Being a finance professional, I have been often asked the question “what value do you guys create?” These engineers, lawyers, doctors claim a recognizable value-add to civilization and its evolution, and thereby question the contribution to the world from my “kind”. While it is true that the services offered by these professionals are more direct (and therefore measurable), I have often wondered what do us finance professionals – bankers, investors, consultants & advisors – do.

To put it in simple words, we manage money – measure it, accumulate it, allocate it, and grow it. Why is this important? Look at it this way – money is just a measure of the resources at our disposal. Elementary education tells us resources are limited and need to distributed based on priorities and strength of opportunities. Through money we decide how much (if any) manpower, minerals, time have to be dedicated in developing roads and bridges for a country…or building more hospitals…or improving the education system.

It is through finance (risk-reward analysis) that the world appreciates China and India for their potential economic prowess. Resources (read money) rerouted from less lucrative western economies and channeled to emerging markets have given the world cheaper mobile phones, televisions, shoes, banking fees, IT solutions, and medical assistance.

Finance enables a doctor or an engineer to fund his education and gives him access to world-class facilities to practice his trade. Finance is now helping a dilapidated Africa to tap its immense natural wealth and better the lives of its people. Finance is what stops a war hungry country to cutback on its defense expenditures and concentrate more on tackling unemployment.

Finance, in essence, is the quintessential artery system for resources in a world filled with innumerable demands.

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