Defining Finance

Eye of Benjamin Franklin on currency
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At its most fundamental level, finance is the business discipline concerned with managing money efficiently. It often is rightly categorized as a branch of applied economics. Accordingly, people who are well-versed in the principles of economics typically grasp financial concepts quite readily, if not intuitively. Some of the essential topics in finance include:

In the application of financial principles and methods, there tend to be specialized considerations based on the type of entity in question. As a result, finance often is described as comprising four main categories:

Financial Services and Financial Management

Another distinction must be drawn between the financial services industry and the financial management function. Follow the link for details.

In short, the financial services industry plays these key roles: