Thursday, 31 May 2007
2) Exam News
3) Finding a Financial English Teacher
4) Translating Financial English
7) Exercise Answers
Hello again! Welcome to this month's English For Finance Newsletter.
Before we start, I've updated the website, to what I hope is a
more modern and appealing presentation.
Check it out on www.englishforfinance.com
I've written a varied newsletter this month- hopefully with
something for everyone.So if you want classes, or do exams, or are
a translator, then this newsletter has information for you!
Let's get on with the newsletter!
2) EXAM NEWS
Ok, you speak English pretty well, you have no real problems
working in English, but how does a potential employer know that?
It's one thing to say at an interview that you understand
financial English,but how do you prove it?
Up to recently, there was no internationally recognised exam
that a student could do to show their skill in financial English.
Now, however, Cambridge have launched a new exam
called (surprise surprise!)
"International Certificate in Financial English".
The first exam will be in May 2007. Have a look at their website
to see if there is an examination centre in your country.
There is no news on how much the exams cost yet, but
according to the website, the information should have been
available at the end of 2006!
The exam consists of 4 parts- reading, writing, listening and speaking
and takes about 3.5 hours to do. The exam will not be suitable for
everyone, however. It is geared towards level B2 C1 of the Common
European Framework of Reference for Modern Languages (CEF).This
is the equivalent of upper-intermediate or lower advanced level of
One problem with the course is that there are not yet any course books
available specifically written for this exam. But, the website does
have some downlloadable exams to practise with.
More information can be found at www.financialenglish.org
3) FINDING A FINANCIAL ENGLISH TEACHER
If you decide to take classes of Financial English,
the most important factor is getting a good teacher.
Is it easy to find a good financial English teacher?
In a word, no.
This is why I decided to take my business online. Giving
classes offline is limited because there are not many teachers
who can teach English for Finance.If I want to grow my business,
I can't do it offline, it's as simple as that!
But,I said difficult, not impossible to find a suitable teacher.
What should you look for in a financial English teacher?
Well, first and foremost, he or she must be a qualified,
experienced language teacher. An accountant who speaks English
will probably not be a good language teacher. A language teacher,
who is also an accountant will probably be an excellent
financial English teacher.
I have two requirements for financial English teachers that I hire.
1) He or she is a qualified (TEFL/CELTA) experienced language teacher
2) He or she has a financial academic qualification
(diploma/degree in finance etc) and/or has experience working
in business in accounting or finance.
Sometimes, a teacher has experience in teaching English for Finance
without having any academic qualifications or relevant work experience.
This is fine also, but test his or her knowledge a bit before hiring them.
Be careful with getting a translator as your teacher. I have some
excellent teachers who are translators, but many translators know the words
without really understanding their meaning.
And of course, the all important question...
How much should you pay a teacher of English for finance? The answer:
more than you'd pay for a teacher of general business English.
How much more? In my experience, anything between 20 and 60% more.
(But of course each country is a different market, so it's difficult to say).
4) TRANSLATING FINANCIAL ENGLISH
Continuing on our theme of translators, are their any difficulties
in translating financial documents to and from English? One difficulty
I have met is with the International Accounting Standards (IAS).
These have recently become a legal obligation for public groups
in the European Union.
Translators who have spent years translating financial reports according to
the national "Accounting plan", suddenly have been faced with new accounting
and financial terms to translate.
An "accounting plan" (for example, the "plan contable" in Spain) defines
the names and account numbers of every single possible item in financial reports.
And it is fixed! There is no room for changing any of the words or terms.
So tranlating financial reports from English doesn't present a problem
- it never changes.
Now, IAS are much looser and freer in this sense. There is no strict
accounting plan, and often, instead of one possible word , there are now
a variety of possibilities!
What seems to be happening in practice, is that companies are developing
their own glossaries of vocabulary for financial reports and give this
glossary to the translator to use.
I'd welcome any comments translators have on this.
Test your knowledge of financial reports by filling in the gaps
in this paragraph using the words given. Use each word once only.
liabilities assets expenses financing cashflow
balance equity statement investors profit
One of the most important financial reports is an income
1)___________ (in Britain it is called a 2)________ and loss account).
This report shows the economic performance of a business,
whether it has made a profit or loss.
