This week I’m looking at the Financial Skills Training part of our process. I’ve been talking to some of the clients we’ve trained recently to see just what difference it’s made to their businesses.
I’ve been finding out how having better financial skills and information has given them more control over their businesses and their futures. Some have even been inspired to train as accountants!
Think finance is dry and boring? Let’s hear what they have to say!
Kate Rostance – Managing Director – Fat Free Media Ltd
Before working with Serena, our financial “strategy” was to say “yes” to as many projects as possible and hope for the best. Sometimes we agreed to projects out of fear of saying “no”, and we had absolutely no idea what projects made us money and what projects didn’t. A lot of the time I had no idea whether we were making enough money, or whether there would be a massive bill around the corner I wasn’t aware of that would knock us for six.
Decisions on growth and investment were done with a bit of intuition and a lot of blind faith, and it felt like VAT and tax payment took us by surprise every single time. We had accountants who knew what they were doing, but the problem was we didn’t understand how to read the documents they sent us, much less understand how to make decisions based on them.
We knew this was a massive blind spot for us, and after following Serena online for a few years, we were finally ready to stop letting this hold us back.
The training I’ve had has been instrumental in us working out exactly what we want from our lives and our business. I’ve now got the skills to become a financial leader – to create a strategy for how to take the business forward, and to know exactly what I need to do to get us there. We have the right information and I know what to do with it. I have peace of mind that our business finances are under complete control. I know that we’ll achieve our targets, I have an early warning system if anything changes and I have complete faith that we’ll achieve those targets.
It now feels like we control the finances, rather than the finances controlling us!
Jenny Brewer – Finance Director – Warranty Admin Services Ltd
Although I’m a director and equal shareholder in my business I always felt like ‘the bookkeeper in the corner’.
Now I feel like the Finance Director and know how important my role is. I know that what I do drives the company forward and keeps it on track.
During my coaching I’ve introduced really comprehensive management reporting and weekly flash reporting which means we can forecast ahead and always know where we are financially. I’ve massively stepped up how I contribute at board meetings and in the day to day running of the business. I feel confident to present my ideas for helping the business to grow and to tackle things that need sorting. I definitely think more strategically now and that’s a big win for my business.
Julie Rodrigues – Finance Manager – Hallam Internet Ltd
I’ve learnt the importance of financial control and visibility. I used to be complacent about the numbers I produced each month because I didn’t really understand how to look at them and read the vital signs.
I can now look at our management accounts in an analytical way to make sure I’m giving the most accurate information to our directors, supporting them to make the decisions needed to be a successful business. We’re able to think and act quicker which is paramount in business and this means we can be fully prepared for any eventuality. Everything I’ve learnt so far has enabled me to step up and support the business at a whole new level.
Serena has given me the confidence to present our management accounts which seemed very daunting at first but I’m now confident in our numbers and able to explain how we’ve reached them. It’s starting to become second nature now!
The last 6 months have given me the drive to continue my financial studies into CIMA so I can become more knowledgeable and grow even further. My role has grown so much since the start of the year and I’m excited to see where this takes me going forward and how much more I can learn and put into practice within our business.
Wendy Eastwood – Finance Manager – Europrojects Ltd
We used to outsource our management accounts and only used to get very basic information. Since I trained with Serena and Chris we’ve developed much better, automated financial information and brought it in-house so I do this myself.
Not only does this save money but we’ve got much more control over our information and better financial visibility. We now have a budget and can reforecast throughout the year so we always know where we’re going, and we use the information to plan different scenarios and make better informed business decisions.
Before I felt like I was just processing the numbers but now I feel have full control and a lot more confidence. I can look at the accounts in depth to understand what’s really going on, and having graphs and KPIs means we can see everything right across the business and can plan for the future in a way we never could before.
Emma Somerset MAAT – Finance Manager – SFC Group
Working with The F Word has helped me develop within my role and I have learnt a lot from Serena and Sharon. They’ve extended my financial knowledge to help me see the bigger picture, but also to understand the ‘why’ with key areas in the accounts. This has helped give the business insight needed to push the company in the right direction and make necessary decisions.
The F Word and SFC have also encouraged me to continue my studies and I am working towards the CIMA professional qualification. Serena gave me great advice on how to approach the course which has been very beneficial to my progress. I’m keen to develop my career and progress within my role as Finance Manager to give the best life to my little girl and family, and also to bring more knowledge and understanding to the company I work for. I’m very grateful to my employer for giving me this opportunity.
Colin Booth – Finance and Strategy Director – Just for Tummies Ltd
Before I didn’t really understand much about the accounts and we relied on the year-end accounts to run the business. Looking back, my financial training gave me the building blocks to grow the business and made me the director I am today.
We put financial reporting in place so I could track monthly and forecast profitability and together with the cash flow forecast and KPIs I’ve been able to track our most successful marketing campaigns and measure the results to keep the business growing whilst getting stronger.
I feel so in control of the business as I have a firm handle on the financial micro-management and direction. And the Deep Work Serena talks about all the time has really helped me to focus deeply on our marketing to the point we have grown turnover 102% this year!
I’ve even been inspired to start training for my professional accountancy qualifications.