No matter what kind of business you own, you need to be having weekly finance meetings to go over budgets, sales forecasts, investments and any other financial concerns that may be coming your way. These meetings usually last anywhere from 30 to 90 minutes depending on how much you have to discuss.
Want to get your finance meetings off the ground? Learn how to run a weekly finance meeting and get started.
Who should be invited?
Most finance meetings are comprised of you and your accounting staff. All of your bookkeepers should be present as well as your CFO or virtual CFO, if you have one. Since these people are mostly responsible for handling your money, having weekly contact with them is a must for your business’ growth and success.
Depending on the type of business you operate, you may also want to bring in the head of your sales team or your head project managers as they should be aware of what is going on. They know their departments inside and out, and if cuts need to be made, they will know what can be sacrificed and what is essential. They can also advise you on ways to improve their respective departments.
Even if your business consists of you, a few other employees and a bookkeeper, you should still be holding these meetings. They force you to stop and consider your budgets each week so you’ll be better prepared for any opportunities or problems that come your way.
Plan an agenda
For each meeting, you should be putting together an agenda, listing everything that you want to talk about. As you’re leading the meeting, your agenda will guide the meeting from one topic to the next. Others can ask questions and bring up their own points, but make sure these points are relevant. Meetings can get off topic quickly, so remind all attendees to stay on topic.
The meetings should be somewhat routine in what you talk about and what you plan for. You may want to start with last week’s budget, sales and costs and then start on the current week’s projected budget, sales and costs. You should also be talking about upcoming costs, such as taxes that need to be paid, as well as any expected changes in bills.
You should also be discussing upcoming opportunities and potential investments that could be made. Set short-term and long-term goals and analyse your progress at each meetings. These goals will give you something to aim for as you make financial decisions throughout the week.
In theory, your bookkeepers should have already crunched last week’s numbers and the current week’s sales forecast. Make sure this is done before every meeting. As these numbers will help you hammer out a budget, they need to be ready to discuss on time.
Others who will be attending the meeting should also prepare their own talking points before the meeting. To help keep them on track, send out a rough outline that each person can fill out every week. Your outline will include spaces where sales team leaders and department managers can write:
- Talking points related to their department’s budget, sales forecast and revenue.
- Immediate and future financial needs of the department.
- Ideas for cutting costs.
- Ideas to increase efficiency.
Tips for Successful Meetings
Now that you know what your finance meetings should generally entail, here are a few tips to make your meetings more productive and a little more fun.
- Have everyone stand: Standing keeps people at attention and tends to make meetings more direct. While you’re sitting, you’re more at ease so you’re less likely to stay focused. Standing will cut down on your meeting times and make everyone more direct in what they want to say. You might not want to do this at every meeting, but if you have limited time, this type of meeting often gets the point across quickly.
- Plan for Monday, not Friday meetings: By Friday, people are talking about their weekend plans and not as focused on work. Finance meetings need focus and attention so schedule them for Mondays when everyone is a little more focused. Have the meeting in the afternoon on Monday to give everyone a chance to crunch any last-minute numbers.
- Do a team building exercise: If your meetings are more relaxed, start off with a team building exercise to reinvigorate everyone.
However you decide to run your finance meetings is completely up to you and should reflect your company culture.The important takeaway here is that you’re making room for for these meetings each week.
Though you probably have more than enough to do, having these weekly meetings early on in the week will help you keep your budget in mind for the rest of the week. Spend the time with your budget and costs to better understand them, and you’ll be better equipped to make smart monetary decisions throughout the week.