It's basic format is sales less 3)________ equals income
(in Britain income is called profit).If expenses are greater than sales,
then there is a loss.
Another very important report is the 4)_________ sheet. This shows assets
and 5)___________of the business on a specific day
(usually but not always December 31st).
Assets are normally divided into current and non-current 6)_________.
Current assets are assets which will not exist in one year.
Non-current assets will still be with the company in one year.
Liabilities are divided into current, non-current and
stockholders' 7)_________. Current liabilities will not exist in one year.
Non-current liabilities will still be with the company in one year.
Stockholders equity is the liability of a company to it's 8)__________
A 9)______________ statement shows movements in cash for a period of time.
It is divided into 3 sections: cash from operating activities,
cash from investing activities and cash from 10)_____________ activities.
The answers are in section 7 below.
That's all for this month. Hope you enjoyed it. I would love to hear any
comments and suggestions you might have about the newsletter.
Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The next issue will be sent to your inbox in early April.
In about 2 weeks, I'll be publishing a free report on some aspects of
English for Finance, so watch your inbox!
If you enjoyed doing the exercise, then go to the website
www.englishforfinance.com, choose the course that you need, buy it
and learn lots by doing lots of exercises.
Remember, education is an investment in your future.
See you next month!
This newsletter is written by Eoin Baxter. Eoin is Irish and
runs a language training company in Madrid, Spain specialising in
English for Finance. The company is called Baxter Business Services.
Eoin is a qualified accountant
(ACCA- Chartered Association Certified Accountants)
and also has a TEFL (Teach English as a Foreign Language) diploma.
Eoin has been teaching English as a second language since 1998.
7) EXERCISE ANSWERS
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Tuesday, 24 April 2007
Are you nervous when giving presentations? Do you need more confidence giving financial information? Well, read this article to get some hints as to how to improve your financial presentations.
It’s difficult to speak in public in any language, including your native language. But, if you are working in finance, you will probably have to make a presentation of financial information some time in your career. It’s important to give the presentation correctly so you communicate the information you want to communicate, and maybe make a good impression on your boss!
1) Giving any presentation in English means you need to know the standard English vocabulary for the different parts of the presentation. Here are examples of some of the vocabulary you need:
Good Morning. Today we are going to discuss this year’s sales figures.
Summarize the presentation in advance.
First I will summarize the overall position
Then, I will analyze the European sales result
Finally, I will look at South American Sales
Dealing with interruptions
Please feel free to ask questions any time you want
Or: If you don’t mind, you can ask questions at the end of the presentation
Moving between different parts of the presentation:
Let’s move on or
Moving on to the next part of the presentation or
Now let’s look at….
Finishing the presentation:
That’s the end of the presentation. Thank you for your attention. Are there any questions?
2) It is also very important to know how to correctly use numbers in English. This gives problems to many people, but is obviously of great importance. Some of the more common mistakes are:
a) In some languages, a point separates thousands and hundreds and a comma separates the number from the decimal. In English, it’s the opposite. It is correct to say that the company has one thousand three hundred twenty seven employees (1,327), not one point three two seven employees (1.327). (Would you like to be the .327 of an employee? I wouldn’t!) 1.327 in English is a number between 1 and 2.
b) In English, after the decimal point you must say each number individually. It is incorrect to say that sales increased by two point seventy five percent ( 2.75%). Sales increased by two point seven five percent. The main exception to this rule is with money. $2.66 is two dollars sixty six, not two point six six dollars.
Obviously, this article cannot give enough information to improve your numbers in English. You need to do a course in numbers in English. I recommend the course in numbers and trends at www.englishforfinance.com/courses.html .
3) You should also have a good knowledge of the language of trends. Describing increases and decreases over time is essential when giving financial presentations. For example, do you understand what it means if I say that sales plummeted last year. Is that good or bad? Or what about profits soared last month. Is that good or bad? (Answers at the end of the article? This article cannot give you enough information to learn the language of trends. You need to do a course on trend language. Go to www.englishforfinance.com/courses.html and look at the numbers and trends course.
