If you’re running your own business, you know that an incredible amount of planning is required to be successful. You need to plan for your employees by arranging their schedules, encouraging their professional development, and guaranteeing they get paid on time. You also need to plan for your customers, making fantastic services or products available to them while creating a superior customer service experience.
In addition to taking care of your team and your customer, you also need to organize a range of other important details for your business. You need to pay your bills on time, arrange insurance coverage, create marketing campaigns, and set up a budget. While all of these are important tasks, there is nothing quite as important as developing a strategic plan for your business for the next 5-10 years.
Why Strategy is Important in Your Financial Plan
If you set yourself the goal of running a seven-figure business without laying down actionable steps to get there, the chances of you achieving your goal are small. But by plotting out incremental steps, you’ll be able to track your progress and have a greater chance of reaching your goal. You may have financial planning experience, but even CEOs of accounting firms will consult with financial advisors and accountants for a second opinion to help catch missing details. It’s good to work with professional accountants on bookkeeping services and income tax returns, but it’s also smart to have a chartered professional accountant advise you on a strategic financial plan for your business. Expert financial advice will help your company grow and survive, even through tough times.
The Five Steps of Financial Planning
There are five main steps to follow in order to lay out a comprehensive strategic financial plan. First, you need to define your financial goals. Once you have a defined vision of your cash flow, you can develop a budget and a financial strategy that will help you achieve your goals by implementing your plan step-by-step. Let’s explore each phase in the process, along with tips to make your task easier.
1. Define Your Goals
The most important step to creating any plan is knowing what the target is. Do you want to reach a target profit goal? A revenue goal? Expand to a new market? Launch a service? What does financial security look like to you?
Make a list and decide which goals are the priority. Once you have a clear vision of the objective, you’ll be able to create a strategy to reach it.
2. Gather Data
The next important step is to gather all the data on your finances. Compile information about all of your typical and upcoming expenditures, including rent, salaries, insurance, supplies, repairs, etc. Next, compile your data for all streams of revenue, including investments, sales, and assets. Ask your accountant for assistance in compiling these numbers. Once you have completed this step, you should have a clear picture of your profits, losses, and cash flow.
3. Analyze Your Numbers
Once you’ve compiled your comprehensive financial data, the next step is to analyze your numbers. Financial consultants are knowledgeable and able to simplify and speed up this process. Their expertise will help you see a larger picture with your finances, offering advice about where to make adjustments in your budget.
4. Develop a Budget and Strategy
In the fourth step, you get to create your budget and develop a strategy to reach your financial goals. Set up milestones so you can track your progress toward your ultimate goal.
When creating a financial strategy, you’ll want to look at both the short- and long-term possibilities. Your advisor can help you set both 5-year and 10-year projections and compare your goals to those figures. Your advisor will also review your budget to make sure you didn’t miss any sources of revenue or upcoming contracts or forget to account for significant purchases, devaluing assets, and tax obligations. Once you’ve reviewed your budget and strategy with a professional, you’ll be ready to take action.
5. Implement the Strategy
The fifth step is both exciting and scary. You’re ready to start working towards your financial goals. You’ve sifted through your financial data, analyzed your numbers with a professional, and laid out clear plans to reach your goals. Now you need to stick to your plan. Give yourself a schedule to check in regularly with your numbers to ensure you’re following the right target. You should also schedule regular appointments with your accountant and/or financial advisor to evaluate your progress and make any adjustments if necessary.
How an Accountant Can Help You Follow Your Strategic Financial Plan
Planning for anything, whether it’s in the immediate or distant future, can be challenging. Unexpected events can happen, both negative and positive. Global events can change the economy, personal incidents can shift our priorities, and new opportunities can speed up our progress. Even though change is inevitable, it doesn’t have to derail your progress. An important part of strategic planning is allowing for flexibility.
When you create a strategic financial plan, give yourself some wiggle room in case you need extra time to reach a certain target, or you grow faster than expected and can zoom ahead of a certain target. When surprises happen in life and business, consult with your accountant and financial team. They can help you decide when and where to make changes to your plan. They might even be able to help you make better investments or find extra savings.
Your Trusted Advisors in Edmonton, Alberta
Your financial goals will depend on the size of your business and your rate of growth. The trusted accountants at Schwan and Associates offer financial advisory and consulting services for different levels of business. If you own a company in the Edmonton and Sherwood Park area, contact us today to set up a free consultation to discuss your financial targets for your business.