Your Financial Intelligence Framework: Growth from the Ground Up

As a business owner it’s important to know your numbers. Last month I introduced my new Financial Intelligence Framework program, created to help arm business owners with an understanding of the critical numbers they need to unveil an accurate picture of their current financial position. Without those numbers, owners are ill-equipped to make sound financial decisions or confidently chart a course for growth.

The program was built to help companies achieve higher levels of cash and profitability, and financial goal clarity. It involves an in-depth look at a company’s financial structure – or framework – and rebuilding it to become the basis for growth. This is not a quick, “hand-it-over” process, but rather, requires some participation on the part of the owner and the financial team. Like building a home, we start by laying a solid foundation on which we build a strong framework. We do this in three phases to get the company on track to produce timely and accurate financial statements.

Phase 1: Discovery (3 weeks)

Problems often stem from accounting and bookkeeping structures and procedures that are inadequate to produce timely, accurate, financial statements. Discovery involves reviewing your company’s bookkeeping and accounting records and interviewing the people who are involved in these processes. You can expect the following deliverables after Discovery:

  1. Listing of transactions that need to be recorded monthly
  2. Matrix of the tasks and responsibilities that are necessary within the accounting function to build a complete and accurate set of books
  3. Monthly financial close check list that, when completed, ensures that books are accurate
  4. Gap analysis which compares and contrasts the current status of the financial framework as opposed to what it should be to work for your business

Phase 2: Implementation (3 to 6 months)

The time frame for the implementation phase varies depending on the owner’s budget and timeline, the existing accounting structure and condition of the books, and the complexity of the implementation process for the individual business. I start by sitting down with the business owner to review the findings from the Discovery phase. That meeting will include:

  1. A focus primarily on the deliverables
  2. Working with the gap analysis in order to create a financial framework that goes beyond optimizing the books
  3. Coming to an agreement about the priorities for implementation of the items identified in the gap analysis
  4. Determining a timeline and budget for implementation

After our meeting I provide a “blueprint” for implementation, which includes a proposal and timeline – what I also refer to as a roadmap. Then, resources needed to complete implementation are identified, and we determine together whether the company has those resources internally or if I need to provide the additional resources from my network.

We start with freshly prepared ground. I’ll act as the “general contractor” to keep Phase 2 on track as we rebuild your company’s financial intelligence framework, monitoring the blueprint and timeline to keep things moving. The owner’s commitment involves providing the financial and human resources necessary to implement the agreed upon changes and being available to make decisions and resolve issues as they are uncovered.

Phase 3: Strategic Planning and CFO Services

I’m often asked, “Once you do all this, where does it put me?” Short answer – it puts you in control of your business and its future. Upon completion of the Implementation phase, the business owner should be receiving timely, accurate financial information. Based on those now-valid numbers, I’ll work with you to develop strategies, forecasting, and plans for growth. With financial data that reflects the reality of the company’s position, you’ll be enabled to improve your financial intelligence through monthly reviews of financial statements. You’ll learn what numbers you need to be looking at each month, how to interpret that data, and how to apply it to make sound financial projections and business decisions. We will create a rolling, 12-month, operating budget and cash flow forecast to provide insight you may not have had before.

For many business owners, this may be the first time you have a valid, 12-month, operating budget, and forecasted cash flow. Standing on a solid financial foundation and working within a strong financial intelligence framework of timely and accurate financial information, you’ll have a plan for growth and confidence in your decision making like never before. I’d welcome the privilege of helping you build a Financial Intelligence Framework on which you can build for both the short and long-term. Contact me for a complimentary consultation.

Written by

Rick Arthur is a CFO whose expertise is built on Financial Intelligence and 35 years in senior financial roles. Coupled with a CEO’s perspective and the experience of building his own $20 million company, he brings a unique depth of insight into business from the top down. Wired to get to know people, Rick works hand-in-hand with business owners of intentional, growth-oriented companies, solidifying relationships as a trusted advisor and confidant to his clients. He leverages his experience to help business owners gain traction and stay laser-focused on the company’s vision, cash flow, and profitability – all while creating big picture solutions for strategic planning, growth and sustainable success.