4) Finally, let’s look at graphs and charts you use in presentations. It is a very common mistake when giving a presentation to describe every single movement in the chart. Don’t do this! Let the graph do the talking. It describes movements and trends a thousand times better than you can with words. You only have to describe the important elements of the trend- highs, lows and general trends.
And remember practice makes perfect! Study English for presentations, numbers and trends, give lots of presentations in English and most importantly, have confidence in yourself!
Oh, before I forget, plummet means a sudden,large decrease and to soar means a sudden, large increase.
Monday, 9 April 2007
Business English for Finance- Learning Accounting and Financial Terms and Vocabulary
We should start by asking what is English for finance? It is the learning of English specifically geared towards accounting, finance, auditing or whatever area of finance you need to learn.
The next question could be how is learning English for finance different from learning general English or business English? The main difference relates to vocabulary. Knowing the technical vocabulary related to your specific job or area of study is essential if top performance is to be achieved.
Business English classes tend to focus on meetings, negotiations and other business functions. A business English class might focus on your area of expertise irregularly (especially if you are learning in a group). English for finance, however, involves regular study (as in every class) of related financial and accounting themes.
Some students find that learning English for finance in every class is a bit difficult. For many students, the English class is a break from the working routine. Students want to relax during their class, have some fun and learn English. They don’t necessarily want to focus on finance during class when they are trying to relax and forget about work for a while! If this is the case, then they should have classes of general English and forget about technical financial English.
For the students who want to focus on financial English, they must decide how much time in class they want to dedicate to financial English. Some students are happy with 30 minutes out of a 90-minute class. Others (usually the boss!) not only want a full 100% of the class dedicated to financial English, but also insist that their subordinates spend 100% of their classes on financial English!
If you want to learn financial English, there are various methods your teacher can use. The financial times is great for reading about finance and for learning new vocabulary. New vocabulary learning can be reinforced by doing vocabulary exercises such as crosswords, definitions, etc. Your teacher will be able to supply these. Also ask your teacher for listening exercises related to finance or accounting. Video is fairly easy to find by recording from financial television stations. Grammar can be revised by adapting existing grammar exercises to a financial context. Finally and most importantly, speak to your teacher about your job, financial matters etc. Do role-plays with your teacher where your teacher puts you in a financial situation and asks you to speak (always prepare the vocabulary first).
Finally, where do you find a teacher of financial English? It’s quite difficult to find a financial English teacher. The teacher must have knowledge of finance, but is not an “expert”. A qualified, experienced teacher who has a diploma or degree in business, finance or accounting is a good profile. Or a qualified, experienced teacher who has worked in the financial/accounting world is acceptable also.
Monday, 26 February 2007
Financial English Newsletter
1) Welcome to the Financial English Newsletter
2) What is Financial English?
3) Who is Financial English for?
4) Book Review
7) Answer to exercise
1) WELCOME TO THE FINANCIAL ENGLISH NEWSLETTER
Welcome to the Financial English newsletter, this is the first edition!
My name is Eoin (pronounced Owen) Baxter, and I am specialised in the
teaching of English for Finance.
This newsletter is for anyone with an interest in speaking and using
English in a financial context.
We will include reviews, exam news, financial vocabulary exercises, and lots more related to English in a financial context.
Please, put this email address in your address book so you will be certain to receive your newsletter every month. (Who ever reads their AntiSpam folder?)
2) WHAT IS FINANCIAL ENGLISH?
Good question! It’s actually quite a broad category, including the study of English for banking, accounting, auditing, management accounting, hey and anything else that comes under the category of finance.
So, how is learning Financial English different from learning general English? The primary difference is focus on vocabulary and how to use it. Normally, the student will understand the concepts in their language. It is expressing those concepts in English that is difficult.
Obviously, in a normal classroom situation, speaking in a financial context will be very important. Speaking in an online situation is more complicated. No matter what the sales person of voice recognition software says, the technology is just not mature enough to provide genuine conversation online. Let’s wait 10 years or so! (or 20?)
Learning Financial English online, we have to focus on vocabulary, listening and exercises to reinforce the vocabulary.
One other important difference between general English and Financial English is the necessary level of English. If your level of English is low (pre-intermediate or elementary) then Financial English will be difficult for you. Normally, your level of English should be a minimum of intermediate. (If you want to test your level, go to our website and take our free level test)
3) WHO IS FINANCIAL ENGLISH FOR?
