The VFD Way 'Roadmap'
Inspiring Accountants to deliver Part-Time FD services with confidence
The VFD Way (Fast Track or Mastermind Groups), will give you everything needed to deliver your Finance as a Service offering:
- Your step-by-step implementation process: Planning, Forecasting and Management Reporting.
- Marketing content for Proposals, Website Content, Social Media, Email Marketing and Brochures.
- Practical support to scope services, quantify the value, agree prices, and present your proposition.
- Hands on support to use and adapt where necessary, all of the assets in your VFD toolbox.
Depending on whether you opt for the VFD Way Fast Track, or the VFD Way Mastermind Groups, this will be achieved in a combination of group sessions, supported by one-to-one mentoring and coaching meetings each month.
This knowledge and skills transfer process will give you and your team everything you need to confidently and competently market and deliver an exceptional service that over time does not depend on you for delivery allowing you to scale your service and your equity value.
As you work through the process you will learn how to continually identify and realise quick wins, whilst learning a rigorous, repeatable system / process you can apply in yours and your client’s businesses.
As Finance Director/CFO you will be expected to take ownership of the entire financial function. It’s imperative the management team has a robust plan, and a detailed forecast allowing them to track and report how the business is performing and where attention needs to be focused to achieve or ideally exceed the owner’s goals.
As FD/CFO you will collaborate closely with every part of the business to help plan and agree realistic budgets. You will work extremely closely with the MD/CEO and taking leading responsibility for:
- Monitoring business performance compared to forecast, tracking and optimising cash flow.
- Overseeing the budgets and spend controls, supporting other departments and teams.
- Supervising the accounts ‘team’ (yours and your client’s accounts staff, and/or sub-contractors).
- Strategic planning, modelling, and forecasting, including regular updates and adjustments.
- Competitive analysis, strategic planning, exit planning.
- The role frequently includes supervision of third-party suppliers, e.g., HR, H&S and IT.
- You will become indispensable, consulted, and integral to every significant decision related to the business, and in many cases your client’s personal life, as their most trusted and often their only confidant.
The VFD Way (your way), is a structured plan broken down into defined modules that are applied flexibly because this is an iterative process.
This really comes down to your mindset and your value proposition. Inevitably the more value you deliver, the greater your fee income will be, so some key questions for you:
- Is your core offering going to be Compliance plus reporting and meetings to discuss financial performance?
- Will you prepare a plan, forecast and report performance vs forecast, but not as part of their management team?
- Will you take the role of Part Time FD/CFO, and take ownership of the entire financial function?
Another way of asking this question is this: What problems do you plan to solve in your client’s life?
To answer this, consider the following: These are the challenges or financial problems every business owner faces, and if left to their own devices, are very rarely well managed.
Compliance is a small part of the overall picture and is inevitably outsourced to their accountant.
Bookkeeping is critical to getting paid, but is rarely setup or managed correctly, making it impossible to extract meaningful management information.
Without management information it is impossible to effectively manage or control the business.
Financial Direction and Management is critical to solving the problems, because only then can the business plan for the future, track and manage progress on their journey from A to B.
If we look at this from the Business Owners perspective, for a larger business the solution is to invest in Financial Direction/Management to get control of the situation in order to manage the various issues identified above.
Typically businesses spend between £2,000 and £5,000 on their compliance accountant to take care of the statutory, accounts, tax advice, and for some clients, filing VAT returns, Payroll etc.
The average fees for a part-time FD are in the range £1,500 to £4,000 per month, which from the practice firms perspective, is a potential 10x increase in revenue, and an even greater increase in profit margins, (and hence the value of the practice).
Bear in mind the new part-time FD has been brought into the company because of a perceived failure of the financial department to deliver what the business needs, so the first task is to sort out ‘Finance’. Whatever the start point, the Finance Function must run smoothly, so if the total spend on the Finance Function is in the range £150,000 to £250,000, this is the size of the opportunity.
Think about it. The incumbent financial staff are not delivering, that is why you will have been brought in, they probably lack the appropriate expertise, without effective systems and process, they don’t have the scale to justify the use of automation technology and are unlikely to have thought about off shoring.
As an accountant you are well placed to address all of these with relative ease, plus you can use the services of an outsourcing organisation to start offering to take over these tasks from day one.
