“Financial planning is like navigation…”

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"Financial planning is like navigation. If you know where you are and where you want to go, navigation isn't such a great problem. It's when you don't know the two points that it's difficult" - Venita VanCaspel

Since the opening of The Round House, I’ve had the privilege of collaborating with several social enterprises and charities in Pembrokeshire, who are delivering essential services in a post-Covid world and during a cost-of-living crisis. Understandably, some are facing mounting financial pressures of their own in our current economic climate. The focus of the last few months has been working closely with senior leaders and boards, supporting them to plan, adapt and build.

So, it is unsurprising that my first blog focuses on financial resilience. Understanding and planning your finances is a ‘must’ for any not-for-profit. Planning and prioritisation of limited resources and maximising on positive outcomes for beneficiaries, relies on sound financial management.

Beginning with an in-depth exploration of historical income and expenditure, provides the information needed to ask those important questions. Exploring the reasons for financial management strategies and the resulting decisions (which often impacts the wider organisation), starts important conversations around what works and what key lessons need to be drawn. This is especially important around cash flow management and the ability to meet financial commitments.

If you are new to working with numbers, map out your past income and expenditure, and get familiar with the figures. Think about some of the decisions that are behind the numbers. Get used to doing this on a monthly basis.

Next, make some assumptions about what happens in the coming few months and note these down. Track your performance. Not only will this allow you to think ahead and plan accordingly, but it will provide you with a means to check accuracy and build confidence in your developing financial management skills.

My first client at The Round House, Pembrokeshire People First (PPF), an established charity run by and for adults with a learning disability and/or autism, needed support to analyse and diversify income streams. The charity wanted to have a robust and adaptive approach; to plan for the future and increase its sustainability; and to ensure the ongoing provision of much-needed services for the Pembrokeshire community.  

Chief Officer, Jen Greene, has said –

‘Working with Ceri at The Round House has proven invaluable for PPF. Having that outside eye to provide advice on where we need to focus our actions has helped us work through the minefield of juggling the provision of front-line services, whilst still making sure we have the money in the bank to deliver those services for our members. Our time with Ceri has allowed us to explore some key areas for development when it comes to our future income streams’.

For an informal conversation around support for your not-for-profit, email [email protected].