What Is Corporate Finance?

What Is Corporate Finance?

Corporate finance covers sources of funding, capital structures of corporations and managerial actions taken to increase shareholder value. Furthermore, this area covers tools and analyses used for allocating financial resources effectively.

Companies tend to employ both debt and equity financing methods when raising capital. Debt financing requires periodic payments as well as relinquishing ownership stakes while equity funding doesn’t.


Corporate finance entails the study and application of capital structures within businesses to increase shareholder value and balance profits and risks, making it essential that firms have an appropriate financial plan in place in order to achieve their goals.

Investment strategies for corporate finance consist of making decisions about returning profits to shareholders via dividends or buybacks, or keeping them for expansion. They may also involve selecting projects to fund and whether debt or equity financing should be employed – this process is known as capital budgeting and requires careful evaluation of their present value in future cash flows to identify which projects merit funding.

Financial decisions regarding expansion require deciding the most cost-effective method for raising money. Options available for doing this may include selling bonds, issuing shares or trading company stock – it is crucial that the best choice be chosen as too much debt may lead to repayment default while too many shares could dilute shareholder value.


Corporate finance is an integral element of strategic decision-making. It encompasses long and short-term financing decisions for companies as well as capital investment decisions, plus methods of returning excess earnings back to investors.

Corporate finances encompass three primary areas: capital budgeting, capital structure and working capital management. Capital budgeting encompasses an analysis of potential projects that require significant investments. It then determines whether such projects should be funded with debt or equity funding sources. Capital structure involves finding the optimal mix between debt and equity financing to meet company goals and objectives while working capital management ensures sufficient cash flow to pay debts as well as cover upcoming operational expenses.

Corporate finance aims to maximize firm value. This can be achieved by appropriately selecting and funding NPV-positive investments, setting a cost of capital, and keeping current assets and liabilities balanced in an optimal manner. By taking these actions, companies can reach their financial goals more easily while increasing shareholder wealth.

Retained Earnings

Retained earnings refer to profit money that a business retains rather than dispersing to shareholders as dividends. At the end of each accounting period (monthly, quarterly or annually), retained earnings are calculated by adding together beginning retained earnings account balance with net income or loss for period and deducting any distributions to owners or shareholders.

Companies can utilize retained earnings to finance capital expenditures, pay off debt or strengthen their overall financial position through strategic decisions such as expanding into new markets. Complying with accounting standards and providing transparency for stakeholders are also benefits of keeping track of retained earnings.

Keep in mind that retained earnings differ from cash in your business bank account, which fluctuates according to cash inflows and outflows like sales revenue, invoice payments and expenses. Therefore, having a system in place that tracks revenue and expense data allows you to accurately calculate retained earnings.


Companies may opt to return part of their profit to shareholders through dividends or buyback programs, with management choosing which strategy best aligns with shareholder expectations while meeting company growth prospects.

Companies can utilize retained earnings for future investments and operational requirements, providing an ideal source of funds without incurring more debt or diluting equity by issuing new shares.

Payout policies help determine how much cash dividends and share repurchases a company pays out each year, with typically the board of directors and senior management setting these guidelines.

Dividend payments may occur monthly, quarterly, semiannually or annually. Some companies also provide dividend reinvestment plans (DRIPs) which enable shareholders to reinvest their dividends automatically into company stock with significant discounts or tax-free reinvestment options.