This is probably the greatest ‘win’ from successfully implementing your part-time FD services, you can 10X your business simply by taking the part-time FD role, (with appropriate clients), or you could 50X to 100X your business providing a full outsource finance service offering.
Let’s come back to the ‘Appropriate Clients’ and consider this for a moment. If we re-use a pyramid, but this time use it to represent all businesses. At the apex we have the largest corporate businesses, and at the base we have the sole traders, so it could look like the illustration below.
Businesses turning over more than £10M will almost certainly have an FD or CFO running the Finance Function, so from the practice accountant’s perspective, the ‘position’ of FD is not longer vacant, so these are not in your target market for these services and the FD will already liaise with the externally appointed compliance accountant.
Note that 99% to 100% of these FD’s will help with business planning and create a robust three-way forecast, (Profit and Loss, Balance Sheet and above all Cash Flow), that forms the core of the financial management information executives use to track performance and manage the business.
However, below £5M it’s a very different story: No FD, varying degrees of financial chaos, (and almost certainly no reliable management information due to poor bookkeeping). The only financial expertise available to the owner is the practice accountant, but we know first hand that less than 1% of Accountants in Practice help clients plan, build a forecast and go on to report performance vs forecast.
Do businesses above a magic £10M line all required a plan and a forecast, but all those below that ‘magic’ line don’t? Clearly this is not the case, this is money being left on the table if you are the accountant providing the compliance service. But if you are the business owner, this is a massive and increasingly urgent problem that you eventually ‘fix’ by appointing an FD to sort it out.
So this is what the market looks like in reality:
There are approximately 500,000 businesses in the UK in the £500K to £10M turnover band who are experiencing ever increasing ‘pain’ due to the need for better financial management and control. All need a plan, a forecast and to be successful, to track and report performance vs forecast as a core part of their Management Information.
The FD is the key decision maker / influencer for all key financial decisions, and in particular, is 100% responsible for decisions related to how the Financial Function performs its role.
So what are you going to do?
- Stick with just providing compliance, taking a tiny slice of the available ‘pie’ solving a tiny part of the client’s problems?
- Or are you going to provide part time FD services and potentially 10X your practice over time?
- Or are you going to springboard from providing FD services, to offer a complete outsource finance function?
The choice as they say, is yours! I know what I would do😉.
When they started their business, most ‘entrepreneurs’ did so because they were good at something, be that plumbing, or inventing things, or providing a service, the typical business journey frequently looks like this:
On day one it is just the entrepreneur with an idea for a business, for example an inventor, with a passion for innovation start their own business and they must do everything, (engaging an accountant to help them file their accounts).
If things go well and sales grow, at some point our inventor / business owner might be able to afford to employ someone to help them, so if Sales and Marketing is not their strong point, their first hire might be in that area. So the business now looks like this, one person covering sales and marketing, with the owner covering all other functions:
With increased sales effort, all being well the business continues to grow, and over time the owner recruits more people to do the jobs they don’t want to do, (or they acknowledge others could do better), and the team grows with heads of each ‘department’. In many instances, Finance is the last function to be handed over to someone else, and because some things are outsourced, ‘Finance’ (who pay the bills), end up being responsible for other services, like HR, IT and Health and Safety, so the business might end up looking more like this:
As the business grows, so more staff are employed, and the business becomes more and more complicated… but the owner, whose passion is inventing things, without training and appropriate support is highly unlikely to spend sufficient time working ‘on’ rather than ‘in’ the business, and it is extremely unlikely they install adequate financial controls.
In many businesses, the person employed to manage ‘Finance’ was probably OK at raising invoices, making payments and hopefully collecting debts, they are unlikely to be able to deliver the financial management the business needs as it grows and becomes increasingly complicated to understand and control.
Without a good understanding of business and finance and a lack of financial management and controls at best the business will operate inefficiently. The first significant sign there are problems is when the business starts to experience cash flow challenges.
As we all know, businesses can survive for a time with insufficient profit, but run out of cash and it is game over. There are two solutions to this problem:
- Educate business owners so they know what good financial controls are, and how they aid effective business decision making.
- Provide suitable support in the form of Financial Analysis, Reporting and Support, and where appropriate assist the Board of Directors and the Management Team by taking the role of Virtual Finance Director.