Anyone with an interest in learning English for Finance is the easy answer! More specifically, professionals working in banking, accounting or financial world who need to work in English is one major interest group.
Students studying their degree or MBA through English will
also benefit from studying Financial English.
Maybe there are other interest groups who I haven’t thought of! Please tell me if you think of any!
4) BOOK REVIEW
I think a good place to start is with a book that has been around for years, and for a long time was practically the only Financial English book available.
I’m speaking of “Financial English” by Ian McKenzie. This book takes the vocabulary approach. True or False exercises, matching vocabulary with definitions, crosswords, word searches etc.
It is divided into 6 sections- Numbers, Accounting Basics, Money and Banking, Trade and Commerce, Company Finance and Economic Issues. Each section has between 10 and 20 different exercises. (Except numbers, only has 2 exercises).
So, is it a good book? Well, yes and no. The vocabulary exercises are comprehensive, but sometimes, the answers are a little confusing. Some exercises come with a text explaining the concept, but most don’t. This can make it a little difficult as if you don’t understand the concept behind the exercises, then it makes the exercises that
much more difficult.
Having said that, the answers are provided at the back of the book, and a glossary is also included.
For me, the main disadvantage of this book is that it only focuses on vocabulary, There are no listening exercises. Also, there are no writing exercises.
The result of this is that this book can be used in class for maybe 30 minutes max. More than that, and it gets a little boring.
So, what’s my overall assessment? I give the book a 7 out of 10.
Financial English is written by Ian McKenzie and published by Thomson Heinle
Let’s start with a vocabulary exercise. It’s always a confusing issue-
what words are used in the United Kingdom, and what words are used in the United States.
Match the words in each list to the word with the same meaning.
United Kingdom: stock, creditors, managing director, debtors, cheque, Articles of Association,company, share
United States: CEO, bylaws, corporation, check, payables, receivables, inventory, stock
For example: debtors in the UK are called receivables in the USA.
The answers plus definitions are at the end of the newsletter.
Well that’s it for the first issue of the English for Finance newsletter.
I really hope you like it. I would love to hear any comments and suggestions you might have about the newsletter.
Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Next issue will be out around the middle of March.
The website is being changed to make it clearer and easier to read. When the changes are made, I’ll let you know.
Also, not to be missed special introductory offer, each course can be bought for only 19 Euro! This price will not last long, only for the first 100 buyers.
Check it out at the website: www.englishforfinance.com.
This newsletter is written by Eoin Baxter. Eoin is Irish and runs a language training company in Madrid, Spain specialising in English for Finance. The company is called Baxter Business Services.
Eoin is a qualified accountant (ACCA- Chartered Association Certified Accountants) and also has a TEFL (Teach English as a Foreign Language) diploma. Eoin has been teaching English as a second language since 1998.
7) ANSWERS TO EXERCISE
Stock in the UK is Inventory in the USA
Creditors in the UK is Payables in the USA
Managing Director in the UK is CEO in the USA
Debtors in the UK is Receivables in the USA
Cheque in the UK is Check in the USA
Articles of Association in the UK is Bylaws in the USA
Company in the UK is Corporation in the USA
Share in the UK is Stock in the USA
(Yes, be careful with stock. It has different meanings in different countries)
Stock/Inventory: Goods purchased for resale, not yet sold.
Creditors/Payables: A person or organisation who provided goods or services, to the company but hasn’t been paid yet.
Managing Director/CEO(Chief Executive Officer): The top director responsible for managing the corporation.
Debtors/Receivables: A person or organisation who received goods or servces from the company but hasn’t paid yet.
Cheque/Check: A written document with the customers bank details and space to fill in the amount of the payment being made in words and numbers and the name of the beneficiary of the cheque.
Articles of Association/Bylaws: Legal document required to start a corporation with information as to how the company will be governed.
Company/Corporation: Legal business entity separate from its owners.
Share/stock: A legal document giving control or part control of a company.
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Sunday, 25 February 2007
Here is where you can find free information and of course, our Newsletter archives.
I will also regularly post free reports all about using English in a financial environment.
Lastly, but definetly not least, I welcome your feedback! Please post comments and thoughts.