What Are The 4 Areas of Corporate Finance?


The functioning and structure of a company are significantly influenced by the many distinct departments and divisions of business finance. However, they are included in the three main categories of business finance. Knowing more about the many branches of finance will help you determine whether you want to work in one of these specialized fields. In this article, we examine the many facets of finance, and the typical responsibilities played in each.

When doing any study, everyone should be aware of four corporate finance aspects. These four components are operating flows, invested capital, capital costs, and return on invested capital. Now let’s examine each of these components individually.

✅ Operating Flows

Operating flows reflect the real flows that a firm experiences as a result of its operations. If asked what makes up their company’s operational flows, business professionals will undoubtedly provide further replies. Net income is the solution for some. Others find that measures like cash flow from operations or profits before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA) are appropriate. Even though each of these indicators is valuable and gives us the information we need to know, they don’t accurately reflect the economics of what is happening in terms of the operational flows of a business. Net income is not the best indicator of economic and operational flows since it includes cash and non-cash transactions and any interest expenses related to debt financing. EBITDA is also not the best statistic since it does not account for depreciation and amortization costs, which usually indicate a reduction in the economic sustainability of an asset. Even if current taxes cause an economic outflow, it also abolishes all taxes. Additionally faulty is cash flow from operations, which includes the impact of finance costs like interest expenditure but fails to account for financial outflows like depreciation and other amortization.

What, therefore, from the perspective of operational flow, should business professionals be looking at to effectively capture the economics of what is occurring within a company? Net operating profit after taxes, or NOPAT, is the solution. NOPAT is a measure that, with certain modifications, is produced from an organization’s income statement. For NOPAT purposes, certain non-cash adjustments to the income statement (such as costs associated with bad debt reserves, LIFO reserves, warranty reserves, etc.) are brought back in. Unusual non-cash losses are also put back (while non-cash profits are deducted), and any reductions brought on by postponed taxes are made the same way.

✅ Invested Capital

The second crucial factor to consider in corporate finance is invested capital. Similar to the idea of operational flows, different responses would be given if one were to ask business experts what makes up a company’s invested capital. Total assets may represent invested money to some people while representing a company’s equity to others. Unfortunately, there are problems with each of these conceptions of capital. Invested cash should be split up into long-term investments with projected returns. Non-interest-bearing current obligations like accounts payable and accumulated costs contribute to the financing of total assets. A corporation’s level of invested capital will be overstated if total assets are used to represent invested capital.

On the other hand, it will overstate a company’s invested capital if stock is used to represent invested capital. Equity and any interest-bearing debt that a firm may have taken on are used to fund its assets. As a result, equity and debt should be considered when calculating a company’s invested capital.

✅ Capital Cost

The cost of capital is the third crucial component of corporate finance. Of all the topics in corporate finance, the cost of capital is one of the most crucial but misunderstood. Simply put, the minimal return needed by the two primary sources of capital, debt, and equity, is known as the cost of capital. Debt and equity investors invest money in a business to receive a return proportionate to the risk they have assumed. Because of this, it is possible to think of a firm’s cost of capital as a hurdle rate that must be reached and exceeded for a company to claim that it has generated shareholder value. The cost of capital is commonly determined by dividing the after-tax cost of debt and equity capital by the proportion of debt and equity in the organization’s capital structure.

✅ ROI (Return on Investment)

The return on invested capital is corporate finance’s fourth and last crucial component. The NOPAT in a particular period is multiplied by the invested capital at the end of the preceding period to get the return on invested capital. A company’s return on invested capital for 2013 would be $180/$1000, or 18.0%, for example, if its NOPAT at the end of 2013 was $180 and its invested capital was $1,000 at the end of 2012. The cost of capital indicates the return the investors expected the firm to receive. In contrast, the return on invested capital is the return that a company earned within a certain time. The corporation has produced shareholder value to the degree that the actual return on invested capital exceeds the necessary return. The actual return exceeded the investors’ expectations.

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