Developing Trustee Financial Confidence

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The Approach

The analyst began by analysing and developing accessible ways of presenting fairly complex original financial plans to enable understanding and discussion, using graphics to talk through at meetings. He used a incremental approach of using agenda items at successive board meetings as opportunities for board training, e.g. budget setting, mid-year report against budget, and discussion. This led to the triggering, at a later meeting, of a discussion about the need to redraw financial plans and revise assumptions, and the suggestion of a simpler medium term objective to analyse and present at next meeting.

At the next meeting, a financial plan based on the simpler objective and assumptions was presented, and the trustees were able to feel they had a good overall understanding of this. This enabled a constructive discussion of key assumptions and risks, and the trustees were better able to see how their own efforts could contribute to the ‘whole’.

“We now understand this all much better”

The Client

A developing home care co-operative.

The Client's Problem

A new social enterprise’s progress had been much slower than assumed in original financial plans; re-planning was needed, but trustees had limited understanding of original plans.

The Solution

  • Develop accessible graphical ways of presenting complex financial plans
  • Use existing meeting agenda items as training opportunities
  • Once group’s basic understanding develops, find opportunity to trigger fuller discussion of key issues
  • If possible, move to simpler financial planning model to enable broader trustee ‘ownership’

The Benefits

  • Clearer medium term plans have been developed, based on simpler more realistic growth targets, which the trustees can understand and ‘own’
  • Trustees understand much more what the business needs to do in order to reach a position of financial self-sustainability
  • Trustees can see much better what part their efforts, e.g. in promoting the business, can play in helping the move towards financial self-sustainability