It’s the start of a new semester and for many, this time of year signals the beginning of competition season! With so many options to choose from, it can be difficult to pick the right event to match your skillset. If you’ve ever thought of competing in a finance event, read on for some helpful tips and tricks to ensure success!
Which events are offered within the finance cluster?
The finance cluster offers five separate events: Corporate Finance, Financial Accounting, Financial Statement Analysis, Managerial Accounting and the Stock Market Game.
What is the difference between each of the finance events?
In Corporate Finance, participants must apply principles of finance to the corporate world. Case studies often include elements of law or business, and sometimes involve financial service institutions.
Financial Accounting involves solving mathematical equations, often asking participants to make calculations based on a balance sheet or other set of data. This event is similar to the Accounting Applications event in the High School Division.
Participants in Managerial Accounting are asked to solve finance-related problems from an internal perspective, often taking on the role of the manager to best address an issue.
The Financial Statement Analysis event asks two participants to make calculations and conclusions based on the set of data provided. This event always includes some form of financial statement and corresponding challenge.
Finally, the Stock Market Game is an online simulation in which teams compete against one another to create the highest-value portfolio within a span of three months. Participants invest in online assets and manage their finances to beat out the competition.
How are the events structured?
Corporate Finance, Financial Accounting and Managerial Accounting are all Individual Case Study events. They allow one participant and consist of both exam and fifteen-minute case study presentation. Financial Statement Analysis is a Team Case Study event. It allows two participants and, similar to the Individual event, consists of exam and fifteen-minute case study presentation. The Stock Market Game is an online simulation that allows one to three participants and must be completed before the International Career Development Conference. There are two sessions to the Stock Market Game - one that runs from September through November, and another that runs February through April.
How do I know if a finance event is right for me?
If you are interested in pursuing a career in accounting, private equity or law, a finance event could be an excellent fit for you! These events utilize skills that students pursuing these careers often have, like mathematics and money management. If you aren’t pursuing a finance-related career, however, a finance event could still be a great match for you! Analytical thinkers and those who excel in math tend to find success in this area and can develop their skills over time to become finance pros.
What should I bring to a competition if I am competing in finance?
It’s a good idea to bring a watch, pen and scratch paper, and a four-function calculator for all finance events. If you plan to make a digital presentation using PowerPoint or a similar form of media, be sure to bring a laptop or tablet and ensure that you have WiFi set up beforehand, if necessary.
How do finance case studies differ from case studies in other areas?
The biggest difference between finance case studies and case studies in other areas is that case studies in finance incorporate elements of mathematics or accounting. For example, a finance case study may ask participants to create an income statement or to calculate the profit margin based on a set of data. Additionally, finance case studies require participants to take the finance exam, which will include 100 multiple-choice questions related to business and finance.
What are some ways to prepare for events in finance?
A great preparation technique is to practice using sample case studies. These samples will give you a good idea of what to expect during competition, and an opportunity to practice your presentation skills in front of others. Ask your advisor, friends or a chapter officer to be a practice judge, and use their feedback to improve your skills! You can find sample case studies for each finance event at deca.org/collegecompete. Another helpful preparation technique is to practice solving finance equations and problems before the competition. You can find free finance quizzes on accountingcoach.com and other related websites. When preparing for the Stock Market game, enrolling in similar simulations beforehand is a great way to get ready for the event itself. Investopedia and MarketWatch both offer great online simulations that you can enroll in at any time!
How can I get a competitive edge?
One of the best tips for scoring extra points with judges is understanding industry jargon and finding applicable ways to work it into your presentation. Utilizing words like “commodity”, “equity” and “privatization” will impress your judge and add a special element to your finished case study. Another helpful tip is to network with individuals already working in the industry. Asking industry professionals for their feedback on your finance solution is a great way to improve and get help from an expert!
Will events in finance help me prepare for a career in finance?
Yes! Finance events are designed to simulate the day-to-day challenges faced by professionals in the industry. The timed-nature of the events give participants the chance to think on their feet and use strong problem-solving and analytical thinking to best create a solution. In the Financial Statement Analysis and Stock Market Game events participants also have the chance to work in teams, providing a great opportunity to develop strong communication and organizational skills.
What are you waiting for? Register for a finance event today!
If you are interested in learning more about events in the finance cluster, visit the competitive events webpage to view sample case studies, exams and guidelines.