In terms of educating business owners, there are two training programmes, designed to be delivered by Accountants in Practice, to help business owners understand what they need, and what good financial control looks like. One is focused on how to grow a business in a financially prudent manner, the other focuses on what is needed to scale and when the time comes, to allow the business owner to hand over the reins and exit successfully.
The importance of education cannot be underestimated. Not just for you and your team and your own CPD, but for clients and potential clients to create awareness, build understanding and increase demand for your high value services.
Differentiate Your Practice: Very few accountants provide any sort of formal training or education for their clients, so this is also a very low cost, simple strategy to massively differentiate your practice form the vast majority of films who are happy to just keep their heads down and offer a compliance only service.
Most business owners have received no formal training on how to run a business and how business finance works, with most focusing exclusively on sales alone, plus how much is in the bank in terms of financial management data.
What is FiMBO and Exit Planning 101:
FiMBO is short for ‘Financial Management for Business Owners’, but it is better described as ‘How to Grow Your Business’.
Exit Planning 101 is potentially a misleading title because business owners frequently think this is something they don’t need to worry about, whereas in practice, running an Exit Ready business should be the goal of every owner from the outset. An Exit Ready business is a successful business and that should be a priority from Day One.
FiMBO and Exit Planning 101 are training courses, designed and refined to be delivered by you, as your client’s advisor, to help both existing and potential clients understand financial management and appreciate the need to plan, forecast and track performance vs plan, with continuous focus to improve the Key Business Drivers and grow the business, (FiMBO), whilst also working to enhance ‘Transferable Value’. (Exit Planning 101).
What is the format of the FiMBO and Exit Planning 101 programmes?
The presentation format is PowerPoint in the form of 24 slide decks, (12 for FiMBO and 12 for Exit Planning 101), the slide decks are fully branded so you present a professional image, and each slide comes complete with presenters notes such that with practice, anyone in your team can present easily.
Most firms opt to deliver their FiMBO and Exit Planning 101 training as a series of 12 one-hour online webinars delivered weekly*. If delivered in this format, this provides you with a total of 24 weeks, providing nearly 6 months of engaging and extremely valuable educational content.
* Some firms opt to deliver their training in a combination of online and in person workshops, either weekly, or as intensive training delivered in a series of full or half day residential courses either one to many, or as a dedicated ‘in-house’ training programme to deliver to larger clients who want to educate a group of managers.
The topics covered in FiMBO and Exit Planning 101 are as summarised below:
|Financial Management for Business Owners, (FiMBO)||Exit Planning 101|
|1. How to grow your business|
2. Key Performance Indicators
3. Quick Win Cash Strategies
4. Improving Cash Flow
5. Margin/Cost Control
6. Customer Attrition
7. Gap Analysis / Cross Selling
8. Transactions No. and Value
9. Customer Acquisition
10. Know Your Number
11. Achieving Exit Readiness
12. Performance vs Plan
|1. Introduction to Exit Planning|
2. Business By Design Process
3. Know Your Number
4. Personal Exit Preparation
5. Financial Due Diligence
7. Establishing the Right Value
10. Preparing Your People Plan
11. Tax Planning
12. Putting it all together
In addition to the 24 slide decks there is a comprehensive marketing package to accompany the Financial Management for Business Owners, (FiMBO), and Exit Planning 101 training that effectively provide you with everything you need to market and promote your part time FD/CFO services.
Many firms rely exclusively on ‘word-of-mouth referrals’ doing little if any other form of marketing.
Referrals are the best source of new business; however, this means many existing clients and almost certainly any potential new clients are unlikely to know everything your firm can offer, especially if/when you add new products or services.
Firms often believe a website is unnecessary if they receive regular referrals, but this is not the case because even people who have heard about your firm from someone else is likely to do online research before making contact, so you need to make it clear what you stand for, and what services you offer.
To help you get your marketing working, there is a ton of collateral and templates built using the Growing Your Numbers brand that you are welcome to use either with your own branding, or if you are part of the VFD Way group, you can use the Growing Your Numbers branded materials with your contact details. The collateral includes but is not limited to the following:
- The GrowingYourNumbers.com website focusing on clients desired outcome, (rather than services).
- Email marketing content to help you stay ‘top of mind’ with both clients and prospects alike.
