The subjects you study and your expertise in them is one of the primary factors that recruiters focus on while assessing your profile. That is why, vast knowledge of your chosen field can make you stand out from others and can help you establish a better position, negotiate for better perks, and also gain more respect in the eyes of your employer.
It is not just about the acquisition of knowledge about your subject but also about learning how to apply that knowledge to actual situations which makes the difference.
So, in this article, we will list the 5 most important subjects a B.Com. graduate should focus on, and how to apply what you learn with those subjects in the corporate world.
1. The Fundamentals of Financial Management
Financial Management is one of the most important subjects to be studied by a B.Com. student. It not only helps the students understand the basic elements of finance, but also helps them understand the perspective with which financial statements, balance sheets, income statements etc., are applied in the business world.
Now, the application of Financial Management is more focused on the financing decisions a business has to take. The reason for this is simple – in the real world, a business needs to make money by bringing in cash and using that money to grow their business. And, this does not happen overnight.
For example – Firms make financing decisions by using the information in their balance sheet, journals, cash flow statements, etc.
The key is understanding how the information in your balance sheet translates into financing decisions. This is where Financial Management helps you acquire this knowledge.
Financial Management takes many forms – understanding the difference between cash and non-cash transactions, how a balance sheet works, and understanding how a company goes about borrowing money to finance its businesses are some of them. Using ratios such as the Debt to Equity ratio, the Interest Coverage ratio etc. to evaluate a firm's debt management capabilities is also something a BCom student should be aware of. It also covers the use of basic concepts such as amortization to pay off debt, or the use of depreciation to periodically lower the value and thus tax liability of assets. This conveys how strong your fundamentals are.
If you are in need of supplementary learning, IIT Roorkee's Financial Management Series by Prof. Anil K. Sharma is the way to go.
2. Corporate Accounting
The next important subject in B.Com. is Corporate Accounting. This subject gives students a complete understanding of the regulatory environment in which companies are formed. But for that, a solid foundation in basic accounting and financial concepts is required.
For example, let's say you have to decide on how you want to divide company profits in the form of dividends, stock appreciation, salary and bonuses. If you don't know how to deal with the issues of taxation, etc., this will be a big issue for you.
Other than that, you will also get a good idea about the company's operations. This gives you a better view on their financial statement and what the metrics like revenue and profit would be over time.
Another important aspect of Corporate Accounting would be interpreting and analyzing financial statements, accounting principles, and techniques for making decisions in business settings.
This should give you a complete overview about accounting results of different companies so that you can analyze these results in order to differentiate between these firms – understanding differences among revenues from different divisions of companies is one such example where understanding Corporate Accounting can help.
3. Business Research and Statistics
Research, especially Quantitative methods and Statistical Analysis used to ascertain the market for viability of new products, or competition to existing ones, is a crucial part of commerce.
Any role in a business requires knowledge on research and analysis and students should be able to make use of this in their work.
Business Research and Statistics, on a most fundamental level, involves investigating and studying a particular business process to enable you to understand how it functions, how it can be improved upon, or alternatively if there is an opportunity for a new business venture.
While research helps collect, explore, and present data and information, statistics is often a subset of research used to perform analysis with concepts such as normal distribution, variability, and correlation.
Focus on the following research and statistical methods:
Data Collection & Analysis
Quantitative Methods (from Mean to Variation)
Discriminant Analysis & Regression
Regression Analysis & Linear Regression
Formal Statistics and Data Visualization
Correlation and Regression analysis
Fundamental knowledge of SPSS, Minitab, SAS (statistical software) will be useful.
Reema Nayyar’s Business Research and Statistics Marathon video is a one-stop shop for you to clear all your doubts.
4. Business Mathematics
This Subject is a backbone of the more advanced subjects such as Business Accounting, Financial Management, etc. which make use of fundamental concepts taught as part of this subject.
Business math helps with necessary accounting, such as determining inventory and cash flow. It also helps with financial evaluations as concepts such as time value of money, and the use of discounting exist in the subject. But most importantly, business mathematics helps practically with the more advanced subject areas.
The following topics can be used as guide towards learning Business Math:
Introduction to Financial Instruments
Computing and Simple Interest calculations
Time value of money (Discounting)
Present Value & Series Financing
The Elements of Financial Statements (EBIT, Margin) & Calculating Cash Flows
Easing or Compounding & Annuities & Computing Financial Statements. (Accounting, Finance)
Use of Spreadsheets (for financial analysis) in BCom. A basic understanding is required with Excel and word processing programs like MS office and Open Office is a plus point.
How much of a profit can be earned, or how much has to be paid to service your debits and credits cost vs operational value, how to calculate depreciation, and many other important topics are helped with Business mathematics. In the corporate world, for example, various financial and accounting calculations are performed often to meet the business requirements.
Grooming Education Academy has a great playlist on Business Mathematics which covers all B.Com. topics in great detail.
5. Computer Applications in Business
In the post-digital age, computers have become ubiquitous and their use in business has increased considerably. Students should be well versed with the basics of Computer Applications as it is not only the IT or software industry that requires them, but every industry requires computer knowledge to some extent.
Even in the world of commerce, the use of Computers is necessary. You should start with the basics, such as how to use an excel sheet and then move onto concepts like accounting software, and using them in actual business practices.
It is important you are able to use computer programs such as Microsoft Excel, Tally, PowerPoint, etc. as they will be indispensable in your professional career henceforth. Software programs assist in all phases of accounting: preparing budgets, creating reports, identifying patterns, highlighting trends, and making forecasts. This includes software such as SAP, Sage, Tally and Microsoft Dynamics.
For e.g., People who work in corporate accounting would tell you that they automate financial accounts with the help of enterprise software to help them with audits.
It is only by learning these things that you will be able to excel in the professional world as a B.Com. graduate. You should not get too immersed in only these subjects, you should understand the basics of all the subjects, and be capable of making quick calculations and judgments when needed.
You must also understand that you'll be expected to have a firm working knowledge of your subject by the time you get employed as a graduate. If you are still learning these skills after graduation, there is no guarantee that employers will hire you.