinking, negotiation skills and excellent communication skills.
Imagine the excitement of building a business from scratch or taking an organization from failure to success!
Human resources management including recruiting and training, labour laws, compensation and company benefit packages is another area of instruction.
Human resources personnel are integral to the success of a company, acting as the conduit between management and employees, coming up with ideas to increase job performance and strategizing with top level executives.
Marketing and advertising is an important part of any business course. Students will learn about product branding, market research, consumer behaviours and creating promotional campaigns. For someone who wants a career as a sales representative this is ideal. A sales rep usually works in a B2B (business to business) company and actively recruits new clients or buyers.
Learning how to manage a business and help it grow requires students to gain the skills to develop strategies, implement operational improvements and analyze employee performance.
Joining the business development team is a great way for a recent college graduate to start their career with a company. They may also find employment in business management and consultant fields, or may choose to start up their own company.
“The business course I took gave me the confidence to make a go of it. It also helps to increase your chances of being successful since it’s professionals giving you their lifelong gained knowledge on the subject. Many instructors have owned and still own businesses and are there to pass on their wisdom. We all fear the unknown and therefore tend to stay away from the unknown as a result. Taking courses helped me learn about every aspect of running a business,” Andrews says.
Students who want to delve further into more advanced financial courses will learn much more complex financial concepts than they would in a general business program with studies in financial planning, organizational evaluation and problem solving.
A career in finance could focus on personal finance, corporate finance and public finance.
Personal financial advisors help individuals and families with investments and tax laws. Advisors help their clients with short-term financial goals such as saving for a child’s post-secondary education and long-term goals like saving for retirement and estate planning.
A person employed in a career in corporate finance can assist with mergers and acquisitions by analyzing the target company’s financial records to come up with a selling price, find ways to cut costs and look after financing the deal. They help their company reach its financial goals sooner.
And with additional certification they could be a part of the excitement as a floor trader or broker on the stock exchange, buying and selling shares in different companies to make a profit for their clients.
Public finance involves managing a government’s revenue, expenses and debts, tax collection and budgeting. A government’s finances can be analyzed in a similar fashion to a business’ financial statements. A career in business and finance can be an exciting and rewarding experience. There is a good chance to earn an excellent salary as one progresses in their career, or as their company grows. The employment outlook in these fields is excellent.
By Jackie Fritz