To accompany the FiMBO training programme alone, there are three emails for each of the 12 webinar topics, one to be sent to registered delegates before and after each session, and to ensure all clients are aware, and able to register to join a future FiMBO programme, there is a third email template to be sent to all of the contacts on your database, and in particular to all clients, to make sure they know what you offer, add in the emails to sent before the session starts, that makes over 40 email templates, this doubles to over 80 if you also include the comms that accompany the Exit Planning 101 training programme.
- Social Media content to ensure your profile never portrays a deserted tumbleweed appearance.
There are so many tips and suggestions included in each of the FiMBO and the Exit Planning 101 sessions, it becomes easy to post something every week, or even every day, this content is available for you to use and can be setup for you and/or posted on your behalf.
- Brochures and leaflets to promote your services.
There are brochures for part-time FD services and for each of the 12 FiMBO modules, and a further 12 for the Exit Planning 101 Modules.
- Partnerships, national organisations and introducers – the power of many.
Collectively Growing Your Numbers as a larger group of proactive accountants / part-time FDs/CFOs has the critical mass needed to appeal to larger and/or national organisations of professional advisors such as banks, allowing the VFD Way firms who are part of Growing Your Numbers to develop mutually beneficial referral relationships.
Firms on the VFD Way Mastermind or Fast Track automatically qualify to be included as part of the Growing Your Numbers team, and are welcome to re-brand any of the Growing Your Numbers collateral.
However, rebranding takes take time and investment, which is why many adopt the Growing Your Numbers brand and trading style, promoting themselves as one of the Growing Your Numbers (GYN) team which in turn has some distinct advantages:
- We can take care of marketing for you, using the GYN website and related collateral / branding.
- You save money because you don’t need to replicate everything in your own branding.
- You benefit from being part of a larger organisation when it comes to brokering national partnerships.
For more information on Growing Your Numbers or for more information about marketing content please get in touch.
When you agree to assist a business owner, helping them plan, forecast and go onto review performance vs forecast, supporting them and their management team, you are embarking on a life changing journey together.
This is a million miles away from the traditional ‘compliance only’ service provided by most accountants, so your first challenge is likely to be that of presenting yourself, and the transformation you can deliver in a consistent and coherent manner.
To help you do this the Client Discussion Framework and related support collateral provide you a ready-made system / process you can customise to form an essential part of your ‘Standard Operating Procedures’, making it easy to standardise, train and mentor team members, and provide a consistent client experience.
The Client Discussion Framework breaks down what is essentially a sales process into 7 steps detailing how to engage with a business owner, whatever their level of financial acumen, to help them understand and fully grasp two things:
- How Financial Information can be used to accelerate business success and avoid failure.
- Convince them they need your help to plan and effectively manage their business and their Finance Function.
There are seven key steps in the process:
- Setup / Preparation: What you need to do before you meet with your client, to help you decide what to discuss, and what to leave out, and how best to help your prospect / client understand their current reality and the potential for growth.
- Business and Personal Goals / Dreams / Fears: You will use the current business valuation to stimulate a focused discussion on where the business owner wants to be five years from now. This should be expanded into an exploration of their personal as well as their business goals to establish a common framework for what ‘Success’ looks like for them… everything thereafter should reference back to these goals.
- Key Issues (Current Trends and Impact on Profit / Business Value): You will select the key trends or issues to discuss and remove ‘clutter’ to ensure your conversation stays focused. In the example given in the main text the discussion zeros in on just 3 key issues: 1) New Client Acquisition, 2) Transaction Value and 3) Retention.
- Profit Improvement Potential: Having highlighted the impact of not making a change, the discussion then focuses on the potential to make small, seemingly insignificant improvements to the Business Growth Drivers, which demonstrates the dramatic impact compounding has on the revenue and profitability over time.
- Potential Business Valuation (Organic): Increasing profit leads to increased equity value, so the profit improvement discussion is then logically linked to the corresponding impact on the value of the business, as a vehicle to create the wealth the prospect / client needs to realise their dreams.
- Cash Flow / Working Capital: Growth is impossible if the business runs out of cash and most business owners have a poor grasp of how the cash flow cycle works, so in this, the last but one step, you will demonstrate to your client why managing cash is critical to success and demonstrate the potential to improve cash flow.
