The bottom line is money. Finance has to be at the top of the agenda when developing organizational strategies.
During a session called “Elevating the Financial Voice in Strategy Development,” during an American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) conference in Washington, D.C., four key factors were discussed.
- Identify key strategic questions to answer in the planning process, and elevate the questions around financial drivers up front.
- Continuously position the financial model and balance sheet as enablers of the mission components.
- Identify multiple lenses or filters for vetting priorities/ideas, including annual financials and balance sheet filters (others to include: mission alignment, changing needs or gaps in the community, staff capabilities, systems capacity, facilities needs, potential partners, etc.).
- Engage multiple perspectives and take the time to learn what they care about. Position financial conversations in a way that specifically resonates with them. Ensure influential decision-makers with analytical, data-driven thinking styles are included in the planning team.