The traditional approach to the scope of financial management refers to its subject matter in the academic literature in the initial stages of its evolution as a separate branch of study. According to this approach, the scope of financial management is confined to the raising of funds. Hence, the scope of finance was treated by the traditional approach in the narrow sense of procurement of funds by corporate enterprise to meet their financial needs. Since the main emphasis of finance function at that period was on the procurement of funds, the subject was called corporation finance till the mid-1950's and covered discussion on the financial instruments, institutions and practices through which funds are obtained. Further, as the problem of raising funds is more intensely felt at certain episodic events such as merger, liquidation, consolidation, reorganisation and so on. These are the broad features of the subject matter of corporation finance, which has no concern with the decisions of allocating firm's funds. But the scope of finance function in the traditional approach has now been discarded as it suffers from serious criticisms. Again, the limitations of this approach fall into the following categories.
The emphasis in the traditional approach is on the procurement of funds by the corporate enterprises, which was woven around the viewpoint of the suppliers of funds such as investors, financial institutions, investment bankers, etc, i.e. outsiders. It implies that the traditional approach was the outsider-looking-in approach. Another limitation was that internal financial decision-making was completely ignored in this approach.
The second criticism leveled against this traditional approach was that the scope of financial management was confined only to the episodic events such as mergers, acquisitions, reorganizations, consolation, etc. The scope of finance function in this approach was confined to a description of these infrequent
happenings in the life of an enterprise. Thus, it places over emphasis on the topics of securities and its markets, without paying any attention on the day to day financial aspects.
Another serious lacuna in the traditional approach was that the focus was on the long-term financial problems thus ignoring the importance of the working capital management. Thus, this approach has failed to consider the routine managerial problems relating to finance of the firm.
During the initial stages of development, financial management was dominated by the traditional approach as is evident from the finance books of early days. The tradi-tional approach was found in the first manifestation by Green's book written in 1897, Meades on Corporation Finance, in 1910; Doing's on Corporate Promotion and Reorganisation, in 1914, etc.
As stated earlier, in this traditional approach all these writings emphasized the finan-cial problems from the outsiders' point of view instead of looking into the problems from managements, point of view. It over emphasized long-term financing lacked in analytical content and placed heavy emphasis on descriptive material. Thus, the traditional approach omits the discussion on the important aspects like cost of the capital, optimum capital structure, valuation of firm, etc. In the absence of these crucial aspects in the finance function, the traditional approach implied a very narrow scope of financial management. The modern or new approach provides a solution to all these aspects of financial management.
After the 1950's, a number of economic and environmental factors, such as the technological innovations, industrialization, intense competition, interference of government, growth of population, necessitated efficient and effective utilisation of financial resources. In this context, the optimum allocation of the firm's resources is the order of the day to the management. Then the emphasis shifted from episodic financing to the managerial financial problems, from raising of funds to efficient and effective use of funds. Thus, the broader view of the modern approach of the finance function is the wise use of funds. Since the financial decisions have a great impact on all other business activities, the financial manager should be concerned about deter-mining the size and nature of the technology, setting the direction and growth of the business, shaping the profitability, amount of risk taking, selecting the asset mix, determination of optimum capital structure, etc. The new approach is thus an analyti-cal way of viewing the financial problems of a firm. According to the new approach, the financial management is concerned with the solution of the major areas relating to the financial operations of a firm, viz., investment, and financing and dividend decisions. The modern financial manager has to take financial decisions in the most rational way. These decisions have to be made in such a way that the funds of the firm are used optimally. These decisions are referred to as managerial finance functions since they require special care with extraordinary administrative ability, management skills and decision - making techniques, etc.