- Recap and Next Steps: Having turned on the light, and illuminated the potential, your prospect / client will ideally now want to work with you, so you need to give them a plan and invite them to take action, this last section breaks down into three sub-steps: 1) Agree the Scope, 2) Agree the Price, 3) Prepare a Written Proposal.
To help you streamline your own implementation, VFD Way Mastermind and Fast Track members are provided with the following resources:
- The Client Discussion Framework as a PDF: This is a comprehensive, detailed instruction manual with examples of how to prepare and present your part-time FD/CFO service, including suggested scripts/words for your team to use. Create and save your own version of the Framework as a PDF which becomes the operations manual your team use when presenting your services to potential clients.
- The Client Discussion Framework as an Editable Word Document: To save you having to document your process from scratch, you will be provided with a word version of the full Client Discussion Framework for you to modify as you see fit and create your own Operations Manual.
- The Client Discussion Framework Example Presentation as a PowerPoint File: This provides a concise summary of the Framework as it might be delivered to either train your team how to preset their part-time FD/CFO proposition to a client. This comes complete with presenter notes.
- Part Time FD/CFO Service Brochure as a PDF: This file is an example brochure you might wish to create for your practice, or if you prefer to use the GYN branding, to use as is without having to customise using your own branding.
- Part Time FD/CFO Service Brochure as an Editable Word Document: This allows you to make edits and change the images / branding to create your own version of the brochure to hand out to prospective clients and to enclose as support collateral to accompany proposals and letters of engagement.
- Example Service Proposal as a Word Document: As a result of a successful presentation, you will be asked to confirm your ‘Proposal’ in writing. This word document provides you with a suggested description of each of the key services you will deliver as part of a successful part-time FD/CFO engagement. This provides you with a template you can use to populate your proposal software.
- Practice Ignition Framework Import File (.CSV File Format): This file takes the titles and description used in the Word Document as a .CSV format file that can be quickly and easily imported into Practice Ignition if this is your proposal software of choice.
- Proposal Pricing Calculator / Work Sheet (Excel File): This is provided to help you easily explain and agree the required scope in terms of the time required for each part of the part-time FD/CFO process, to quickly provide prices and options to present on the fly, to agree which option is the best fit for a potential new client.
The above collateral is under continual review and is updated as new assets are created in response to requests for more support from the VFD Way Mastermind and Fast Track group members.
Whilst every client is unique and circumstances will vary greatly, the typical part time FD/CFO process you apply will follow several distinct steps / phases. These in turn become the ‘scope’ you will agree and adopt with your client to avoid ‘Scope Creep’.
The Key Tasks in the Process of Onboarding and Embedding a New VFD Client:
Planning / Forecasting / Scenario Planning / Sensitivity Analysis:
The Strategic Planning Process: Before you can build a forecast, working with the business owner and ideally all key stakeholders, you will need to agree a high-level plan that sets the targets the business needs to achieve over the next 5 years capturing the movement in the key Business Drivers and the resulting output results: Revenue, Gross and Net Profit and Cash Flow.
Having agreed the high level targets the next task is to establish how the required results can be achieved through a combination of optimising sales of current products and services to the existing customer base and how much needs to be achieved by increasing customer numbers, and/or new products and services.
Baseline Three Way Forecast: The output of the Strategic Planning Process provides the inputs needed to build the baseline 3-way forecast by providing the sales targets broken down by product / service from which the variable costs and related overheads can be established.
The build-up of the forecast is ideally performed as an iterative process where the management team discusses and agrees the detail. For example, there is no point Sales and Marketing achieving levels of sales greater than the company’s ability to deliver, so the sales volume and capacity considerations need to be matched carefully.
There are inevitably any number of options, but the first requirement is to capture the ‘Base Case’ Forecast and to then look at alternative scenarios.
Scenario Planning: It maybe that during the various meetings that led to the Base Case Forecast being agreed the Sales Director was adamant that with a larger sales team they could achieve greater results, or the Manufacturing Director insisted that with investment in new machinery they could cut the cost of sales and increase capacity, or the Operations Director could be convinced that opening another outlet would be the best strategy for growth…
Each could be right, but without a plan and a forecast to project revenue, profit, cash flow and the resulting impact on the balance sheet and the company valuation it is impossible to establish which of the various scenarios would in fact be best for the business.
