The bottom line is money. You can have the best mission but cash is your ten, jack, queen, king and ace. 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.