Engineering and finance can and must work together

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Do you have a clear understanding of the financial implications of your decisions? "Engineering and technical people have to get to grips with finance in order to accurately present and complete projects' says finance specialist Carel Spies.

Understanding the financial side of a project is no longer an additional skill but a requirement for engineers who aim to execute projects successfully.
However, many educated professionals still fear the "numbers? aspect of projects.

According to Spies the thought of numbers takes us back to our school days when teachers explained mathematical principles that were seemingly impossible to grasp. Professionals link business financials to accounting and maths problems and fear they won?t understand it.

Ironically the very opposite is true says Spies, "understanding what you do removes fear'. The first step in this process is learning and understanding the language of finance.

During the Finance for Engineers, Project and Technical Managers course Spies identifies and explains acronyms and phrases that are commonly used in the financial sector, with the aim of providing clarity to non-financial professionals.

"Misunderstandings between departments occur because people define concepts differently'. The term equity when it is used in financial circles refers specifically to the shareholders interest or share in the business. In other settings equity can mean fairness or justice. This is one example of how different definitions can undermine communication in business.

The course is designed to improve communication between the technical and finance units with the goal of completing projects on time and within budget.

The timing of financial information is acritical element of project management and can become a point of contention between departments.

According to Spies engineers often find themselves waiting on the finance department to approve expenses or provide updates on the project. This takes time as financers have to reconcile statements and balance accounts before they can approve costs. This situation can lead to frustration for both parties.

Spies recommends that departments come together to discuss expectations and set guidelines for the project. He encourages businesses to establish time frames before the project commences in order to avoid irritation and disappointment.

For more insights join the Finance for Engineers, Project and Technical Managers course held by Alusani Skills and Training Network. For more information call 011 447 7470, email mailtofaith@alusani.co.za or visit the website Alusani Skills and Training Network

By Cindy Payle - Skills Portal

What do you think?
Can finance and engineering departments work together?