Are you savvy with Financial terms?

Paul Newton
I head the FME team of management and IT professionals from a variety of backgrounds both commercial and non-profit organizations. As a team we are keen to share our expertise and knowledge with individuals at all levels of management. Each eBook, template and checklist has been written to help individuals develop the competencies they need for a successful career.

Experience has shown me three key reasons why I needed to develop my ability to communicate using financial terms. Without this skill I was unable to gain the recognition I deserved. When communicating with CEO’s, CFO’s and other senior executives I needed to demonstrate my fluency and understanding of their language.


Once I was comfortable expressing my ideas and myself in financial terms I found I was able to gain significant benefits. Being able to display this competency made a considerable difference to my visibility with senior management.

I could make a valued contribution to strategic decisions.

Business is not just about being creative and managing people. You need to be able to plan for everything to be successful. A key part of my planning was being able to gauge the financial implications of my potential projects and events when compared to alternatives.

By acquiring a working knowledge of financial terminology I felt comfortable when my manager asked me to review financial reports and forecasts.  Trust me, you don’t look very professional if you have to ask what ‘operating income’ is in regard to the report you’ve been asked to review!

Knowing the ins and outs of finance terms enabled me to be seen as a valuable asset to my organisation, which is what helped me get promoted. I created my own checklist of key financial terms so that I could easily and quickly refresh my memory.

I was seen as a valued member of the management team.

The second benefit I attained was that of being viewed as a valued member of my management team and harder to replace than someone without this knowledge. By committing my time and effort to learn and understand financial terminology other managers perceived me to be someone who puts in that extra effort to be part of a winning team. The more you bring to your organisation the greater value your bring and the harder you are to replace.

My behavior reflected that of other successful managers.

By being able to converse with members of the senior management team and other executives on an equal footing my image and behaviors closely reflected their own. My behavior had altered at all three levels of communication it was not just in the words I now used.

I communicated my familiarity and confidence firstly through my body language during such discussions. For example, my eye contact was steady and open. My stance was relaxed and attentive.

Secondly, through the para-verbal signals I displayed during the conversation. The pitch and volume of my voice played a key role in conveying my meaning and comprehension in what I was saying with my words. I had to learn to alter my usually soft delivery so that it conveyed my exact meaning with the right level of authority and knowledge to suit the situation.

Developing this skill enabled me to display the right attitude, as well as, emotion towards the communication and did wonders for my self-esteem. It also showed my seniors that I was competent and added value to the organisation and raises your own self-esteem. On a personal level when I wanted to advance my career it made me more desirable and attractive to other organisations.


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This great article is one in a huge series which tackles the 6 Biggest Challenges Leaders face according to theCentre For Creative Leaderships Report published 2013    Don’t Miss Out!  Sign up here to be notified of our subsequent issues and posts

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