Scenario Planning by mapping the various investments, projected results and the timing of revenue and the associated cash flow movements and return on investment is the only way to compare and contrast various scenarios to allow the management team to make an informed decision as to which of the many options is the best for their particular circumstances.
The Forecast: The output of the Strategic Planning Process is the Forecast, this is the plan for the business that incorporates all the assumptions and plans in a financial road map that can then be used as the basis for not only planning, but for tracking performance against plan.
The ideal forecast will include not only the profit and loss projections, but a detailed cash flow and balance sheet forecast, taking into account sensitivity analysis related to movement in the gross margin and rate of sales growth, as well as mapping the impact in cash flow and profitability of over or under achieving the sales forecast.
The Forecast also includes how the valuation of the business is impacted to ensure that the business owner remains focused on the prize, their eventual successful Exit.
Preparing the Management Pack each Month
The Management Pack: The objective of Management Meetings is to work ‘on’ the business, which means the management team need access to information to understand, and hence make informed decisions regarding the parts of the business they are responsible for, it is not purely a meeting to review financial reports.
The exact contents of the ‘Management Pack’ will vary depending on the nature of the business, but the review of financial performance versus plan, or forecast should form a key part of the management pack.
It is likely other information, for example non-financial KPI’s will need to be set as targets and regularly updated to record and report on the performance of financial and non-financial KPI’s.
Whatever the eventual makeup of the Management Pack, which is likely to be refined over time, collating and circulating the agreed information is typically something performed by the finance function to provide everything in one ‘pack’ each month with the timing dictated by the availability of financial data.
As part of your ‘scope’ you (or those you delegate the task to), will need to assemble the Management Pack. Whilst VFD Pro will totally automate much of the data processing and report generation, including the overlay of non-financial data with the related financial information, there is still work you or your team will need to do each reporting cycle.
At the core of the Management Pack the Financial Forecast will need to be updated to track and report Performance vs Forecast to highlight any key variances than in turn become the focus for that part of the Management Meeting.
As well as generating the reports, one of your team will ideally review the Management Pack to identify and highlight any key issues that will ideally be communicated to the client, (i.e. anyone attending the management meetings).
On occasions exceptional items, for example a significant overspend in one particular month, will necessitate additional analysis and supplementary information being provided to fully explain the exception, and finally, the person who will attend the meeting as part-time FD will need to be briefed to prepare them for the meeting.
Monthly Management Meetings: In many instances management meetings are conducted monthly, after all or most of the income and expenditure from the prior month has been processed and the month end closed.
Note: Some businesses also need to work to a weekly reporting cycle, but this is less common and in reality, the vast majority of SME’s start out with little or no formal structure or process in their management meetings and need help to get these properly setup, structured and running smoothly.
Bear in mind that at each meeting various actions are agreed, allocated to the person or persons best placed to complete the actions, and progress is then reviewed at the next meeting. This means that some preparation is required in between meetings on the part of members of the Management Team to complete the actions they agree to, and to update others on progress.
This means that there is inevitably work required between meetings to ensure any actions agreed at the last meeting are completed and/or status updates provided.
In many businesses, as the task of preparing the Management Pack falls to the Finance Function, (you and your team), you will spend time with the MD / CEO preparing the agenda and circulating reminders of outstanding actions which where appropriate will form the basis of the key agenda items at the next meeting, something you/your team will circulate along with the Management Pack.
Summary: The monthly cycle revolving around each monthly Management Meeting requires the following:
- Investing time to review the actions from the last meeting ensuring wherever possible your actions are complete.
- Reviewing the management pack and any exceptional items to bring these onto the agenda with the agreement of the MD/CEO.
- Circulating the Agenda with, (where appropriate), reminders to other executives if they are required to lead parts of the agenda.
- Attending the Management Meeting itself, and depending on how meetings are to be administered.
- Recording actions and circulating the minutes of each meeting.
So, as you can appreciate, the meeting itself is only a small part of the work required for an effective management process, the majority of the work takes place outside of the actual meeting preparing for the meeting, completing tasks committed to during meetings, and the leadership team holding each other to account.
Quarterly Strategic Planning Meetings: A quarterly strategic planning meeting serves several important purposes within an organization:
- Alignment: It helps align the organisation’s activities and goals with its long-term strategic objectives. By meeting regularly, the leadership team can ensure that everyone is on the same page and working towards a common vision.
- Review and Assessment: It provides a forum to review the progress made on previously set strategic goals and initiatives. This assessment helps in identifying what’s working and what needs adjustment.
- Adjustment and Adaptation: In a rapidly changing business environment, organisations need to be agile and responsive. Quarterly meetings allow for adjustments to the strategic plan in response to shifting market conditions, emerging opportunities, or unforeseen challenges.
- Accountability: Regular strategic meetings help hold individuals and teams accountable for their roles in the execution of the strategic plan. It provides an opportunity to track progress, identify bottlenecks, and assign responsibility.
- Resource Allocation: The meetings help in allocating resources such as budget, personnel, and time to various strategic initiatives. It ensures that the most critical projects receive the necessary resources.
- Problem Solving: It provides a structured environment for addressing challenges and obstacles that may be hindering progress toward strategic goals. The collective intelligence of the leadership team can be used to find solutions to problems.
- Long-Term Focus: In the day-to-day operations, it’s easy to get caught up in short-term issues. Quarterly strategic planning meetings force the organisation to think about its long-term vision and how it will achieve it.
- Feedback and Learning: These meetings also serve as a feedback loop, where lessons learned from the previous quarter’s activities can be incorporated into the next phase of planning. This continuous learning helps improve the organisation’s strategic execution over time.
In essence, the quarterly strategic planning meeting is a structured, recurring process that helps organisations stay on course, adapt to changing circumstances, and achieve their long-term objectives. It’s a fundamental component of effective strategic management.
- Ad Hoc Support: In addition to the above there will inevitably be times when your financial expertise will be needed to support analysis, understanding and decision making outside of the formal meeting outlined above, for example to assist other members of the management team prepare proposals and / or recommendations for investments supported by financial information.
The need for support is likely to be greater in the early days than later, when systems and processes have settled down into a more stable work flow and process.
- Rectifying Bookkeeping Issues: The above assumes the financial data extracted from the accounting software is suitably structured and can be relied upon. If at any stage this proves not to be the case, there is an additional work package required to analyse, identify, and quantify the work required, and to cost and implement required changes.
Agreeing a scope and the terms of engagement
Each of the different work packages outlined above needs to be discussed with the client and a sensible compromise agreed that is sufficient to allow you to do the job that needs to be done in a professional and complete manner, whilst also being affordable for the business in question.
When the scope and commercial terms are agreed these must be clarified in the form of a proposal and letter of engagement that minimises the risk of undue scope creep without adjusting the fee structure accordingly.
To answer this question, we must be clear on the problem we are solving.
As an Accountant In Practice, Bookkeeper, financially savvy Business Advisor, or an Accountant in Industry, the VFD Way is for you, however, unless you’ve been operating as a part-time FD/CFO with multiple businesses, sectors, and sizes, you have a steep learning curve to climb, and you will face significant challenges:
- Getting in front of the decision makers of businesses of the appropriate size and complexity who are actively looking for and are prepared to invest in financial management and control.
- Convincing potential clients YOU are the best person to solve their ‘financial challenges’ and achieve their business goals. Be that Turnaround and Recovery, Scaling and/or preparing for a successful exit.
- Retaining clients whilst building your advisory client portfolio such that you can scale, and not become a bottleneck in your own scale and exit planning.
There are pros and cons with both the one-to-one Fast Track format and the Mastermind / Group format, so let’s explore these before we cover exactly what is included, (and what isn’t)…
One-to-one Fast Track, vs the Mastermind/Group format:
|VFD Way One-to-One Fast Track:||VFD Way Mastermind Groups:|
In summary, if you have a team of client managers and you want to become successful as quickly as possible, the one-to-one Fast Track will provide a more intensive learning environment and hence a faster return on investment.
If however you don’t have team of Client Managers to train and mentor, the group dynamic and the lower initial investment probably make the mastermind group format more appropriate.
Your Investment & Guarantee
VFD Way Fast Track: £1,999 for the first person, plus £249 for each additional Client Manager / practitioner.
VFD Way Mastermind: £499 for the first person, plus £249 for each additional Client Manager / practitioner.
Whichever option you go for you benefit from VFD’s unconditional 90-day money back guarantee: If for any reason what-so-ever you are not delighted with the value you receive, simply say so and we refund every penny, no questions asked. (All prices are subject to VAT).